Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours....Merry Christmas!  May God remind you of your blessings today and in the coming year.  We have SO much to be thankful for.

Here's a little something from us to you that will definitely bring a smile to your face.  Hope you can take a minute to visit.

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What We're Up To

1.  Baking sugar cookies.  My favorite are the mittens.  I just love adding a new cookie cutter to my collection each year.
2.  Shoveling.  Playing in the snow.  More shoveling.  Repeat.
3.  Watching my toddler play in the snow and LOVING it!  My boys are definitely fond of the winter.
4.  Being cute.  'Nuff said.  

We hope you all are having a great weekend and anticipating Christmas with joy.  

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Came Early This Year

I am sitting in the quiet while the rest of the house sleeps.  Hubby gets to stay home today. It's a SNOW DAY!!!  One extra day gets added onto his two week break.  The kids can bundle up and play in the freshly fallen snow, and mommy will be waiting with hot chocolate and marshmallows.  

Today is a day for enjoying.

As far as I'm concerned, Christmas is here! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Counting my Blessings

I'm overwhelmed today.  

I have too much to do and not enough time to do it.  The list is so long.  When will I find time to get it all done?

I'll be honest...part of it is because I've chosen what's better for me and the family at the moment, and not necessarily been focused on my responsibilities.

Today I chose to spend part of the day baking cookies.  It is, after all, seven days 'til Christmas and cookies are part of the deal.

Monday I took the boys out for Cody's birthday.  We did a little shopping, went and had a birthday lunch and just enjoyed the day.

Last night, we had a lovely meal with our small group and had a splendid time singing Christmas carols and relaxing by the fire.  (The kids roasted marshmallows in their fireplace.  It was too cute.)  

Tonight, we had rehearsal for our upcoming Christmas Eve service.  We sang and laughed and talked.  

And the presents aren't wrapped yet.  The house is in shambles.  My bathroom needs a good scrubbing and the laundry has started piling up.  

I must remember that Christmas only comes but once a year and that it's about so much more than the guilt I feel over not sending out Christmas cards.  

Instead I'll follow the Star to a stable and the babe wrapped in swaddling cloths.  

O come, let us adore Him....Christ the Lord!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What the Birthday Boy Has Been Up To

Cody turns 7 tomorrow...the 15th.  I can't believe that!  I say it every year, but it seems like yesterday he was just a little baby in my arms.  How fast they grow!  This weekend at church, I watched him stand up and sing with the children's choir and he also carried a banner down the aisle for one of the songs.  He's even considering playing percussion with a drum ensemble on Christmas Eve.  He's really growing up!

We had a Wall-E/space theme party with some of his neighborhood friends.  We got very creative and came up with all kinds of fun things for the kids to do and eat while they were here.  The kids painted flying saucers and also made glow-in-the-dark moon rocks.  For food, we had intergalactic asteroids (pizza rolls), flying saucer pizzas (mini bagel pizzas), martian food (a watermelon filled with lots of fruit), mission to mars juice (green kool-aid and green ice cubes), out of this world cheese stars (cheese cut-outs), and little dippers (carrot sticks with ranch dressing).  We had lots of fun naming the food!

We had cupcakes with little Wall-E and Eve candies on them.  

Caden enjoyed a cherry candy cane which only added to the excitement.  : )
Truly, a great time was had by all.

And now, a tribute to the birthday boy:

Dear Cody, 
These past seven years have been such a blessing for me, your mom.  You are such a kind-hearted, sweet little boy.  I love watching you grow and change before my eyes. The time we've had together this year has been especially meaningful, as I feel we've gotten to know one another in new and different ways.  I love watching you play with and help take care of your little brother. Caden looks up to you and you make his eyes twinkle with happiness (MOST of the time!).  The two of you have gotten to be such good buddies and that makes me so happy.  I am seeing you grow and mature in areas I've prayed about since you were an infant.  I watched you serve in church this past weekend and sing His praises.  I listen to you every day, memorizing your Awana or Sunday school verses, reminding myself what a blessing it is to have God's Word at our fingertips that we might hide it in our hearts.  I see you learning and growing and I give all the glory to God for all that is good in you. It is a privilege to be your mom, and there is not a DAY that goes by that I don't thank God for the gifts He's given are one of mommy's special gifts, indeed.

I love you, sweetie!  Here's to a wonderful year #7!


Thursday, December 11, 2008


I'm still here....and managing to keep my head above water, praise the Lord!  We had a wonderful rehearsal at church last night as we continue the work at putting our Christmas program together.  Our choir is such a blessing, and we are so thankful for each and every one!  

In other news, Cody will be turning 7 on Monday (I can't believe that!) and we're having a small party with some friends of his tomorrow.  He was under the weather on Tuesday but appears to have made a full recovery.  He chose the Wall-E theme (we just saw that movie recently and we all thought it was adorable) and we've combined it with a "space" theme so it should be "far out!" Don't worry, I'll upload pictures soon....

I have stuffed goody bags, made cupcakes, wrapped a few birthday presents and prepared the space ships the kids are making  with two paper plates and a paper bowl on top (yes, I am having them make a couple I nuts?).  Tonight we head to rehearsal for our final countdown to our weekend worship services.  Tomorrow, let the games begin!

If you're still reading, thank you.  If you're totally bored, I understand.

Moving on...I wrapped up lessons today and now feel like I can finally focus on Christmas.  It only took me 11 days, but that's OKAY!

I hope you all are savoring the best parts of this season and enjoying the remembrance of our Savior's birth.  It is such a special time, and it's so easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of the holiday season.  I am ready to slow down and drink it in.

I hope you are too.

Monday, December 08, 2008


It probably appears I've been missing from the blogosphere for a while and that's because I have been.  Life is crazy right now.  Jerry and I co-direct our church choir, and our big worship service for Christmas is this coming weekend.  I am music directing "The Sound of Music" for Christian Youth Theatre (CYT) this winter, and auditions were this past weekend.  Even though rehearsals don't start until after the holidays, there has been a lot preparation, so that's had me busy. Cody's birthday is in a week, but we're having some of his friends over for a little party on Friday (which happens to be tech week at church for our program).  Trying to stay focused on homeschooling, domestic responsibilities and still teaching 16 students per week on top of preparing for Christmas (OH mercy, I've barely started) is causing me to feel like I'm swimming (mostly drowning).  So please forgive me if I've not updated much this month or commented on your blogs.  I'm here.  Just absent.

And I'd appreciate your prayers...for strength, energy, good health for the whole family, and that my kids hold up during the week. Thanks, everyone!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Faith Proclaimed

In a world that's becoming increasingly hostile toward people of faith, I was overjoyed to hear the gospel message portrayed so beautifully today on Oprah.  I have started recording the show because I'm seeing that there are some shows that are actually worth was one of them.

Today's show was about the Cerak and Van Ryn families and their story of the mistaken identities of their two daughters back in 2006.  Both of these families are people who clearly love the Lord, and they boldly proclaimed that the only reason they have gotten through this ordeal is because of their relationship with Christ.

