Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thankful Thursday

1. I am thankful that my lilacs are blooming.
2. I am thankful that tomorrow is Friday because I am tired this week.
3. I am thankful that my husband likes to grocery shop and cook!
4. I am thankful that I got my rabbit's cage cleaned today and no longer have that hanging over my head this week.
5. I am thankful that I received all positive feedback and no negative feedback during my yearly review this week. In fact, I was told I was a class act! :-)

Go on over and link to Truth 4 the Journey and post what you're thankful for today!



Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Give Me More Stripes

On Monday, my kids had the day off from school. I don't know why...our school district has weird in-service days built into their schedule. Anyway, my husband had to travel at least an hour away for a meeting, so he dropped the boys off at my school around 10:30 that morning. The boys hung out with my class and were a big help when one of my students suddenly had a bloody nose just as we were sitting down for snack time.

I was done by noon and took my sons out to lunch. We went to TGI Fridays because I had a coupon for $8 off. That paid for Cooper's lunch! I know I've blogged about this once before, but if you go here, you can sign up to get a Friday's Give Me More Stripes card. Whenever you eat there, you present your card and earn points (stripes) for that visit. Once you reach 100 points you will receive a coupon via email.

The boys and I had a lot of fun together. They were actually getting along (rather than the usual "I love my brother" followed by a punch)! There was an '80's soundtrack playing in the restaurant, so the two of them were making up silly dance moves while we were sitting there waiting for our food. Of course, they were making fun of the music! "Is this still the same song?" "When will this song be over?" "They all sound the same!" I probably heard my parents say the same things about 25 years ago!

Then Sam and Coop began laughing hysterically because on one of the TVs the Jerry Springer show was on. This isn't something we EVER watch. These two women were physically fighting and then out of no where appeared this guy in a tiger print bikini (which really clashed with his tattoos by the way). Cooper thought this was one of the funniest things he's ever seen! I could have done without them seeing that, but it was nice to hear their giggles.

The three of us had a good time together, and I know they enjoyed the treat of going out for lunch during the week. Since we had the coupon, I splurged and let them get dessert. We usually don't do this when we eat out. I do think that Friday's could expand their dessert menu a tad bit, but it was good and a fun time just the same. Oh, and because of our visit, I earned more stripes which earned me another $8 off coupon via email! So go sign up for your Give Me More Stripes card!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wasted Fruit

I seem to be on a "fruit" theme lately, but it's not intentional. I guess it is just something God has laid on my heart recently.

I'm feeling guilty because God has given me something that is beautiful and useful, and I dislike it. (I don't want to use the word "hate", although, that's probably more accurate.) What God has given me is this pretty, unassuming pear tree.

The tree just blossomed this week and is gorgeous. BUT it will only be a matter of time when those white blossoms will start to produce pears. As the summer progresses, the pears will grow and many will fall off the tree as the birds and squirrels begin feasting on them. When they fall to the ground, they get mushy, they smell and what's even worse...they attract bees! This tree is smack dab in the middle of our backyard. There is no avoiding the fallen pears. We have to constantly clean up after this tree just as we clean up after our dog (which is particularly delightful when he has been eating the fallen pears).

My husband and I enjoy vegetable gardening, but in the 9 years that we have lived here, we've never enjoyed this tree. I haven't attempted to can the pears because canning is a mystery to me. It just seems complicated. When we pick the pears, they're hard as a rock. I usually put them in a paper bag to ripen them up. There is also the issue of there being SO MANY pears. Even when we give them away, we still end up with more than we can eat. Thus, I feel as if we're wasting a gift from God.

This has made me ponder what other gifts from God am I wasting and where am I not being fruitful? I am sure there are gifts that I'm just not seeing yet, but I'm also as sure that there are gifts that I am ignoring because I'm choosing to disobey God. For instance, I will be having my yearly review at work today and know that pretty soon I'll be given my contract to sign for next year. I just don't have peace about signing my contract but know that I will because I'm not trusting Him for our finances.

I'm feeling more led to run some kind of women's ministry and to be home full-time, but since I don't have any details in place, I don't feel I can say yes to Him. My "no" is going to cost me fruitfulness. Any gift that He has given me to be fruitful in the aforementioned areas will wither away. Just as in the Parable of the Talents that Jesus told, if I don't use my gifts and talents, God will take them away.

