Thursday, January 31, 2008

Prayers From a Tender Heart

Cody has been working through his Sparks book for Awana since September. He has completed the book once and is now going back through the entire book again. He has one more week of review before he can go to "Skipper Review Island." Any of you who know the Awana program will know that this is the end of the book. As we have gone back and reviewed all the verses he has memorized, I am finding that the verses have stuck with ME and I'm so thankful that I'm memorizing favorite passages right along with him. What a way for God to teach me...through my child. But then, isn't that what parenthood is all about?

Tonight, he is continuing his review, and one of his assignments is to pray aloud every night for five things: A family member, a grandparent, a friend, a teacher, and a missionary. Each time, I ask him to choose someone to pray for, and I let God direct his answers and only help if he gets stumped.

As you know, our friend and former neighbor Molly is in the thick of her battle with ovarian cancer. Cody has often asked how she is and if her cancer is all better. I have tried to keep him updated on the family, including their children. Tonight, he was asking how her kids are handling everything, and I told him that they are doing well...being strong for their mom and very supportive.

So when we got to what friend he wanted to pray for, Cody chose Molly's children. His little prayer went something like this: "Dear Lord, please be with Molly. Please help make her cancer go away, and help her not to be so sick anymore. Please help Kevin and Erin to love her and be with her when she needs them. And in Jesus' name, Amen."

I don't know about you, but hearing tender prayers coming from the lips of a little child blesses me so much. I can only imagine how much more Jesus loves to hear them!

Oh Father, thank you for teaching me more about you through my child. Let me take my example from my son, who has shown me your love, forgiveness, and compassion time and again. May I not be afraid to reach out to those around me and instead have a heart like that of a child. Amen.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008

You'll Have to Forgive Me...This is a First.

So, being that this is Cody's first year in kindergarten, I have tried to be very calm, rational, and level-headed when it comes to his education. I am, after all, an educator by trade, and I really don't want to put a label on my forehead that screams "I'M A TEACHER," because that would just not be good. His sweet teacher has things U.C. (that would be under control), and I know she's very competent handling my son's education. Therefore, I have kept a VERY low profile at his school, volunteering whenever my help is needed, and trying to be as unobtrusive as possible. I scour his papers when they come home, I pay close attention to the report cards and listen intently at conferences, and I have never had a reason to worry about anything.

Fast forward to this afternoon. The phone rings and I see on caller ID that it's the school. Cody is already home at this point, so I see no need to panic. Upon answering, I discover it's his teacher calling. She begins asking me if I've ever heard of a program that is designed to help kids with their fine motor skills. Yes, I had heard of it, but it didn't hit me until a few minutes into the conversation that she was recommending my son for it. I started to feel a bit panicked. My fears are worsening when she tells me only a few kids are going to be a part of this program. He's one of the four.

When I asked her why, she said that he needs some extra help on his fine motor skills...specifically cutting, coloring, and writing. On his report card, this is something he is "progressing" toward, but not "mastering." This is how they grade in kindergarten. It's all about mastery.

Long story short, I've decided to go ahead and place him in this program. It's one day a week for thirty minutes. It's supposed to help him and we're going to try it for nine weeks to see how it goes.

But there's a part of me...the teacher and mother part...that worries that something might be wrong. In every other area, he's doing "fantastic" and "fabulous" (these are his teacher's words). I know for sure that he's not the only one struggling in this area, but I know you moms out there understand what I'm feeling. I honestly think he just would rather be doing other things that don't require him to sit still for too long and focus on a task like this. I don't think he's incapable, by any stretch. Perhaps it's just a boy thing?

I know some of you are teachers out there, many of you moms of boys. I'd love your input.

Happy Birthday, Cassidy!

Today you are nine. How time flies! It seems like just yesterday your mommy was bringing you home from the hospital. I told you on the phone this morning that I am so proud of you. You are so sweet and funny, energetic and kind. You have been a great cousin to my boys, and they love you so much. I hope you have a wonderful day. You are loved, sweetie!
Happy Birthday!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Who Knew Runny Noses Could Bring On Such Sweetness?

My little one is quite miserable today with a case of the "crud," but it's given me a great reason to do lots of cuddling and holding. He wanted nothing but popscicles and me right beside him. He went down for a nap around 1, and an hour later he was crying (normally he sleeps a good couple of hours). I brought him downstairs and was able to let him sleep for another hour and a half. We cuddled on the couch and he put his little head on my chest and snoozed away. It's been a long time since he has let me hold him that long...after all, he is almost two, and he has things to do, people to see, places to go! Today, however, he was content to just let me hold him. And so that's exactly what I did.

I'm glad dinner is already done in the crock pot, that Jerry's on his way home, and that I'm still in my P.J.'s.

I mean, what else was I going to do today, anyway? ; )

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It's Been A Day.