If you haven't seen it yet or familiarized yourself with their story, you need to.  It's amazing. You can read more at the show's website, but they have a book out as well that recounts their ordeal.  I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

The best part is that it was watched by millions of people.  And the name of Jesus was lifted high.  Praise the Lord!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wedding Daze

My girlfriend, Charity, got married today.  It was a beautiful ceremony in  which Jerry and I were privileged to sing, Cody was the ringbearer, and I was a bridesmaid.  It was an emotional day for all, as her brother Dave's absence was strongly felt, but it was also a joyous celebration.
Charity was a sight.  So beautiful....and happy.
And the ringbearer?  Well....look at him!  Isn't he handsome?  Here he is below, giving Mama a HUGE squeeze.

It was a tiring day, but one of great celebration and happiness.
Congratulations, Charity and Matt!  We can't wait to hear all about your life together.

Friday, November 28, 2008

This Can't Be For Real

But it is.

On the way home from running a few errands this morning (no, I did not participate in Black Friday), I heard on the news that a Wal-Mart employee was trampled by people waiting in line today.  He later died of his injuries.

At first, I thought I couldn't have heard right and that the story must be some kind of mistake. When I got home, I looked it up online and found this.

Madness, I tell you.  Madness.

This is why we make "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" a part of our decorating tradition every year...the message is RIGHT ON.  There is no reason to get so "kerbobbled" for heaven's sake.  

It's about our Savior!  HE is the Gift.  HE is the Reason!  Let us not get sucked into the lie that has become the American way for so many.  Let us remember to wish people a cheerful "Merry Christmas" and not the watered down "Happy Holidays"...or worse, "Happy Winter Solstice." *shudder.*

And that's all I'm going to say about that.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Today, I'm thankful.  My heart is filled with gratitude, not just because it's Thanksgiving, but because it seems more important than ever to be...well, thankful.

So, in honor of Thanksgiving, in no particular order, here is what I'm focusing on today.
  • Freedom in Christ found in the gift of salvation.
  • My loving husband (and best friend)
  • Our immediate and extended families
  • Friends
  • Great neighbors
  • A wonderful church where we can worship freely
  • A warm, comfortable home
  • Being able to spend quality time with my kids
  • God's provision
  • My husband's job and a steady stream of students each week
  • The privilege of being a mom and watching my two precious boys grow
  • The simple, everyday joys in life
May we all focus our eyes today on the Giver of all good gifts.  He has been so faithful to us.  

Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dressed for Success

Today, after lunch, according to our daily schedule, Cody and Caden went upstairs to get dressed and read books.  (No, we generally aren't out of our pajamas until the afternoon unless we have somewhere to be....just one of the many benefits of homeschooling!)  While I was cleaning up, I heard footsteps coming down the stairs and when I peered around the corner, Cody was dressed in a button down shirt with a tie.  While fighting giggles, I asked him why he was so dressed up and he promptly replied, "Because, Mom.  I want to look good for Kimmie!" (Kimmie is a little girl his age who comes over on Mondays for her piano lesson.) We ended up compromising and he's currently wearing a polo with nice jeans.  I thought perhaps he should change into something a little bit more...ummm...every day.

I thought this stuff wasn't supposed to start for AT LEAST another six years or more!  

I think we'll save all those shirts and ties for another year.  Or two.  Or eight.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happiness Is...

Arriving at the gas station to find out gas is under $2.00/gallon and subsequently filling up the van for $31.00. I didn't know if we'd ever see these prices again.  WOO HOO!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

And a Little Child Shall Lead Them

Today, after bible study, I went to pick up Caden.  The ladies who work with our children are so sweet and they take such good care of our kids so we moms can spend time in the Word and in fellowship with one another.  

When I got to the room, Caden was trying to push another kid off the riding toy he was sitting on (I think it was a sit and spin) and just as he was making this shrieking, whining noise and pushing this poor child, the chid-care worker in the room said, "Oh, that Caden!  He's just so sweet!!!!"  

Uh-huh.  I can see that.

She then proceeded to tell me that earlier, Caden had taken a bible off the shelf, sat down and opened it, and then said, "I pray now."  With that, he folded his hands, closed his eyes, and bowed his head.

We all have days like this one, don't we?  We're just bigger.  We push back when things don't go our way.  We moan and complain about the insignificant, unimportant little things in life.  We act selfishly, impulsively, immaturely.  We're just older.  And we should know better.

Isn't it good to know that when we've not been on our "best behavior" we can open God's Word, close our eyes, fold our hands, and talk to our loving Father?  Isn't it so comforting to know that He hears us and loves us anyway, despite all our failures and inadequacies?

Like the loving mother who corrects and instructs her child, our faithful Father is looking for opportunities to teach us so we might become more and more like Him.

I'll try to remember that the next time I'm tempted to push a little kid off the sit and spin or whine and complain when things don't go my way.  Perhaps my toddler will follow suit.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I can't believe how fast these little boys are growing up.  I look at those faces and my heart overflows with love and adoration.  Having them home with me to enjoy each and every day is such a privilege and one that I don't take for granted.  Thank you, Lord, for the gift of children.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Our home group is doing a study called "Gripped by the Greatness of God" by Dr. James MacDonald.  (James was our pastor for several years before we moved to a smaller branch about 5 years ago.)  Our group started this study last year but we never got through the first chapter. This year, we've purposed to make our group time a priority and it's been a real blessing.  I have to say that the timing of this study has been perfect; definitely by God's design.  
We are living in such uncertain times, and if you are like me, there are times that I question what God is doing through it all.  I want to be completely sold out, totally trusting in God's ways and purposes, but I'll be honest.  Some days it's hard.  Some days I'm fearful.  Some days I just don't do very well in the trust department.

Our memory verse this week is Romans 8:28:  We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

What are your circumstances?  Where does life find you today?  How are you responding?  Are you tempted to question God's goodness and sovereignty?  Pastor James says that in his years of ministry, this is the area where people struggle the most.  They ask, "God!  What are you doing?"  Ask yourself this question:  Am I going to embrace the life my sovereign God has allowed?  Or am I going to live a life of bitterness?  This is a hard question, but my faith (and my God) demands an answer.

Corrie ten Boom is one of my real-life heroes.  Her courage in the midst of the hell she lived through at the Ravensbruck concentration camp came from one place and one place only:  Her trust in a good, loving, sovereign God.   As Corrie's sister Betsie lay dying, she described God's sovereignty in a way that changed Corrie forever:
"I don't know why God allows suffering, Corrie, all I know is across the blueprint of our lives, God wrote the word Ravensbruck....Tell them, Corrie - tell them that no pit is so deep that He is not deeper still."  
We don't get to choose what the blueprint says.  Only God does.  But let those words stick in your heart today and in the days to come.  No pit is so deep that He is not deeper still.