Oh Father God, please help me to be wise and to be obedient to You. Help me to say "yes" rather than "no" to you. Let me use whatever gifts I have received to serve others, faithfully administering Your grace in its various forms. Let me serve with the strength You provide, so that in all things You may be praised. (1 Peter 4:10-11)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Sabbath as a Day of Rest

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work,...
Exodus 20:8-10


Our home dates back to at least the 1860's. Therefore, we have no central air conditioning. We have one window unit downstairs and two upstairs, plus fans and a ceiling fan in the kitchen. All of these do keep our house cool during the summer.

Every spring I go through the same ritual of cleaning all of the fans and the filters of the air conditioners. It is 90 degrees here today, so guess what I've been doing for the past hour and a half? Since it's not even May, I refuse to put on the a/c's, but the fans are going. (Besides, we had an incident with an Easter egg and our downstairs a/c unit. Let's just say we have to get the egg out of there SOON!)

Each Sunday, after we go to church and have lunch, I always have a mile long list of things to get done around the house and/or to prep for Monday's class. Along with this list comes guilt because I know the Lord has commanded us to observe the Sabbath and to take it as a day of rest.

My question for all of my bloggy friends is do you take Sunday as a day of rest or are you running around like I am? If it is a restful day for you, what do you do during the week to prepare and make sure Sunday is a day of rest for you and your family? Please let me know because I want to fix this for myself and my family!!! I appreciate your answers as you all are a blessing to me.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

My Husband is Sweet and I Am Clueless

It is absolutely gorgeous here today! My hubby will be at the baseball fields for most of the day. He called me earlier to check in and suggested that the four of us go out to dinner tonight.

Then he began talking about next Saturday. He said that perhaps we could get someone to take the kids for the afternoon and the two of us could go on a long picnic if it's a nice day. My reply was, "Cooper has a baseball game." Eric is one of the assistant coaches for this team. He said he would tell them he couldn't be there for the game and would get someone else to take Coop to the game. My reply was, "We're going to miss Coop's game?" Eric said yes. I was surprised and confused.

Then Eric went on to say that we could take the few hours for ourselves to talk and reflect. Talk? Reflect? That's when I understood what he was trying to do! Our baby would have been due next Saturday, and he wanted to just spend some alone time with me. He said he doesn't want it to be a sad time for us. Well, at this point, I was almost in tears as we were talking on the phone. I don't know how I won't be in tears during our time together next Saturday.

My dear, sweet husband! I pray that I can keep it together on Saturday for his sake and because I don't exactly like to cry in public! Please pray that this can be a nice time for us and a time of healing for our hearts.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Go Ask Sadie's Giveaway

Sadie over at Go Ask Sadie is offering a generous giveaway. You can go to her blog and enter to win a $50 gift card to either Target or Amazon.com (your choice). There are multiple ways to enter so that you may end up with a total of 7 entries....that's 7 chances to win! Click on the Go Ask Sadie button on my sidebar for your opportunity to be the lucky winner! Hurry...the contest ends at midnight EST on Monday, April 27! Also, check out her other blog, The Perch. Good luck!

Rotten Fruit

Yuck. That's what I think when I see bananas that look like this. They're mushy and their flavor and scent are too strong for me. They also tend to attract little flying gnats. I prefer bananas that still have a hint of green on the peel, are firm when you bite into them and taste fresh. Oh, and sans the bugs.

Do you think God ever looks at us and says to himself, "Yuck"? I believe so. I'm positive there are times when each of us look like (and smell like) this bunch of bananas...brown, bruised, mushy and only attractive to bugs. He would have every reason to cast us aside just as we may be tempted to throw these bananas in the trash (or compost bin).

Although, I do think of something else when I see these rotten bananas: banana bread. How yummy a fresh loaf of banana bread smells and tastes! It is filling and satisfying to one's appetite. And it thrills me that I can make something good out of bad fruit that may otherwise have just gone to waste! I've made something go from yuck to yum and am quite sure other people will want a slice.

I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this. When our lives are out of sorts and we're not in sync with God, we are rotting, stinky fruit. Thankfully for us, God shows us His grace and doesn't toss us away. First, He'll mash us up to get our attention, and then He'll begin adding fresh ingredients to our lives: some sweet sugar to make us more pleasing to the palate; a dash of salt to season us; some flour to make us stand firm in our faith; baking soda to help us rise up to do His work; and an egg and melted butter to keep us from drying out. In doing this, He has made us new and we have gone from yuck to yum. We are now something (someone) others will want. We are once again fragrant and delicious and pleasing to God. Our new selves are a testament to what God can do.

