Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Talk to Me Tuesday

The debate rages on in my mind. Last year, when Cody was in his second year of pre-school, I prayed and researched my options for his schooling. Because our district does full-day kindergarten, I was in quite a pickle about how to proceed this year. I kept thinking, a full day for a five year-old? It's just too much!

You all know what we decided. He is in public school this year. The year has been a great thing for him in many ways. He has a wonderful teacher and I've watched him grow and blossom under her leadership.

The flipside is that I see little attitudes, behaviors, and words coming home some days that bother me. I'd be lying if I said that this year hadn't impacted him a bit negatively in some respects. Yes, there's been a great deal of positive, but it's hard for me, as his mom, to overlook the negative.

While I researched my options last year, I talked to many moms...particularly those who send their kids to private school and those who chose public school. The ones who sent their kids to private Christian schools said that their children were not immune to bringing home bad attitudes and questionable language. They reassured me that it's everwhere. What they said they appreciated most about the Christian environment was the absence of the "worldview" and the presence of God.

Fast forward to this year. I have continued praying all year for Cody. And I've also continued praying about options. (We were encouraged my many people to take things year by year and make decisions accordingly, because things can quickly change!) We recently learned that a new Christian school may be opening in the area. They have piqued my interest because it sounds like the tuition could potentially be manageable for us (last year it was out of the question).

I'll be totally honest. Some days I really do feel like the world is spinning out of control. As a parent, I worry. I fear for my children's hearts and minds. I desire for them to know and love Christ more than anything in this world. I want nothing more than the truths of God and His Word to permeate their hearts. On the flipside, I also want them to learn to live in a world like this because they are going to need to learn to be survivors in it AND shine their lights in it. But at five or six years old, is that really a fair charge to put on them? As Christians, how do we reconcile these two schools of thought? Is it better to have them in a more sheltered environment and a Christian setting during these most formidable years? The debate rages on in my mind and heart. We will continue to seek Him and His will. We will continue to pray. And I will keep my eyes and ears open to what the Lord is telling me.

In the meantime, I'm interested in what you think. I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments, whether you are a homeschooler, have chosen to send your children to private school, or if you're presently in the public school system. Thanks, in advance, for your thoughts. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mommy!

Today is my mom's birthday. Caden and I just called her to wish her a great day, and at the end of our message I said, "Mom, I'm so thankful for the day God brought you into this world."

Mom, I am so grateful that God chose you to be my mom. You have helped carry my burdens, eased my fears, been my biggest cheerleader and prayer warrior. You have wiped away my tears or jumped for joy beside me every step of the way. You've offered your support and unconditional love in tangible ways when I've needed it most. You've said the hard things when they needed to be said and been a truth-teller when I'd have rather lived in denial. You've been my best and greatest teacher. You've been my mentor, my friend, my confidant.
And so today, on this very special 28th day of April, we wish our wonderful mom and Nanna a great Birthday. You deserve it. : )

Thursday, April 24, 2008

This is Going to Be Really Random

Isn't that a catchy title for a post? I'm so creative, I know.

Just so you know, I'm having spacing issues with blogger, so please forgive the big gaps in between my brilliant writing. OH BLOGGER, you do, at times, disappoint.

  • Please go visit my sister at her blog to read about her encounter with chipmunks many moons ago. Trust me, you'll never look at one of these ferocious beasts the same again.

  • Also, that thing about Tiny Tim a little later in her post? Yeah. Totally true.

  • Speaking of my sister, she has a strange affinity for Walgreens. She'd be so proud to know that, in keeping with family tradition, I've been there five times in two days. Cody has a nasty ear infection, and for some reason, it has upset his system so much that it has required us to purchase the following: Claritin, Motrin, Zyrtec, allergy eye drops, Singulair, Sudafed, and Zithromax. Forget saving for college. It's allergy season.

  • Apparently we've been having little earthquake aftershocks after "the big one." I still haven't felt the earth move under my feet OR the sky tumblin' down, tumblin' down.