"I am the Lord, and there is no other; 
The One forming light and creating darkness, 
causing well-being and creating calamity; 
I am the Lord who does all these."  ~Isaiah 45:6-7

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This Post is Dedicated to My Mother

Yes, some of you may know that it is my birthday today.  I've never actually publicly declared my birthday here on the ole blog, but Facebook has let the cat out of the bag, so now you know. I'm 35 years young today.  

I actually want to use this forum to thank my wonderful mom.  She enjoys telling me the story about the time that she began experiencing some warning signs around 3 months into her pregnancy.  The idiot doctor at the time had no comforting words for her except to say, "Go home and get ready to lose the baby."  Thankfully, my mom is the fighting type and she consulted her trusted friend and OB who told her that was hogwash and to get off of her feet. She obeyed. Obviously, you know the end of the story, because here I am, 35 years later.

Now that I am a mom and have been blessed to carry and deliver two babies of my own, I'm so thankful that she brought me into this world.  The fact that God chose she and my family for me is such a blessing.  

So, thank you, Family (and friends).  Thanks for your kind words and sweet wishes today.  I love you all!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Brotherly Love

About a week ago, I walked into the living room after tackling a pile of dirty dishes. We don't have a dishwasher, so it always takes quite a while to get them all done. When I entered the room, I was immediately struck by the odor of a dirty diaper, and I groaned, "CADEN. Do you have a dirty diaper?" He looked my way and simply muttered, "mmm hmmmm!"

I called him over to the area where we change his diapers and as I began the process once again, trying to count how many diapers I must have changed in the past two and a half years, I began to rant and rave about how tired I was of changing stinky, yucky, diapers, and how I wish he'd learn to go on the potty, and how sick I was of buying diapers, and blah, blah, blah. As if the two year-old cares.

All of a sudden, I hear a sweet little voice say, "Mom, do you want me to change Caden? I will if you want me to."

Guilt filled my head and heart as I thought about how silly it was to complain about this task. It is, after all, part of the job description.

I gently replied, "No, no Cody. It's okay. You don't have to do it. It's mommy's job. I really shouldn't have said that to Caden. I'm sorry."

Fast forward to tonight, just about an hour ago. I was fixing dinner, and all of a sudden Cody came into the kitchen and he said, "Mom, do you want me to put this in the garbage or should I take it outside?" I stopped and turned to see him holding a diaper. After recovering from the shock of it all, I walked in to see that Cody had changed Caden and even got him dressed and back in his clothes. He didn't just change a wet diaper. He had changed a dirty one!!!

Strange as it sounds, I was so humbled that Cody had done this for me. Without even asking, knowing I was working to make dinner in kitchen, he took it upon himself to serve his brother.

Now that's what I call brotherly love.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

~Romans 12:10

Friday, November 07, 2008

Every day in our homeschool, Cody has quiet reading time.  After he finishes reading, he writes a summary and then draws a picture.  Yesterday, he read a chapter in his Beginner's Bible about Hannah and her desire to have a baby.  He discovered that God gave Hannah the desire of her heart.  Make sure you click on the picture so you can see the details.  

In Cody's words...
"The first picture is Hannah when she didn't have a baby.  Then, they prayed and prayed."
When I asked why Hannah is crying in the last picture, he replied, "They were happy tears."

I share this today, because Jerry's brother Bob and his wife have just learned that they are going to have a baby.  God has given them the desire of their hearts.

Congratulations, Bob and Grace.  We rejoice with you over this precious new life you've been given!  We can't wait to meet him or her!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

God of this City

When I woke up yesterday, the lyrics to a song were on my lips and in my heart. I couldn't get them out of my head all day. They were such a great reminder to me and really calmed my anxious fears about the future of our nation. We have so much to be thankful for and much to pray for. We have a God who is bigger than any ruler or authority here on earth.

For HE is "the God of this city, the King of these people, the Lord of this
nation. He's the light in this darkness, the hope to the hopeless, and the
peace to the restless. Greater things have yet to come, and greater things are still to be done in this city."

May we all be on our knees like never before and may His sovereign will be done. Our hope is in Him, not man. Let's all get behind our new president and watch what God is going to do.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Fear Not

As we all wait with anticipation the outcome of this very critical election, let us remember that God is sovereign and already knows the outcome.

Let us remember to get on our knees today and pray that God would heal our land.

Let us not fear.

Let us walk in faith.

Let us proclaim Christ boldly with our vote.

Let God's will be done.

Isaiah 41:10

10 So do not fear, for I
am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am
your God. I will strengthen you and help
you; I will uphold you with my righteous
right hand.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Hearts and Homes

It's been said that you can never go home again, but I beg to differ.  I have found, as I get older, that my time spent at home with my mom, dad, sisters and nieces only gets sweeter.  And it also gets harder to say good-bye and come back to our own home.  Don't get me wrong.  Both places are truly "home" to us, but it only gets harder to leave.  I can't stand it.

We spent the weekend with my family.  We watched our beloved Huskers get trampled by Oklahoma.  That's okay, because we were all together, had some lovely food, the kids had a blast (as always) and we truly enjoyed one another's company.  (We know it's not ALL about the winning!)  We worshipped together at church and spent the afternoon at play.  Papa Dean took the kids on a nature hike, and they came back with their fists full of things they'd found.  

When it was time to leave, I tried hard to keep it together, but the floodgates started to open when we loaded ourselves into the van and I turned around to see Cody crying.  All day he'd say, "I wish we could stay just a little bit longer."  And I'd say, "I know, baby.  Me too."  Nanna came to the rescue and helped bring a smile to his face, for which I was very grateful.

On the way home, my tired boys crashed in the backseat. Their cousins wore them out!  They had such a great time.  My mom and I talked by phone on the way home (yes, I called her) and we both marveled at the way the kids played together.  They are such good buddies and they truly love one another.  It's so sweet to see them interact.  Unless somebody gets hurt, there's never an issue.  They don't fight, they don't argue.  I hope this always is the case.

And so today, on this beautiful Monday morning, I just want to say a HUGE thank you to my family for their love and kindness.  Thanks for always making time to spend with us when we come home.  Thanks for making us feel special.  We love you and we miss you.  

And we'll see you soon.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Fall Fun!

We're not into Halloween that much, but we enjoy the changing of the seasons and seeing the leaves turn beautiful colors.  We always carve a pumpkin, but this year my hubby really blew me away with his skills.  Isn't this cool?
We participate in trick or treating in our neighborhood.  We told the boys that we weren't spending money on costumes this year, so Cody and Jerry got creative and worked hard on his robot costume, made completely of stuff we had lying around the house.  The robot even has lights wired inside of it! Caden is wearing one of Cody's costumes from several years ago, and he's tickled about being a "fwog."  Isn't he precious???
Oh how they grow up so fast.  Last year he rode around in his stroller and cried when we tried to put him in his monkey suit.
Cody and Caden got out this week and helped Jerry rake leaves.  Of course, they could care less about bagging them.  It's all about the leaf piles!

Hope you're all enjoying this BEAUTIFUL day and that you have fun with your kiddos this weekend.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm Going There.