Are you feeling like rotten fruit today? If so, ask God to add some fresh ingredients to your life; to make you into something new and to help you go from yuck to yum.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. John 15:5-6

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:22

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Find the Following Very Disturbing

I just came across an article entitled Recession, Abortion & Vasectomies Link. It really bothers me. Go here to read it for yourself.

How Lovely to be a Woman Commercial

Okay, is it funny or scary that my 11 year old son walks around the house singing the jingle from that Wal-Mart commercial, How Lovely to be a Woman? Hmmmm....

When God Says No

Each morning our staff meets together around a short table meant for preschool children. We sit in small chairs and have a time of devotion, prayer and fellowship. On Monday, the devotion that was read was about how God will sometimes tell us no for our own good.

The author was lamenting over not being able to have a second child. She kept praying for another child, but her womb remained closed. After several years, she came to the conclusion that God was saying no because He knew what was best for her. He knew that her only daughter would require her attention and care which would be compromised if he blessed her with another child. Instead, God blessed this mom by saying no.

This, of course, hit a chord with me in light of my miscarriage. I always felt that I was supposed to have three children, was amazed when I became unexpectedly pregnant at 43, and felt betrayed by God when I lost the baby. I know God has a plan for my life; even the struggles and disappointments are for reasons only known by Him. Sometimes He fills us in on His reasons; other times He won't give us a single clue.

Prior to the reading of this devotion, our staff prayed and I asked for prayer for my oldest son. We had a difficult evening with him on Friday night, and I've decided to talk to our family doctor about it. Depression runs in my family, and I'm seeing signs of it in him. As I sat at that tiny table and listened to this story being read, a light bulb went on in my head. Did God say no about a third child so that I may focus on my first child? If He had said yes, I would be giving birth in about 2 weeks. My attention would be elsewhere and not on my first born. The baby would have been about 4 months old when my oldest son would be starting high school and my youngest son would be starting middle school. Having two kids transitioning to new schools and having an infant could prove to be hard.

In reality, God did give me a third child, but instead of being earth bound, he or she is our little angel baby. I'm anticipating Heaven more than ever now! I'll get to meet Jesus, my brother (who died a year prior to my birth), and my precious little one all at the same time! What a reception I'm going to have! God's no now can mean a celebration of unproportional measure later! He makes good of our suffering and sorrow.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2Corinthians 4:17

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Jury Duty -- NOT!

My day began at 5:15 this morning. I wanted to leave my house by 6:45 to give myself a little over an hour to get to the court house. That's what one of my co-workers said she did and that it took her a good hour to get there. I arrived at 7:15...so much for rush hour traffic! As I sat in my car, I took out my summons and discovered it said I had to report at 8:30 AM....not 8:00! So I sat in my car until 8:00.

I found my way to the correct room in the court house, signed in, got my badge and waited for the video orientation at 9:00. Then I just sat and sat and sat some more. I had a lot of reading material with me along with a few things from work, so I read, worked and even dozed a little.

At 12:15 we were dismissed for lunch until 1:45. I had brought my lunch and would have sat outside if the weather had been nice. Instead, I went back to my car, ate my lunch and called my husband. I returned back to the juror's room at 1:00 and continued to read.

At 2:30 everyone was dismissed! Not one person had been called for anything. Apparently the judges had a few cases they were looking at but wouldn't be ready to pick any juries until tomorrow. Lucky us! So I'm off the hook for at least 3 years! Thank you Father God!

Who Am I? by Casting Crowns



I have jury duty today, so enjoy this video!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day is Tomorrow (and Everyday)

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground -- trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. ....A river watering the garden flowed from Eden....The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. ....Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. ....So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. Genesis 2:8-10, 15, 19, 20

It seems to me that God wants us to take care of this world that He created for us, even if we are only in this world but not of this world. So I've put together a short list of things that you can do to help preserve our planet in order that we may honor God.

1. Compost -- one of our local townships held a free class on composting. All I had to do was call and sign-up for the class. At the end of the evening, each participant was given a free compost bin.

2. Is your child's bedroom overflowing with stuffed animals? Find out which ones he or she will part with, wash it and give it to your favorite dog. If you don't own a dog, find someone who does (maybe even a shelter?). My Otto loves stuffed animals! Sure, eventually it will end up at the dump, but it least you got twice the usage out of it!