  • I made treble clef sugar cookies today, and Lori wanted to see photos. (pausing for applause.)

  • Carly, I hated to see you go, girl. But here's the thing. You'll be fine. Jason Castro on the other hand? UGH. Don't get me started. Did you see him yawning backstage waiting for the results? Seriously, Jason. Do you even care that you're in the TOP 5 AMERICAN IDOL CONTESTANTS? Go home already.

  • Rationing of rice. I don't even know what to say about this. Rice is a HUGE staple in my diet and I serve it often with meals. And I'm not talking about minute rice. I'm talking about the long grain and wild variety. The kind that's probably going to go WAY up in price. What's next?

  • My house is clean. It's amazing what happens when I don't have lots of outside responsibilities pressing in on me. I actually cook (decent meals), clean, do laundry, bake, play with my kids, and well...do what I feel I'm supposed to be doing every day! It's a good reminder for the next time when I am tempted to say "yes" to something that should really be a "no."

That's all for now. I'm still making my way around to your blogs trying to catch up. Happy (Random) Friday, everyone!

Monday, April 21, 2008

5 Things Tag

I've been tagged by Morning Song, and so it's my turn to share some things you may or may not know about me. So...here goes!

What I was doing 10 years ago:

I was coming back to the Lord after several rebellious years. I was in a new church, and I was about to realize that the love of my life needed to break up with the girl he was dating and marry me!!! (Thankfully, he did!) I was working full-time as a high school choral director, and I had just bought my new car: A green '97 chevy cavalier.

Five things on my To-Do list today:

1. Finish making programs for the recital and get them copied. (done!)

2. Make cookies and cupcakes for recital. (cookies, check!)

3. Order seeds for garden. (uh, still need to do that one)

4. Make doctor's appointment. (yeah, I just saw him, so can we put that off?)

5. Laundry! (Lord, will it never end???)

Five snacks I enjoy:

1. Flatbread and cheese.

2. Chips and Salsa.

3. Cereal snacks (the kind you make yourself!)

4. Veggies and dill dip

5. Does Coca-Cola count?

Five things I would do if I were a billionaire:

1. Give it to the church, to charity, to those who need it most.

2. Pay off the debts of those I love

3. Buy a new home and a nice car for hubby

4. Travel

5. Surprise someone I know with a large check that would really help them in a time of need

Five bad habits:

1. Chewing my nails

2. Not listening often enough

3. And talking too much

4. Yelling at my kids when they don't do what I say the first time

5. IMPATIENCE. Did I meantion, impatience?

Five places I've lived:
1. Omaha, Nebraska

2. Valparaiso, IN

3. Decatur, IL

4. Zion, IL

5. Peducah, KY

Five jobs I've had:
1. Sales consultant (a.k.a. cashier) at a retail clothing store

2. Singing waitress

3. Teacher

4. Camp counselor

5. Student

Now, I tag:

ANYONE who wants to play along.

Calling All Prayer Warriors

My baby sister's MIL, Sue, needs your prayers. She has suffered a brain aneurysm, and now the doctors are saying she needs brain surgery, or the results could be fatal. She called me this morning, asking me to petition everyone to please pray for her. Please pray for the doctors to have wisdom in how they proceed (I believe the date for the surgery is being scheduled very soon), and most importantly, please pray for her salvation. Neither she nor her husband know the Lord, and of course, this is the biggest prayer request of all. I know my sister greatly appreciates your prayers. Thank you so much!

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Sign of the Times

The earthquake that was felt across the midwest shook our closet doors and woke all of us up at 4:30 this morning. As we sat watching the news, incredulous that we had indeed felt the tremors of an earthquake, I marveled at the GREATNESS of God and once again bowed my heart before Him. I told Cody that the Bible has predicted many of the things we see going on in our world today, and that earthquakes are just one of those things.