For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  ~2 Corinthians 4:6-9
I'll be the first to admit that I take the simple comforts of life for granted.  I become very complacent, often forgetting the suffering people in other parts of the world...especially those being persecuted for their faith.  I have no idea what it means to suffer.  Any difficulties I've had in life pale in comparison to what so many have experienced for being a Christian. 

I find that as this election draws nearer, I am desperately seeking the Lord and asking Him to show me the truth.  In light of the word of God and what I know to be true of His character, I'm deeply concerned about our country.  It seems the general public has narrowed the future of the United States down to a couple of candidates. Many have placed their hope in a man who promises change.  I've seen television shows where children and adults alike (even some celebrities) are heralding his praises in song.  Some have called him a messiah, the "chosen one," "our only hope."  

Oh, change is coming, alright.  But we need to be prepared for the fact that if this liberal candidate is elected, many of the rights we are enjoying at present will slowly be ripped away from us.  I know nobody wants to talk about this.  We're all shuffling around this topic because we don't want to offend anybody or sound alarmist.  

The days are short.  Time is of the essence.  I think it's safe to say that the "darkness" has come and most assuredly we, as a country, have sunk to new lows.  We have lowered our standards. We've become complacent and comfortable, and our culture as a whole has been brainwashed into becoming more "accepting." "Tolerant."

We need to wake up, Christians.  We're sleeping if we think the answer to all of our problems lies with the man who gets elected November 4th.  

Our job is to be a light in the darkness of this world, for Him.  We must stand for what's right. We must share our faith boldly, without fear, without compromise.  We must stand up for the truth.  

Anything else is a waste of time.

I know this isn't a warm and fuzzy post.  Please forgive me.  I've sat silently on this blog through this whole sickening election process without diving very deeply into this topic.  I can't be silent anymore.  I believe the Lord would have me speak out for the truth on this one.  

If you're a fellow Believer, join with me in praying.  Please don't be silent.  Speak for the truth. Stand for what's right.  Be His light to the world.  

Monday, October 27, 2008

Enough Already.

Several hours ago it was snowing.

To make matters worse, a friend on Facebook informed me that, in his part of the country, it's sunny and warm.  He's wearing shorts.  And watering his lawn.

I'm done with winter.  It can go away now.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Such Kindness....

**Updated to add:  There are two other people I want to award.  I know.  You're only supposed to give five.  Oh well.  I'm breaking the rules and adding two more:  Julie of Life with Ash and Ave and my husband (duh!).  Julie and I have become friends through church.  She has two beautiful children.  She and her husband are both very talented and we've enjoyed the friendship we've begun with them.  Julie, I was thinking earlier that you deserve this award!  I love coming to your blog and reading up on you all!  (I know that we see each other every week, but blogs are so fun!!!)  And to my hubby, even though he rarely updates, he deserves this award simply because he HAS a blog.  : )**

Jody at Coffee, Conversation, and Playdates blessed me with this blog award. Whenever I receive and award, I am always so humbled. This little old blog is just a place where I like to journal my thoughts in hopes that they will be an encouragement to somebody else. I share funny stories about my kids, things that the Lord is teaching me, and lots of other random information nobody but me probably cares about. Blogging has been a great outlet for me because I've never been able to find the time to stick with actually writing in a journal or keeping up with my scrapbooking. This has been a great solution.

I've met some truly wonderful people via the blogosphere, and I'm always encouraged by so many of them. Jody has asked me to pass this award here goes. Drumroll please.

1. My first pick is my friend Lori. Even though she takes an occasional bloggy break, I find myself checking her blog daily just in case she's posted anything. She's my dear friend from high school, and I'm so glad we've stayed in touch all these years.

2. Next is Melodye. She is a fellow homeschooler. Her family is beautiful and she is always amazing me with her creativity and energy. Her children are such cuties. I was saddened to hear that somebody had been leaving hurtful comments on her blog recently...I can't imagine how anybody could have something negative to say about her or her family. So Melodye...this award is for you!

3. Sheryl at PB&J Boats earns this award as well. She is honest, forthcoming, and real. I dig that about her. She loves the Lord and I know He has great things in store for their family's future.

4. My dear friend Kari is the next recipient. She has been my friend for many years, and this past spring we finally got to see each other and spend a girl's only weekend together. I enjoy catching up with her and hearing how she and her family are doing via her blog.

5. And finally, I award my friend Jaime. She's great at posting pictures and keeping her friends and family up to date on all the fun things they've been up to. We don't get to see each other often, so her blog is such a neat way to stay in touch.
So, there you have it. Congratulations to all the recipients. Please go and share the love with five of your favorite blogging pals. And to Jody: Thanks again!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Things Heard in the Backseat

While driving Cody and his little six year-old friend to Awana tonight, I overheard this conversation:  (Please don't think I'm a horrible mother.  I really do spend lots of time teaching my children the bible and it's unbelievable to me how they come up with these conclusions.)

Cody:  Did you know that nobody really knows what kind of fruit Adam and Eve ate off the tree?  
Me:  Everyone just assumes it was an apple.
D:  Maybe it was a pear or a plum!
Me:  All we know is that God said not to eat from it.
Cody:  Yeah!  Because if you eat from the tree of knowledge, God will make you a naked sinner!!!

Cody:  I'm gonna tell you a story of when my mom was a little girl.  It was the eighties.  So I'll tell you the short ending.  Okay, my mom says that when she was little, and my Nanna asked her to do something, she did it RIGHT AWAY and didn't argue or ANYTHING!  And then one time, when my Nanna said, "Jump," my mom would ask, "How high???"  Isn't that amazing?


After a restful weekend, I got motivated last evening to start some cleaning and organizing projects around the house.  Some of my more domestic responsibilities seem to have been put on hold temporarily while my energies were needed elsewhere, but today as I write this, I feel so....accomplished!  I got everything crossed off my "to do" list.

My house smells like bleach, Endust, and Lysol wipes.  That's fine by me.  It feels fresh and clean!  I sound like an advertisement, don't I?

But back to my clean house.  All the laundry is put away, the fish tank got cleaned, we got every subject in school done today, and everyone is actually happy and content at this late afternoon hour.

Dinner is cooking on the stove, Cody knows his Awana verses for tonight, and both the boys are playing contentedly as I type this.

Why can't EVERY day be just like this?

Oh yeah.  It's called LIFE!

I'll just enjoy it while it lasts....

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sometimes it's the Little Things....

It's been a good day.

After a good night's sleep and a nice full morning of teaching (thank You, Lord, for business coming through the door), the day was already off to a good start.  Plus I had something to look forward to.  Our home group decided it would be great to get together tonight to go see "Fireproof."  We've already seen it, but it was good enough that we were willing to spend money to see it again.  What a powerful movie with such great reminders about what it means to be selfless in marriage. We're the only ones in the group who have already seen it, and I'm excited to see what the others think. Jerry and I rarely have "date nights" because it tends to be expensive and it's something we consider a luxury in today' s economy.  We found out yesterday that our group leader's mom offered to watch the kids for us (what a gift) and we also have coupons that will end up saving us some money on tickets (love that).  Tomorrow, we get to meet a little baby that we've been praying for for months.  She is here in town and doing well...truly a little miracle.  