Can I just go back to bed and wake up tomorrow already?

Here's how my day went:

1. Wake up at 5:30 a.m. to a cranky crying toddler.
2. Cancel meeting at church because of said toddler.
3. Get a call from the bank which required me to go to the bank and give the issue attention.
4. Bank is about twenty minutes from home and tired toddler falls asleep en route. At 11 a.m.
5. Deal with some emotions which I will not go into here.
6. Toddler wakes up and begins pitching a fit in the middle of Hobby Lobby.
7. Shopping trip is cut short because of said toddler.
8. Come home and start cleaning the house only to find that it's pointless. Refer to said toddler.
9. Drink a coke to stay awake.
10. Wait for lesson to arrive.
11. While teaching lesson, phone rings six times. In five minutes.
12. It's the dinner hour. While waiting for food, husband calls. He's not coming home between work and choir practice.
13. Toddler is wailing due to hunger and crabbiness.
14. Toddler bites big brother because of apparent hunger and crabbiness.
15. Now brother is wailing.
16. Toddler in time out. Screaming begins.
17. Phone rings. AGAIN.
18. Dinner on the table. Screaming continues.
19. Mother too stressed out to think about food.
20. Mother glad tomorrow's a new day, and thankful for listening ears that made it better. You all know who you are. : )

Wordless Wednesday: The Proud Performer

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Have You Ever Heard of Blue Monday?

Tonight at small group, the women and men split up to pray together in their groups, and we women were talking about "Blue Monday." Supposedly it was last Monday, and it is a day that has been coined blue because it's typically the week many people give up on their new year's resolutions (or fail miserably at keeping them). It's the mid-point of winter, people are depressed, and it's a day many people report feelings of depression and downright sadness. Now, I had never heard of this, but it made sense to me when I heard about it.

I know many people struggle with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and I've heard of people buying special lights to keep their spirits up, since the winter months tend to be dark and dreary much of the time. I know I have days when I look out the window at the cold and dreary day and wish I didn't have anything to do but curl up under my electric blanket and hibernate for as long as it takes for me to feel like going out. Alas, I am a mother, and this isn't exactly behavior that would win me that coveted "mother of the year" award. Ha! As if.

I was reminded tonight, that no matter what our circumstances, though the snow and sleet pour down, and the cold threatens to keep us in, God is the lifter of our heads and He truly does make all things new. Spring is around the corner, though it may not feel like it now. It reminds me of a song I love called "Every Season" by Nichole Nordeman. The lyrics take a journey through every season of the year, and when she gets to the part about winter, the music almost comes to a standstill...but as spring approaches, the music builds and the song ends there, with spring as the promise.
She sings,
"and everything in time and under heaven
finally falls asleep
wrapped in blankets white
all creation
shivers underneath
And still I notice You when branches crack
and in my breath on frosted glass
Even now in death you open doors for life to enter
You are Winter....
And everything that's new
has bravely surfaced
teaching us to breathe
and what was frozen through
is newly purposed
turning all things green
So it is with You
and how You make me new
with every season's change
And so it will be, as You are recreating me...
Summer, Autumn,
I couldn't have said it any better myself.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Here's An Idea...

If you want to change the look of your blog, DON'T. The result could be devastating and you could lose everything (except all your previous posts, thank the Lord) and stay up too many hours trying to fix what went wrong. Then there's the blogger language I just can't quite grasp with confusing lingo like "widgets" and "upgrade now?" and "revert back to classic template" and on and on...

All because I wanted a "cutesy" blog which really, now that I look at it, isn't all that cutesy.

But it could just be the sleep deprivation talking.

I'm not sure, but perhaps I should call it a night and look at it in the morning with a newer, fresher perspective.

OH! Before I forget, please take pity on me and leave me a comment so I can add you back onto my link list. I have lost all of you (**sniff**) that I visit on a regular basis except the ones listed to the right, so pleeeeeaaaaase, pretty please, add your link/comment so I can reconfigure my list. Otherwise it will cause me to spend more hours fighting with blogger, and really. I don't want to do that. Thank you in advance for your help with my bloggy woes.

Happy Day, everyone.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

If Poppop Could See Him Now

Today marked Cody's first ever violin performance, and I was so proud of him. He played a little ditty called "See Saw" and he did a great job. We watched many students play today, all proficient at different levels, and I think Cody's off to a great start. I found myself getting a little teary at one point (I had to wait to feel anything until afterwards since I was accompanying him on the piano), and I have since realized that my emotion was about my grandfather. .

In 2001, my grandfather gave me his violin. It is over 100 years old and was made by a German immigrant named Mr. Crinats. My grandpa started playing the violin when he was age five, just like Cody. When he gave me the instrument, he included a letter that I will treasure forever, and in the closing paragraph of the letter he writes:

"Maybe someday there will be somebody in your family who aspires to be a violin player. He or she can try their first notes on this old fiddle. Who knows, perhaps they may be playing at the Met. May all good things happen to you and to those who draw a bow across these strings."