When I opened my email a little bit ago, I found the following from my mom:

"Hope you all survived this most recent marker we have that our Lord is coming for us...maybe sooner rather than later...I'm loving it!!! DO NOT BE AFRAID. HE IS WITH US!!!"

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Come, Lord Jesus. We're ready!

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. ~Matthew 24:7

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend

When I was a little girl, I started my performing career at a dinner club in Nebraska called Club 89. It's not there anymore, but I have some fond memories of that place.

During last night's Idol, one memory came flooding back in the form of glistening rhinestones.

You see, there was this one microphone that was studded with rhinestones that I used to LOVE using when I'd get up on stage to sing.

I'd almost forgotten about this mic until I was watching Mariah with her faux diamond mic stand and microphone. Along with her faux band and faux vocals.

Anyway. I guess a girl never outgrows the need for a glitter and glam. I just thought they were supposed to outgrow that stuff by the time they reached their adult-hood.

Apparently Mariah never got over it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Need to Piggyback on What She Said

So Lori at Glass Half Full must have read my mind today, because she said exactly what I have been feeling. When will the madness end? Why must we choose between gas in our vehicles or food on the table? It's getting harder and harder to have BOTH!

I have to say that we have learned trust and contentment in recent months more than we have at any other point in our lives. And the thing is, God always provides. It's in the smallest thing sometimes, but nonetheless, it's like a little kiss from God, a message from Him that reminds me, "I love you, child. You are mine and I'll take care of you!" He is truly our Provider.

And so, for now, we trudge on. We keep working hard, putting one foot in front of the other and doing "the next right thing." (Thanks, Papa, for those awesome words.) We work to keep our priorities in check, continue to evaluate "need" versus "want," and we pray for His provision. Most of all, we are learning to be content, whatever the circumstances.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Philippians 4:12

He is faithful, my friends. I can attest to that. He has always been faithful.

And that's worth more to me than a full tank of gas or a fridge full of food!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Full Circle Moment

I drove down to my alma mater yesterday. One of my former voice students was doing her senior recital, and she had asked me months ago if I would be willing to come down for it. As soon as I came over the hill where the campus sits, I gasped at the changes that had taken place over the past twelve years. The college looks beautiful. Just as I remember it, only a little bigger. This is the school of music, where I spent many hours as a vocal music education major.I arrived early and spent that time walking around the campus and reminiscing. I ran into several friends and professors, and it was very good to be back there.My student did a great job. I was so proud of her and her accomplishments. She has grown a great deal, and it was so special to see her standing on the same stage where I had stood many times before. I am so glad she chose my alma mater for her school, because she has had a fantastic experience, as did I. Here we are at the reception afterwards:Her mom and dad were understandably emotional. (I was a bit teary too!) They hadn't really heard her sing since the her last recital with my studio! Truly, it's amazing how fast the time goes. Now she's a senior, contemplating graduate school. I must admit, this makes me feel a little old!

Life has changed so much since those carefree college days. It was humbling to look back and be reminded of the plan God had in mind when I arrived on campus for the first time. I was so young...who knew I'd meet my husband there and that someday I'd be sitting in the audience watching one of my own students perform?

It's like coming full circle.

Friday, April 11, 2008

And She's Off!

First of all, thanks for your funny comments (keep 'em coming) about my doctor's visit the other day. I really hesitated to post about my experience, but now I'm glad I did. I knew you all could totally relate.

I thought it may interest you to know that I shaved my legs this morning. Can I get an "Amen?"

In other news, I had holy chills up and down my spine last night while America's Top 8 sang "Shout to the Lord." TO OPEN THE SHOW!!!! That was awesome.

Finally, I apologize if I've not left any comments on your blogs lately. I'm busily preparing to attend and lead worship for our church's ladies retreat this weekend. While I am greatly looking forward to it, there's been so much preparation, and I've not had a lot of time to read and comment on your blogs. I'll get caught up soon!