And if that weren't enough, the Huskers beat Iowa State SOLID today.  35 to 7.

Sometimes it's the little things that mean so much.

Hope you're all having a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On Monday, we decided to take advantage of the fact that Jerry had the day off and turn it into a trip to the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.  We have been studying Astronomy in our homeschool, so we thought it would be fun to do it all as a family.  The Adler was free on Monday which sweetened the deal!  I have to say that I was very surprised when I saw this quote on the wall from Psalm 8.  The Adler is clear on its stance that the creation of the solar system happened as the result of "the big bang" so I thought it was pretty interesting (and cool) that this scripture was in place for all to see.  

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ten Things I'm Pondering Today

1.  I'm really glad that God's word exists to remind us of what's really important.
2.  I'm so thankful that I'm not trying to sell or buy a house right now.
3.  I'm thankful for my husband's job security, now more than ever.
4.  The future of our nation and world is frightening, but what a comfort to know that God has a plan.
5.  After God, family is what's most important.
6.  I love homeschooling.
7.  I simply adore my boys (all three of them).
8.  I miss my mom, dad, sisters, and nieces.
9.  I wish my house were clean.
1o.  I don't regret the time I gain with those I love by sometimes ignoring the mess.  The dust will still be here tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


My sister Kari is a great writer.  And now she has a blog.  I'm so glad!  

I have just spent the last five minutes getting a much needed laugh over there at her blog.  

Seriously, the girl had me in stitches.

You must go and read.  It will CRACK. YOU. UP.  

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I Knew It!

Okay, so we've finally sat down to watch the debate tonight together.  (It's already over.)  I was scanning the "audience" and noticed a familiar face in a green shirt.  I told my husband, "I think that guy is Todd Smith!  It looks just like him!"  Turns out I was right.  Todd is Angie Smith's husband from Audrey Caroline's blog (and one of the talented singers from favorite musical group).

I hope he gets to ask the question he's prepared....maybe it will go something like this:

"Senator Obama, what would you do to bolster religious freedom in our country?"

Yeah.  I would LOVE to hear his answer to that one. 

Monday, October 06, 2008

We know how he feels...

This is our family dog, Ozzie. He's not happy...

 He went to the groomer and was shaved on his hind end right down to the pink skin. Can you say 'chilly'? And, to add to his misery, the boys tied this silly bandana on his head. 
We know how he feels...

The Cubs lost and are out of the playoffs, the Huskers lost badly to Mizzou, the grass in the backyard was a foot tall, and when I cut it, it was concealing bees! 

But, we are all healthy, we have a warm comfortable home, and so much to be thankful for! God has blessed us in many loving ways, and we are grateful for His goodness.

The dog?
 He's still a bit crabby from the 'wardrobe enhancement'. 

(Posted by Happi's hubby, Jerry)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

In a Puddle

I am so glad my sister has a blog now.  Go here and you'll see why.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I Can't Stand It

This election is making me nauseous.

I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Trip Recap

Before the recap, here are some pics for your enjoyment.  Here I am before the game (still smiling as you can see).  
This is just prior to the beginning of the game when the band takes the field.  I love that flag over there to the right which says, "The Power of Red."
These two dudes showed up just before the game started and then left.  I think they were in the wrong section or something, but they let me snap their picture. They cracked me up.
Here's quarterback Joe Ganz.  He came out and threw the ball around a bit before the players officially took the field.
And speaking of that, this is where the players come out after the "tunnel walk."  This is one of the best parts of being at a live game.  I LOVE that part!
Finally, here is one of the Husker vision screens.  I think they are so cool!

So, now that you've seen some of the photos, here's the story.  We left Friday afternoon and started our long trek to Nebraska.  On our way, we decided to stop for a late lunch/early dinner.  We were the youngest people in the place, by the way. Unfortunately, we didn't qualify for the senior discount, however the manager approached our waitress while we were talking to her and said that we qualified for a free dessert.  Apparently, all you have to do is wear "the colors" while in Iowa and it earns you a free apple dumpling.  I'm so glad I was sporting my Husker-wear.  (Turns out he's originally from Nebraska.)  

We arrived at our hotel pretty late, but got ourselves a good night sleep and were up and at 'em the next morning.  We were able to visit our favorite Husker store where we OF COURSE couldn't leave empty handed.  The boys are the proud owners of new t-shirts, and I splurged and got myself a pair of Husker Crocs.  I was actually thrilled to see that they were less expensive than my blue pair I bought a year ago!

We also had the opportunity to visit the cemetery where we could pay tribute to my grandparents.  I brought a red rose for Poppop and a white one for Nanny.  I am absolutely certain that my grandpa would be cackling at the thought that we drove so far to see a stinkin' Husker game, and I told him so.  He'd get such a kick out of it though!

After that, we went and saw "Fireproof" which we've been so excited to see.  It was an awesome movie, and we're so thrilled that it grossed enough to earn it the #4 spot this weekend.  I've never seen the gospel presented in such a wonderful way on the big screen, and we couldn't help but cheer at the end.  The whole theatre erupted with us.  Please go see it.  You'll be so glad you did.

After a quick lunch and a rest, we headed down for the game.  You already know that we ran into an awesome dixieland band and had a blast listening to them until we were ready to head to the stadium.  Once inside, we ran into a man that I've practically known my whole life, and somehow we always seem to run into him there!  It's amazing to me that in a stadium filled with 85,000 people, we'd still bump into him....and not just once!

The game was...a nail biter.  And we ended up losing by five points.  And it got a little ugly.  But we still had a great time.  It didn't really matter that we lost.  The whole experience really outweighed the end result of the game.  And plus, you've heard me say before that the winning really doesn't matter too much in the end.  What matters most is how you played the game. (Don't get me wrong, I love when we win, but it's all in how you look at it.)

And that's all I have to say about that.  

All in all, a fabulous weekend.  The boys did great, and we greatly enjoyed the break and the time together. 

So there you go.  You're all caught up!  Thanks for reading (if, of course, you still are!).  

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Video Says it All

Hey everyone!

I have much to share with you about our weekend in Nebraska, but I thought I'd start with this video.  Jerry and I parked quite a ways from Memorial Stadium, but we're so happy it worked out that way.  Here's why:  We "accidentally" ran into the most wonderful little dixieland band called "Zoot and the Red Rooters."  If you ever happen to catch a game in Lincoln, NE, you'll find them playing at a little restaurant called Suite One.  It's a little pizza place.  I have no idea how the pizza is.  We went for the music.  : )

Anyway, they were fantastic.  This video is a bit dark, because the lighting wasn't very good, but you get the idea. Anyone that can play the fight song on any instrument has my vote.