3. If you have a child in preschool, find out if the school could use any of the following for crafts: egg cartons, paper towel and toilet paper rolls, empty milk/water jugs, lids to laundry detergent, scrap paper. If you're looking to get rid of toys that are still in good condition and you don't want to bother with a garage sale, ask a preschool if they want the toys.

4. I make rubber bands out of old rubber gloves. I just cut off the ends of the gloves. I can get several rubber bands from each glove.

5. I save the wax paper bag from boxes of cereal. I wash them out and use them whenever I need wax paper for anything. To store them, I wrap them around an empty paper towel roll and secure them with a homemade rubber band.

6. Use vinegar to clean with. I'm one of the odd few who likes the smell of vinegar!

7. Use vinegar as a fabric softener. You can either use it in the washer like regular softener or wet a rag with it and throw it in the dryer. Now this doesn't help with static cling. If you want to use fabric softener, consider wetting a rag with it and throwing it in the dryer rather than adding it to your washing machine. This decreases the use of dryer sheets. If you love dryer sheets, only use half a sheet for each load. Don't forget good old fashioned air drying!

8. When I need to use a cotton ball, I tear it in half and only use one portion. This saves money and trash.

9. Wash those baggies and reuse them!

10. Don't throw out that half a glass of water that your kids left on the table! Use it to water your plants or pour it into the dog or cat's water bowl.

11. Before you buy some gadget, ask yourself how much space will it take to store it and how easy is it to clean? These questions have kept me from purchasing different kitchen items. This is a money saver and keeps things out of the dump.

12. Try to find books you want on sites like BookMooch. Basically, you're trading books with other people, which helps save on paper (and money!). Of course, there are always second hand book stores!

Hope you gleaned at least one new tip here! Happy Earth Day!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Play Ball!

As you can see, we had a gorgeous day for the Opening Ceremonies that kicked off our baseball season! It is the first time in many, many years that we haven't had nasty weather. We did almost have one glitch....the power went out all through town for about a 1/2 hour. My hubby was slightly panicking about that. No power meant no sound system, and worse yet, no snack stand! It came back on in time though. Praise God!


Here's my hubby (below) giving his Opening Day speech. He did great! I was quite impressed considering how much he dislikes having all eyes on him. (Of course, he is in sales for a living, so he has to be used to it by now!) I stayed close by in case he needed any help, but he didn't!


This is the first year that we've had t-ball teams in the league. Here they are waving their hats as they're being recognized during Eric's speech. A few of them are my current and former students. Throughout the entire organization, 550 kids are playing in our league this year! That's the highest number yet. Even if we didn't include the t-ball kids, the numbers are higher than last year.

Easter Monday Pics

The schools here always have Easter Monday off, so our Youth Group planned a trip to an indoor skate park and to Dave & Buster's (kind of like an adult version of Chuck-E-Cheese). My hubby is the one on the right in this intense game of hockey. You probably can't tell, but his tongue is out which means that he is seriously concentrating!





Here's our Sam showing off his stuff at the skate park. Thank you to our friend, Bill, for these cool photos!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Foto Friday





Today's Foto Friday theme (by Mrs. Tracy) is Easter Fun. I have to admit, I didn't get the best pictures this year. I can never seem to get a good pic of my oldest son at Easter or Christmas. These photos are of their Easter egg hunt. My husband reveled in the fact that since the boys are older now, he could make the hunt really tough! In the middle picture, notice the ancient window air conditioner. Eric put an egg there and when Cooper went to grab it, the egg fell into the air conditioner! So now we need to remove the unit from the window and get the egg out. If we don't do it soon, we're going to have a smelly situation on our hands! (By the way, the Snausages in the first pic are for the dog. The Easter Beagle visits our house along with the Easter Bunny!)

One, Two, Three Strikes You're Out!

Tomorrow is opening day for baseball here........and this year my hubby is the president of the league. He has been fretting all week about having to get up and speak in front of all the families tomorrow (t-ball age through 12-year-olds). I asked him if he wanted me to be there or if I would make him more nervous. He wants me there because he may have a few things for me to do. Yeah, like he's probably going to hand the microphone to me! He figures that I had experience speaking in front of large audiences during my preschool director days. Hopefully, I'll just be his gofer.