I am looking forward to the weekend away, and I anticipate the Lord will do great things in and through our time together. Please pray for my voice. It's still not back 100%, and I will be doing a lot of singing this weekend. I know God will provide all I need when I need it, so I am trusting in that. I found out that many of the women coming are "unchurched," and I always anticipate, with great excitement, watching God move. It is always my prayer that none of us would leave unchanged.

With that, I'll sign off and get back to packing and finishing up the laundry. Have a wonderful weekend. I look forward to catching up with you soon!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Apparently, It's Time for Some Girl Talk.

Warning: The following material contains sensitive information for women only. If you're a man and have chosen to stay and read on, don't say I didn't warn you.

I hesitated to even write this post, but you know, I've decided this material is totally blog worthy. We're among friends here in the blogosphere, and while I generally don't discuss female "things," I felt it was time for us to get to know each other better. (Plus, I hopped over to my sister's blog and read a similar post, and I felt less alone in my angst.) Thanks, sis!

My mother is reading right now, clutching the sides of her chair wondering what on earth her daughter is going to broadcast to the world. Don't worry, mom. It's not going to be like those times growing up when we would sit around the breakfast table on Sunday morning and I would ask questions about the birds and the bees. And cry.

Oh no, this is just going to be a simple commentary all you women out there will appreciate.


Yesterday I paid a visit to my friendly neighborhood doctor. I like this man. He always looks me in the eye, warmly smiles and shakes my hand when I come in for a visit, and listens to my concerns. He asks about the boys, we chat about his family. I'm comfortable with him (as comfortable, I suppose, as you can be with your gynecologist). I'm especially grateful that he's still willing to be my doctor since I yelled at him in the delivery room while giving birth to my darling second-born son. I can't be positive, but I think I said something like this: "SO HELP ME...If you EVEN tell me that I'm STILL four centimeters, I'm gonna HURT you." Anyhoo. Moving on.

He listened intently to me as I read him the list of symptoms I've been experiencing, took me seriously when I told him I felt "out of whack", and gently smiled when I self-diagnosed myself.

Later, as I was staring at the ceiling, it dawned on me.


My mind began to race. My face flushed (could it be my hormones again???), and it was in that moment that I decided this was totally worth writing about.

Suddenly, I blurted out:

"Oh, Dr. _____, I am so sorry, but I forgot to shave my legs."

He laughed and said, "Yeah. I get that a lot!"

I should also add that I felt the need, with both the births of my babies, to announce this very thing to my doctors. We all had a good laugh in the delivery room. Perhaps you've now surmised that I don't often shave my legs. (This is the part of the story where you learn something new about me.) Let me just remind you that the temps are still hovering in the forties and fifties. It's not exactly shorts weather. So, to be clear, it's not that I don't WANT to shave or choose NOT to shave, it's just that when I only have a specific window of time to take my coveted daily shower, I don't always take the time to shave. I know. T.M.I. I am the queen of it. (Mom, are you still reading???)

Anyways. Back to Dr. WhatsHisName.

He was his usual gracious self, calmed my fears, and said he'd be in touch sometime today. My unshaven legs didn't seem to faze him one bit.

What a relief. I'm so glad I have such a nice doctor in times like these. *sniff*

Could somebody please pass me the kleenex? It seems I'm having another weepy moment.

Monday, April 07, 2008

An Official Welcome is In Order

I have big news.

It's so exciting, I can hardly contain myself.


You may visit her over here.

Now, she's worried her place isn't quite ready for houseguests, but I disagree, so, sis, the cat's out of the bag. Please drop by with a housewarming hello and let her know you're happy she's joined the rest of us bloggie gals. She's a great writer and she always makes me laugh. And I love her. Even though she doesn't ever leave me a comment when I know she's been here. ;)

Well. This is just too much excitement for one day. I have to go rest my voice now. That took a lot of energy.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

It's Unusually Quiet Around Here

It feels weird to "blog out loud" right now because I've been forced to be very quiet this weekend. Not by choice, mind you, but as a result of a sore throat and coughing for a week. I have laryngitis.