If any of you were wondering how the weekend was, the look on my face during this footage says it all.'s the video.  Enjoy!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

To Papa, On Your Birthday

I'm a bit late getting this post up because I've been in a car for the last eight hours, but it's still the 28th and it's still Papa Dean's birthday.  Yipppeeeee!!!

And so, with no further ado, may I say a HUGE happy birthday to one of my favorite guys in the whole world.

It's hard to put into words how much I love Papa.  He's such a gem. He's as warm-hearted and teddy bear-like as they get, but he's also tough when he needs to be and a straight shooter. Those are qualities that work well together.   : )  They have certainly worked for the women in our family, let me tell you!

The three of us sisters (myself, Kari, and Darci) put together a little video clip for a montage that was played at my mom and Dean's wedding a few years ago.  I remember filming it in my mom's little bathroom in her apartment (I know, a weird place, but the lighting was good in there!).  The three of us girls told Papa in the video that we all wanted to be adopted, but that he needed to keep in mind that we come as a set.  I'm still trying to win the role of "favorite" but the competition is pretty tough to beat, and PLUS Papa just won't pick!!!  That's his one and only fault.  (Ha, ha!)

Anyway, Papa, we love you dearly.  Happy Birthday, Dad!

Your middle (favorite) daughter  

Thursday, September 25, 2008

There is No Place Like Nebraska!

This weekend, hubby and I have the great privilege of getting to go out of town together to take in a Huskers football game (thanks, Nanna and Papa!).  Nebraska, for those who don't know, is where I spent many of my childhood years, and so I'm quite excited to return.  

There is truly no place like Nebraska when it comes to football, and no place I'd rather be on game day.  

I have much to do before we leave tomorrow, but I wanted to check in and let you know where I'll be.  Keep an eye on your college football scores Saturday, and think of us cheering on our boys in the stands of Memorial Stadium.


Monday, September 22, 2008

What are You Doing with Your Dash?

I spent the day in Wisconsin with my friend Charity and her family as we celebrated her brother Dave's life.  This has been an incredibly difficult time for their family.  My heart grieves for them all:  Dave's mom and dad who now have to bury their son, Dave's wife who loses her husband, Dave's children who have lost their dad, Dave's siblings who have lost their brother...

There were some young children there who obviously loved their Uncle Dave as well.  Several of them clung to their moms and dads and just cried their little hearts out.  There was also military there and they did the gun salute, played taps and presented his wife with the American flag since Dave served faithfully in the military.  That always gets me. It's so touching.

When we first got there and we walked in to the sanctuary, there were large screens with images of Dave and his family set to music.  So many memories.  The music and the message were so meaningful.  Charity sang a song she wrote for Dave 6 months ago, and her brother-in-law sang a moving rendition of "Come to Jesus."  Jerry and I had the great blessing of singing "The Old Rugged Cross" today as well.  It truly was a beautiful, God-honoring service.

The pastor spoke about our lives and how each of us has been given, by God, a beginning and an ending date to our lives.  It's already decided.  When you look at somebody's "dates" after they pass, there's a dash in between those two dates and years.  He asked the question:  "What are you doing with your dash?  At the end of your life, what will be said about the way you lived in between?"  I found that to be very thought-provoking, to say the least.  It gets down to the legacy we leave behind...the way we want to be remembered, the difference we made, the way we honored and glorified our God.

And so, as I turn out the light tonight, I'll ask you the same question:  "What are you doing with your dash?"

What do you want said of you at your Going Home Celebration?  

May each of us know and pursue the vision God has for us while we are living here on this earth.  We all have a purpose.  May we all prayerfully find it and live it out.  Life is but a breath. 

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Apples of My Eye

We had a great day at the apple orchard.  If you live in the area where I do and you are looking for a great, family friendly, Christ-centered place to spend the day, you must go to Royal Oak Farm Orchard.    It is totally worth the drive.  The grounds are beautiful.  For $6.50, you can pick five of your own apples, take a hay ride, eat an apple cider donut, watch a movie in a teepee about apples, bees, pollination, and honey, visit a petting zoo, play on the grounds, visit their market and gift shoppe, and drink a half pint of fresh apple cider.  We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day.  The wonderful thing about this particular orchard is that they openly talk about God's creation and they teach the children that it is because of Him and His wonderful ways that the apples can even grow on the trees.  They taught us about the cooperation that occurs between the farmers and the bees and how they are such great "workers."  If it weren't for the bees, we wouldn't have apples.  (This gave me a new appreciation for the bees.  : )

Definitely a wonderful place to visit if you ever get the chance.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Meeting of a Lifetime

Dave Bishop went Home to be with the Lord just a short while ago.  We rejoice that he is no longer suffering and is free at last from the bondage of disease.  

Would you please join me praying for them during the days and weeks ahead?  I know they will really need your prayers.

In the meantime, feel free to go to Charity's blog and leave her a comment if you'd like.

Thanks everyone.

Favorite Fall Top 10

Flip Flop is asking her readers what their favorite parts of fall are.  I adore the fall.  I am beginning to accumulate as much fall decor as Christmas (well, that might be overstating it just a bit). But each year I see something it's hard for me not to pick it up because it's just so cuuuuuute!

Anyway, here is my top ten list of reasons why I love the fall.  Feel free to play along too!

10.Cooler weather (not cold, just not 90 degrees).
9.  Soups and Stews start gracing our dinner table (Last night it was ham and bean).
8.  The beautiful colors and the changing of the seasons.
7.  Getting the porch and the house all decked out for the welcoming of Autumn.
6.  School supplies hit the shelves. I just LOVE school supplies.
5.  Nebraska Football.
6.  Watching NU football with my family in Indiana.
7.  Eating Football Stew while watching NU football.
8.  Going to NU games with my hubby (our time is coming soon....)
9.  Getting my kids all dressed up in Husker wear.
10. Hot apple cider, pumpkins, apple picking, caramel apples and runzas.

Your turn.  What do you love about fall?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Funny Things Heard Through the Baby Monitor

First, before I get to the light-hearted content of this post, I'd like to thank you for your prayers for Dave.  Last night, the doctors prepared the family for the fact that he may not make it through the night, but the morning light came and he is still with us.  He is unaware of much that is happening, but when I talked to Charity this morning, she said there are times when he lets them know he hears them.  She said they've been doing a lot of praying, reading scripture, sharing memories, and just having a sweet time together.  Please keep praying.  Your prayers are bringing them the support and peace they desperately need right now.

Secondly, I had to share this funny moment that happened a couple of hours ago in our house. Cody has taken on the responsibility of naptime reading to Caden (I have an agenda, of course. It gives me some time to get some things accomplished and it, of course, gets Cody reading independently).  As the two of them were headed upstairs, Caden was giving Cody a bit of a hard time, and this is the conversation I heard:

Cody:  "Caden, you need to come upstairs now so that brother can read to you."
Caden:  "NO!"
Cody:  "Caden, mommy said that you need to come up here!"
Caden:  "NO!"
Cody (growing increasingly impatient):  "CADEN!  You need to obey me RIGHT NOW!"