Baseball has been at the forefront for our family a lot lately. I'd be remiss in not mentioning that our home team, the Phillies, won the World Series, which was fantastic! At the end of the summer we got to go to a very exciting Phillies game in which they went into extra innings and then won. My oldest son is lamenting the death of the Phillies' announcer, Harry Kalas this week. My husband grew up in California for the most part and the Angels was his home team, so last week's death of one of their pitchers was very sad. Oh, I can't forget that my younger son's baseball team won the championship last year after being in last place during the season! Eric and our sons are involved in fantasy baseball leagues, so the three of them are constantly checking their "stats".

And so here we are at the beginning of another season. Cooper has two more years of playing little league. Sam is done and decided not to continue on with his travel baseball team. He was thinking about playing school baseball again this year, but then he broke his thumb skiing and couldn't try out.

I was just thinking today, aren't you glad that God doesn't give us only three strikes and then tells us that we're out? We can swing and keep missing, and God still has compassion and love for us. He knows we're not perfect and doesn't expect a home run every time. This doesn't mean that our strikes don't discourage Him, but He still remains in His heavenly bleachers cheering us on. And He is ever so elated when we make a hit and advance around the bases toward home plate. If it's a grand slam, you know He's on His feet clapping and joyfully celebrating (maybe even giving some high fives)! Each time we cross home plate, we're one run closer to our Heavenly Father and doing His will. If we play for the love of the game and with faith, we'll each be champions of the eternal world series of life. Our trophies will be crowns and our hall of fame will be Heaven.

So, take me out to the ballgame..........I don't care if I never go back!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Red Letters

I finished reading Red Letters: Living a Faith that Bleeds by Tom Davis last week. It was a pretty easy read. In essence it is about being Christ's hands and feet and taking care of the poor, the ill and the fatherless. The author mainly focuses on the HIV crises in Africa, however, he gets the point across that we need to be "Christ" to all who are suffering. This is something that has been on my mind for about the last 6 months. I have been afflicted with depression and anxiety attacks for many years now (for which I have to take medication), and then I had my miscarriage last fall. My older son has a lot of allergies, and my younger son is hearing impaired. My husband and I have always struggled financially. I keep thinking that God wants me to use these trials in my life in order to help others.

I keep asking God what exactly it is that He wants me to do. Should I continue with my job at the preschool? It's a ministry as well and when you work in ministry, either as a volunteer or as an employee, you definitely come in contact with a lot of hurting people. Many parents have lost their jobs and have had to ask for help regarding tuition. We lost one mom to ALS last fall and now have a dad in intensive care with leukemia. We have a mom who recently went to jail and will be there for a least a year. Not to mention the strained relationships that we see due to divorce. Is this where I should stay?

I've mentioned before that I sponsor a boy through Compassion International. I would love to be able to afford to sponsor more children. Does God want me to work with orphans and underprivileged kids? Does He want me to adopt a child?

My neighbor and I have been talking about starting a Moms in Touch group for the middle school and high school here. Is this what God wants me to do? Or should I start some kind of outreach for women who are suffering from depression or anxiety or who have experienced a miscarriage? Should I help guide parents through the early intervention and special education maze? Some parents just have a hard time accepting that their child has a disability and they could use someone to talk to.

Does my own family need more of me? Even though I work, I don't feel like a "working" mom because I'm home when my kids get home from school 99% of the time. I'm home every weekend, get 2 weeks off for Christmas and my summers off. Plus, my workplace is very family friendly and my husband works from home, so I really don't feel that my kids are lacking "parent" time. The funny thing is, I know my oldest son would prefer if I didn't work at all (even though he's at school when I'm at work). My husband would like for me to quit due to how I was treated by a pastor and some elders at this church during the two years I served as the school's director. However, he knows I like working with children and that I've got a pretty good gig where I'm at.

As you can see, I've got plenty to pray about concerning God's will for my life! Honestly, I do feel that God is turning me away from my job. My problem is trusting Him for our finances. Being a teacher at a Christian preschool certainly doesn't pay a lot, but it does help us get by each month. I was asked to work more hours next school year while one of our teachers takes a one year sabbatical, but I politely declined and actually asked to work fewer hours (which made my hubby happy). My boss agreed to this.