Well, got your wish. Just look!

Friday, January 18, 2008

For Molly

My friend Molly is battling ovarian cancer right now, and she is having another chemo treatment this coming Wednesday. This last treatment was rough and it took her a full week before she was feeling better. She is surrounded by a wonderful support network, and her family has been phenomenal through all of this. Please pray that God will give her whatever she needs to withstand this next round of chemo and, ultimately, that it does its job.

Molly, I know you read this blog. We love you and are praying for you. Cling to God's Word and His promises. They are true!

And thanks to all of you who I know will be praying for Molly. There's GREAT power in prayer!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Caught in the Act

The Ascent...
The Perch

Yes, playing is much easier from here
What? There's a problem? I see no problem!

American Idol Returns....

We now pause to bring you this very (trivial) important announcement.

American Idol returns tonight and tomorrow night.

The question remains: Do I watch?

I am still recovering from the Melinda Doolittle issue. I absolutely loved her. And while Jordin had a great voice, she just never impressed me the way Melinda did. I understand that Melinda is no worse for the wear, touring with Christian artsists and impressing the masses with her vocal stylings, but I think America missed the mark when they voted for Jordin. I knew that Melinda would be "big" regardless of how America voted, but I was disappointed that she didn't make it to the finale. Seriously, what was America thinking???

And then there's the issue of the first umpteen weeks of bad auditions, people being made fun of and ridiculed by Simon and his crew. I know it's supposed to be "entertaining", but it's downright mean how some of these poor people are treated. It was hard to watch last year, and I do remember some of you even posting about it.

You might even find it interesting that I didn't even watch a full season of Idol until last year. As a voice instructor (hubby is a music teacher as well), I really didn't want to take the time to listen to more singers since it's what I do for a living. You may think that's strange, but I'd much rather watch something totally unrelated (unless, of course, it's "So You Think You Can Dance") in my free time.

However, once I watched one episode of "Idol", I was hooked. I had to hang in there the whole season.

So the question remains. What are you going to do? Are you tuning in for another season? I'd love to know your thoughts on this very (trivial) issue.

(P.S. I love you, Ms. Doolittle!!! You ROCK!)

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Tonight, I had the opportunity to go hear my alma mater's choir (of which Jerry and I were a part years ago). I try to make it to one of their local concerts when they tour every year, as they are truly wonderful. It's always such a thrill to hear them sing, and of course, it takes me back to "the good old days." The days of meeting my hubby (oh the joys of falling in love!), singing day in and day out (to my heart's delight), having nobody to look after or care for but myself, spending time with my friends as often as I'd like. Carefree, fun days. It's hard not to get nostalgic.

But when I walked in the door tonight to my little boys and big one too, and heard those sweet voices cry, "Mommy's home!," I was reminded again that there's simply no place I'd rather be.

Home is where my heart is.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

In Memory...

My great aunt, Zelda, passed away this morning. She was 108. While we are sad at her passing, we rejoice that she is presently enjoying being reunited in heaven with our loved ones. We did not want her to suffer and prayed that God would take her sooner than later, as she was experiencing pain and discomfort.

In prior weeks, she had been saying that relatives (who are deceased) had been coming and talking to her. I truly believe that this happens when one is close to passing, as we've seen this happen with others who have died. What a marvelous thought, to not only see Jesus, but to reunite with loved ones who have gone before us.

We will miss Aunt Zelda. She was a wonderful woman, and I will always have a special place for her in my heart.

May you dance with the angels, now, sweet Zelda. We love you.

Are Thank You Notes and RSVPs a Thing of the Past?

If you're not into etiquette, you can just skip this post. It's going to be a bit of a rant regarding this topic. Don't say I didn't warn you. (And furthermore, if you're a close friend, family member or neighbor this post has nothing to do with you. I love you. You're wonderful.)

I have found in recent years, with the rise of things like e-vites, e-cards, and the ever famous e-mail, that we as a culture have become so accustomed to communicating via the world wide web that we've forgotten what it means to pick up the phone to respond to an invitation, write a thank you note, or even send a card through "snail mail." Now, I often utilize the aforementioned methods, so I'm not saying they are bad, I'm just saying that the good old fashioned methods of communication are quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Example: Almost two years ago, I sang in a wedding as a gift for somebody, but I also gave them a separate wedding gift that they could open as well. I never received a thank you. Over a year ago, we sent a baby gift to good friends who'd just had their first baby. It went quite a distance, and over time I began to wonder if they'd gotten it. It was such a cute gift, I thought sure I'd hear something. Nothing. A year later my husband called about a different matter but happened to ask, "hey...did you ever get our gift?" to which the recipient replied, "uh yeah, thanks!" I mean, there's such a thing as a grace period of a few months, especially if you're new parents, but come on. A year or two??? How hard is it to write out a thank you card and throw it in the mail???