I laughed, in spite of myself, at this exchange.  It cracks me up how they start mimicking the things you find yourself saying over and over again.

What's even more funny to me was the fact that when Cody used the word "obey," Caden followed him upstairs and they started reading together.  

Ah, child training.  It's such a blast.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pray for Dave

Hi Friends,

If you've been following the updates on Dave, my dear friend Charity's brother, then I wanted to post this for all you prayer warriors who've been supporting him.  

He's not doing well.  The docs say his time is very short, and he has begun expressing that he's ready to go Home.

They've done everything they can for him and now they are just working to make him as comfortable as possible.  My heart breaks for the family.  The past year or so has been a roller coaster ride, as they've had some mountain-top experiences, and have definitely dipped down into some valleys.  This is definitely a valley kind of moment for the family, but Dave is approaching Heaven with great hope and anticipation.  I'd say he's going to have the mountain-top experience of a lifetime when he finally sees His Savior face to face.

Would you please pray for the entire Bishop family?  They really need your prayers. 

Thanks for reading, and I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Final Score:

Nebraska 38
New Mexico State 7

I don't want to speak prematurely here, but I think it's safe to say:



Saturday, September 13, 2008

To My Local Cable Company That We Switched To Because You Promised it Would Be Better But Have Failed to Deliver:

I am very upset with you. You see, I ordered the football package a few weekends ago because you promised me that I would be able to see as many Husker football games that my little heart could desire.

Now, I understand that FSN is part of your premium sports package that I am....dare I say...paying PREMIUM dollars to have in my living room, and yet, everytime I go looking for a game, it's $30+ dollars to watch my beloved Cornhuskers on pay-per-view! What's the deal????

Now, I ask you. How is this fair? How is that I am paying all this money, and we are entering our third weekend of the Huskers season and you still have not graced the 15 FSN stations with one Huskers game? Why must you play only the teams YOU like? I mean, really. How many stations need to carry some silly game between Colorado and who knows who? I realize this may not be your fault. After all, it's FSN that's carrying the game on pay-per view.

I'm just saying.

I'm very upset with you.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dear Anonymous:

First, I'd like to thank you for being a reader of my blog. I am aware that I do have some visitors outside of the United States. Because I do not know who you are or what country you are residing in currently, I am unable to contact you directly. However, I wanted to address your comment about yesterday's post. I have to be honest and say that I was a little taken aback by the insinuation that we Americans are responsible for the suffering in other countries. A portion of your comment reads: "I also want you to think and have more understanding of what your country is doing to other parts of the world... "

Please understand that this blog is not a political one. It's a place where I share what's on my heart, hopefully encourage somebody who may need it, and keep track of the things my children are doing and saying as they grow. It's a place where I share my faith which is first and foremost in my life. I will be completely honest and say that I try to steer clear of topics which could be controversial, because that's not the kind of forum that this is. However, September 11th is a day that will forever be engraved on all of our hearts. I sat for days in front of my television seven years ago, awaiting the birth of my first child, and all I could do was weep. My husband had to drag me from the TV and take me outside for fresh air because I couldn't stop watching the horror. I couldn't stop crying. It was a terrifying time for all of us Americans. We lost our innocence that day. And every time 9-11 rolls around each year, we Americans grieve all over again. Yes, we're healing, but we still grieve.

So after reading your comment, I just really wanted to share my heart with you on this subject. I am sure that many people in other parts of the world blame America for the suffering that is currently going on in Iraq and the surrounding countries. President Bush is viewed negatively around the world, and I'll admit he's lost many American's support. Our country is awaiting an presidential election where it's being promised by Republicans and Democrats alike that change is coming. We are in desperate need of change. Our country is suffering too. I know it may look different than the suffering in other countries, and I don't minimize what others are experiencing, but tough times have fallen on many, many Americans. We are hurting too.

Please understand that I am just one person who represents Americans. I do not speak for all of us, just as you don't speak for everyone in your country. I don't agree with all of the decisions of our president, but I do stand behind him. I support him and I support the troops that are fighting to defend our freedom and safety here and abroad. I have young children to think about. They are in my care and I have to support whatever measures are being taken to protect me, them, and all of us here in the United States. I know that many people have died because of the war in Iraq. I am not naive to that, and my heart breaks for all of those who have lost loved ones here and abroad.

Bottom line: I think it's unfair for Americans to be blamed for the suffering that's happening in other parts of the world. There are two sides to this story, and none of us really knows the truth. We can only do our part to support our fellow countrymen and our leaders.

And as I said yesterday, ultimately, it is our job to be on our knees. We serve a God who is in control of all of it. He asks us to pray and to trust Him. What else can we do?

I would challenge you to look at your own part of the world and remember that you, like us, are subject to the leadership of your country.

Thank you for reading and I do hope you'll come back.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where were you on 9/11?

This post was originally written two years ago today.  It was my very first blog post.  I thought it was appropriate to bring it back today.  I will say that as I re-read this post, I can praise the Lord that He has lessened my anxiety about the future for my children.  Even as we approach this election, it would be easy to fear for our country, but I know that God hand-picks the leaders of this world for a divine and ultimate purpose.  We need not fear!  Our God is an awesome God.  He is in control. And He is working out His plan.  To the families and friends of those who perished in the massacre of 9/11, I am praying for you today.

Ask my family. I am a person who never remembers anything. But I will forever remember what I was doing and where I was the day the twin towers were hit. I was seven months pregnant with my son Cody. I was on my way to bible study and I heard the morning D.J.s at my favorite radio station, WMBI, speaking gravely as they described what had just happened. My thoughts quickly moved from the horror of what I was hearing to my younger sister, Darci. She was living on the outskirts of NYC at the time and I immediately dialed her on my cell phone. Nothing. I called my family in Indiana and we began praying that she was alright. It would be many hours before we would finally get through to her and realize she was safe.

I remember turning the car around and heading back home, believing I would be safer at home instead of going to my bible study that morning. Looking back, I would have been better off being with my sisters in Christ than turning on the TV and not moving from it until my husband arrived home from work later that evening. What kind of world was my unborn child going to come into? A world full of terrorism, fear, hatred, and distress?

I finally reached for my Bible after crying and staring at my television for the majority of the day. It was there that the Lord comforted me in my distress by His promises in Isaiah 40:11. It reads, "He tends His flock like a Shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young." I remember feeling peace in my spirit for the first time that day.

At this five-year anniversary, I am still prone to fear, anxiety, and uncertainty about our nation's future (and what kind of world my children will be living in years from now), but 9/11 taught me that in the midst of adversity, ours is a God who is still bigger and greater than any terrorist plot could ever be. For me, today will be a reminder that where I need to be is on my knees before my God and King.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

His Eye is on the Sparrow

Do any of you know this sweet song?  Lately, this concept of God caring so much for me and for those I care about has been of great comfort to me.  I am a fan of the hymns, and this one is such a great song, full of His promises.  