I am leading worship in less than a week for our church's retreat; thankfully during yesterday's rehearsal I had just enough voice to get through a long day of singing, but after that, I was toast. It's completely gone today.

I think it's interesting what has happened to me as a result of not being able to talk. First of all, I realized that I talk alot. SHOCKER, I know. Secondly, it has forced me to listen more. Because I am a person that does a great deal of talking, I am sure I don't listen nearly enough. Good lesson learned. And then, of course, my children didn't really have to listen to me over the past day or two because they couldn't hear what I was saying at all. That was pretty frustrating.

However, the thing that I am learning the most in my "silence" is that God has spoken a great deal to me in the past day or two about several things I apparently needed to hear.

And that is why I believe God has allowed this "talking fast" at this time. He has His reasons for everything. And I'm actually thankful to not be speaking much. I needed to open my ears and listen.
"Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong.
Job 6:24

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Oh, Ramiele. It Was Your Time.

I just have to say two things:

1. Ramiele HAD to go. And if you're a fan, I'm sorry. She just couldn't keep up with the line-up of pros like Cook (as in David), Archuleta, and Smithson.

2. We must pray for Simon. He's clearly uncomfortable with the mentioning of the name "Jesus." Did you see him squirming last night?

That's all for now.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

10 Random Thoughts

1. I heart American Idol. It's an addiction, I must admit. Last night's show was great...so many strong performances (but please, America, say good bye to Ramiele)!

2. I hardly slept last night because Caden was up off and on for no apparent reason. He wasn't just waking up and whimpering, he was downright screaming. It took an hour to calm him at one point. Today he's perfectly fine. I, on the other hand, am sleep-deprived.

3. I'm sick of the economy. I'm tired of gas prices being this high. I go to four different stores to buy things because I shop where it's the cheapest. I'm tired of doing that too.

4. I have a women's retreat in a little over one week that I'm leading worship for and I don't quite feel prepared. I took a little too much of a "break" during our spring (a.k.a. winter) break.

5. I desperately needed that break.

6. My little sis is visiting my family back home because she is on break, however, I am not, so I don't get to see her.

7. I've noticed that the new style for women's clothing these days is a bit maternal in nature. I recently bought a shirt that kinda looks like that, and I think people may be wondering if I'm pregnant.

8. I'm not.

9. Here's my pic for Wordless Wednesday, because it is, after all, Wednesday.
10. I took a meal to a friend last night that recently had a baby. She has a 4 year old, a 3 year old, a 22 month old and 2 week old. And she plans on homeschooling. I think she's brave.
The chicken pot pie I made her family slid around in the back of my van (I brought it in the afternoon so they could bake it when they were ready to eat), and it didn't look like much of a pie when I got it there. I'm thinking she's probably too tired to care.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Pass Me a Bubble, Please.

When my little six year-old got home from school yesterday, I hugged him and asked him how his day was. He said it was good and I started rummaging through his backpack to pull out his folder with the day's work. As I was rifling through the pile, I pulled out a white sheet of paper folded like a card, and on the front of it, it had a nice little sentiment in red crayon from one of the girls in his class. It's not uncommon for Cody to receive "love" notes from this little girl (and for a while I thought it was kinda cute how Cody would roll his eyes and sigh in disgust at the mere mention of a note from this girl). However, this particular note was a bit "racy" even for a kindergartener and so I decided it was time to address it with his teacher.

I am amazed at how early these things start with children. It's troubling, really, to think that even kindergarteners, who should be among some of the most innocent creatures on earth, are having thoughts that they would even dare verbalize! I spoke with my mom this morning, and we both agreed that if I had written a note like that to a little boy when I was a kid, I'd be in pretty big trouble.

I'd like to go on record as saying, though I'm sure this will not come as a shock to any of you, that there are SO MANY days I really despise our culture. This is why Jesus commanded us..."Be in the world, but not of it."

Help me, Lord. Some days I wish we could just live in a bubble.