Now, let me just say that I don't need a thank you card everytime I do something nice for somebody. I really don't. But if I've gone to the effort to get a gift, wrap a gift, and mail a gift, it would at least be nice to know that they received it...or even just a phone call to say "thanks!"

Cody's teacher wrote us the most beautiful thank you note for the gift we gave her for Christmas. We made a donation to Samaritan's Purse in her name that benefits children in impoverished countries. A gift as small as $15 can educate one child for a year! Well, she was so touched by the gesture, and she shared from her heart what it meant to her in the note. Her response to the gift meant so much to us as a family. Jerry read the note to us over dinner and we all said, "wow." As the giver, it made me want to go out and do that for ten more people!

And then there's the matter of RSVPs. Actually, I'm not even going to go there. You've probably already experienced this for yourselves. I'll just simply say this: If I send out an invitation, it's almost guaranteed that I'm going to have to pick up the phone and call most of the guests because they failed to reply.

I hope that I am the kind of mom that encourages gratitude in my kids. I hope, when they are out on their own, that they will take the initiative and send along a note of thanks when somebody blesses them in some way. Ultimately, we can thank the Lord for those that have blessed us...but it sure is nice to be told personally that what you did and what you gave was appreciated.

And that wraps up this rant for the day. If you got to the end, thanks for sticking with me! And if you've experienced this for yourselves, please share in the comments. I'd be interested to know your thoughts on the matter. Just call this Etiquette Thursday!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: This is the Man I Married

I know, you're scared. It's okay. I am too.
****Updated to add: My hubby wanted you to know that he took this picture himself. I don't know what's worse: the fact that he made this face using chicken fries or the fact that he cracked himself up so much that he felt the need to photograph himself!****

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Happy Birthday, Darci!

Here's a big shout out to my little sis, Darci, who celebrates a birthday today.
I love you, kiddo!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Curious Caden Strikes Again!

It never fails...just when you think he couldn't possibly get into ONE MORE THING, he does.

Cody's teacher assigned a snowman project for the kids over the break. The families were asked to work on the project together, and we were supposed to find things around the house to create our snowman.

We decided to make ours edible. So, we used marshmallows (2.5 lbs of them to be exact), m&ms, and tootsie rolls. Caden, of course, was intrigued with Mr. Snowman and decided it would be fun to keep grabbing at all the ingredients. We kept telling him NO, but he kept insisting. It made doing this "family project" somewhat challenging. To say the least.

We finally finished this masterpiece last night, and I think it turned out great.

This morning, I set it aside on the boys' little art table, as it is quite large and was taking up half the dining table. I didn't think twice about it. But I should have.

While going through a massive number of emails that I'd been neglecting, Caden had been busy. Suddenly, he appeared at the desk where I was sitting with tootsie roll smeared all over his innocent little face. He came to tell me that what he was eating was good ("mmmm....mmmmm," he said!).

Now, I wish I could tell you that the first thing that came to my mind was WHAT was used to glue all the pieces onto the posterboard, or even that I had thought to snap a couple pictures of Mr. Snowman and enemy #1 (for the blog of course), but alas, I began to express, in no uncertain terms, that what he'd done was a big NO NO.

And then it hit me.

The adhesive we used is made with acetone.

So I called the pediatrician immediately. Who told me to call poison control. Who proceeded to keep me on hold because she'd never heard of that product.

Come to find out, it's only really toxic when injested directly from the bottle. So, just watch for a rash in and around the mouth and difficulty swallowing. OH! Is that ALL?

Thankfully, Curious is taking a nap at this posting, and all is well in our household.

And if I play my cards right, big brother will never know what hit Mr. Snowman today.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Please Pray...

Dear Friends,

Your prayers are needed. I know most of you don't know my friend Charity, but her brother was recently diagnosed with lung cancer (he never smoked a single day of his life) and today he found out that the cancer has spread to his brain. This precious family believes in Christ and the power of prayer, and they are vigilently praying that God might choose to heal her brother Dave, or at least prolong his life. The doctors say the outlook is grim, but we know our God is the Great Physician and that there is power in prayer.

Would you please stop what you're doing now and pray for him? Pray for this family, for his wife and two children, for their parents (I can't imagine how difficult it must be as a mom to watch her son going through this), and for the siblings and relatives as they deal with the reality of this news. Perhaps you might also go to her blog (linked here...scroll down and look for the above picture to read more) and leave her a note of encouragment as well. I know that would brighten her day. Thank you, prayer warriors!

I urge then...that requests, prayers, intercession,
and thanksgiving be made for everyone. ~1 Timothy 2:1