It's been especially powerful as I've been praying for some good friends who are struggling.  My friend Charity's brother, Dave, who is battling lung cancer, is really having a hard time.  A former student who has a very sickly baby is doing her best to keep it together as she takes care of her many, many needs.  My dear friend Becky from church is having back surgery tomorrow after suffering for a couple of years.  The doctors don't know if this is even going to help her, but I am so praying it will.  Her pain has been unbearable and she's been living with it for so long.  We also know so many people who are unemployed, struggling greatly financially, wondering where their next meal is coming from and if they're going to lose their homes.  Our church alone is FULL of unemployed people.  

We can be tempted to look around us at all the suffering and wonder at God.  Why does He allow such things?  

And yet, because of our faith, we cling to a God who knows exactly what He is doing and we choose to trust.  We choose to take hold of His promises.  We choose to believe.

After all, His eye is on the sparrow, and so how much more is He watching over each of us today?  If you're hurting today, if you are wondering if He cares, if He sees, please remember how much God loves you.  You are so very important to Him.  

So I sing because I'm happy
And I sing because I'm free;
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


We had an awesome worship service this weekend.  And so it shouldn't surprise me that Satan had all kinds of ploys to keep me from attending.  I've heard it said that when God is getting ready to move in a mighty way, the evil one steps in with all sorts of attempts to thwart His plans.  It all started with the van threatening to break down on Friday (see previous post). Yesterday, Caden woke up screaming and had me worried to no end after an evening of intestinal trouble the night before.  He slept alright, but was really out of sorts and coughing a terrible amount when he woke up.  We were scheduled to sing at church this weekend.  Jerry actually had a featured solo with a small ensemble backing him up to the song "I Can Only Imagine." I was seriously starting to wonder if I was going to be able to sing given Caden's state.  

I ended up taking him to the doctor yesterday morning, but thankfully they seemed to think it was just allergies.  He's never been officially diagnosed with seasonal allergies, but it would stand to reason that he'd get them since he's part of this family!  He seemed to perk up as the day went on, so all was well.  My kids had to keep themselves busy for three hours while we rehearsed and even though they got a little rambunctious at times, I have to give them props for their effort.

The service went well last night (we do three per weekend) and we were even able to attend a surprise birthday party for our small group leader afterward.

This morning, I'd decided that I'd go to the church separately so that I didn't have to rush the boys out of bed and have them sit at church an hour early.  We were all up and getting ready when Jerry left and all was well.  We were headed out the door on time when I reached for my keys on the hook by the door.  They weren't there.  I looked all over the house and then realized they were locked in the van.  I had that horrible pit-in-my-stomach feeling when I called my husband who was already there.  I wish I could tell you that I handled the situation with grace, but the truth is I was not at all "holy" in my behavior.  On the contrary.  

To make a long story short (I know....too late!), we ended up getting there almost in time.  We only missed the opening song.  

Here's why I think there was major spiritual warfare going this weekend.  We had a communion service, for one, which is always so special as we remember what Christ has done for us and His awesome sacrifice.  The music was very reflective and there was just something really special about it this weekend (and I'm not saying it's because we were singing!).  I believe it was truly annointed.  We all felt it.  Our worship pastor sang a hymn medley that blew me away...and at one point even he got choked up.  There weren't many dry eyes in the church today.  I could barely get through "I can Only Imagine."  The song has so much meaning for me on a normal day, in fact I can't even listen to it on the radio without crying.  

I just love it when the Spirit of God moves among His people.  It is amazing to think that someday we will get to do NOTHING but worship Him...and that won't even begin to compare to our earthly experiences.  

We can only imagine...

Friday, September 05, 2008

One of Those Days

The day started out fine, like any other, and out we went to Cody's violin lesson this morning. Upon arriving at the driver side door of the van, I noticed a suspicious fluid that had drained out from underneath the van.  My head uttered the words I dared not speak:  "Oh please Lord. Not again." Further inspection indicated it was green fluid.  The same fluid that was spraying out the back of the van a week ago.  I immediately dialed the mechanic who, $1400 dollars later, had fixed the van.  He told me to go ahead and bring it in.

Easier said than done.  While I was driving the 45 minutes it took me to get from the violin lesson location to the mechanic, the van started to overheat.  Calmly, I dialed my husband, who would know what to do. He advised me to turn on the heat and roll down the windows. Mission accomplished.  The temperature gauge quickly fell out of the danger zone.  I started searching for my towing service card just in case.

We made it safely to our mechanic in one piece and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  I was so grateful to have made it there without any smoking or other strange things happening from underneath the hood of our van!  

I took the boys to the nearest location to keep us occupied, because we were technically stranded until we had working wheels again.  So we ended up at Target for three hours attempting to kill time.  We covered every square inch of the store, from the clearanced school supply items to the kleenex aisle.  

We finally got the call we were waiting for:  This leak was a new one.  It was not coming from the area they'd worked on last week.  I was actually disappointed because that meant that there was yet another problem with the van.  I meekly asked him what the damage was going to be while desperately clinging to the cart I was pushing.  

He said, "Well, technically, this is a new problem, but I'm not going to charge you."


And so the end of this story has a happy ending.  I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am for the outcome.  The flip side is that we got nothing done today, but I suppose that doesn't really matter.  

Our pocketbook was spared.  Well, unless you count the $18 I spend at Target.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I've Never Seen So Many Legos!

**Updated to add:  Some of you have asked where this is located.  It's not a theme park or anything.  It's the new store in Schaumburg at Streets of Woodfield.  There's a huge giraffe made of legos (go figure!) out front.  You can't miss it!  A word to the wise, however:  It is very expensive.  It will range anywhere from $15-20/person (2 and under are free).  We got a group rate so we only paid $6 per person.  See if you can find a coupon.  I wouldn't pay full price!**

Last Friday, we took our first official field trip with our homeschool group and we went to the newly built Legoland in our area.  Seriously, I didn't know you could build so many things with legos.  It was truly an amazing sight to see.  This was one of my favorite creations...don't you see a strange resemblence, what with all the missing teeth and such?
They had a replica of the city of Chicago, complete with the lights dimming at regular intervals so we could see it all lit up at night. This is Navy Pier. 
I personally loved this life-size Batman.  They also had Darth Vader!
We also saw a really cool 4-D movie, attended a presentation on how legos are made, and the boys had lots of opportunities to build their own creations.  (There are no pictures here of Caden because he wouldn't stop long enough for me to take his picture.  Every single picture features the back or top of his head!  He had a ball!)  It was a very cool place to visit, and I'm not even a huge fan of legos.  (Maybe it's because I'm always stepping or tripping on them...ouch!)  At any rate, the boys had a great time.  

We're off to a good start, and school is going well.  We are all adjusting to a somewhat new routine (though I'd started this summer so we could all get the feel for it), and so far, things feel pretty natural and surprisingly normal.  I'm thinking that's a good thing!

Oh, and for those who are keeping track, we've had no more mouse sightings.  Thank you, Jesus.