Dear friends, please pray for me as I go about seeking God's will. And remember to be seeking His will for yourselves as well. We are here to serve Him, and I know He wants us to do this by serving others. I think being a Godly example to others is more important than preaching AT others. (Oops! Am I preaching here?!) Hopefully you understand what I'm trying to say. I think it's better when people see Christ in us through what we do and how we conduct ourselves rather than if we try to push God and His Word on them in a "holier than thou" manner. We all want to be loved, accepted and understood right where we're at. I just pray that God can show all of us what our hands, feet and hearts can do for others and that He'll give us the right words to share with them as well.

For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me. Matthew 25:42-43

...I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me. Matthew 25:45

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

God is Good in the Small Things

I didn't want to do it. Cook dinner tonight that is. I don't enjoying cooking and detest grocery shopping. Fortunately, my husband loves to do both. To his credit, he does a lot of the cooking. He just has a natural talent for it and who am I to stand in his way?!

On Tuesday and Thursday nights, Eric goes with Cooper to baseball practice. To me there is no point in making a big meal on these two nights. But it has been raining all day and practice was cancelled. So I was faced with making dinner.

I went into the kitchen and turned on the radio. I usually listen to contemporary Christian music. I thought maybe this would put me in a better mood about the task ahead. As I was browning the ground beef, I sent up a prayer asking God to help me enjoy what I was doing. The words were no sooner out of my mouth when one of my favorite songs came on the radio....I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me. It happens to be one of the videos I posted earlier today. I couldn't help but smile, and before I knew it, I was singing loudly with one hand lifted in praise while stirring the meat with my other hand!

You just have to love it when God is there for even the small things!

Music Videos





Happy Tuesday! I'm back to work after a nice long weekend and don't know if I'll get to post today or not. I just love these songs, so thought I'd share them!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Jesus the Healer

I've been trying to read The Passion of Jesus Christ by John Piper. It gives 50 reasons why Jesus came to die. The book is short, but I've had difficulty reading it. To me, it just seems to be saying the same thing and quoting the same Bible verses over and over again. I began skipping around and came to reason #18 which states that "Christ suffered and died to heal us from moral and physical sickness."

This chapter says that Christ suffered and died so that disease would one day be destroyed. Illness was not part of God's original plan for the world. It came to be when sin entered the world and is part of God's judgement on creation. The chapter goes on to state that Jesus healed many people in his lifetime and that this was a preview of what was to come at the end of history. There will be a new earth, and we will have new bodies.

All of this made me think of my younger son. When he was 2 1/2, he was diagnosed as being hard of hearing. He has worn hearing aids ever since. When he was about 7 or 8, he told me that he can't wait to go to Heaven because he'll be able to hear and not have to wear hearing aids anymore. Of course, this broke my heart. I would give anything for Jesus to come back right now so my little boy could be healed. (And to heal my other son who suffers from allergies.)

...Jesus put his fingers into the man's ears. Then he spit and touched the man's tongue. He looked up to heaven and...said to him, "Ephphatha!" (which means, "Be opened!"). At this, the man's ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly. Mark 7:33-35

Just think, one day everything that ails us will be no more! We will be made whole because Christ suffered and died on the cross for us. His death means everlasting life for us...a life without physical suffering. Jesus is our ultimate healer. ...and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

(Go here to read He Said Bird. This is a short essay I wrote about Cooper and posted on FaithWriters.com.)

Kids in Church

This is from an email my husband received. Very cute!

3-year-old Reese : 'Our Father, Who does art in heaven, Harold is His name. Amen.'
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A little boy was overheard praying: 'Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it. I'm having a real good time like I am.'
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After the christening of his baby brother in church, Jason sobbed all the way home in the back seat of the car. His father asked him three times what was wrong. Finally, the boy replied, 'That preacher said he wanted us brought up in a Christian home, and I wanted to stay with you guys.'
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One particular four-year-old prayed, 'And forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets.'
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A Sunday school teacher asked her children as they were on the way to church service, 'And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?' One bright little girl replied, 'Because people are sleeping.'
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A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin 5, and Ryan 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. 'If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, 'Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.' Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, ' Ryan , you be Jesus !'
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A father was at the beach with his children when the four-year-old son ran up to him, grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore where a seagull lay dead in the sand. 'Daddy, what happened to him?' the son asked. 'He died and went to Heaven,' the Dad replied. The boy thought a moment and then said, 'Did God throw him back down?'
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A wife invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said, 'Would you like to say the blessing?' 'I wouldn't know what to say,' the girl replied. 'Just say what you hear Mommy say,' the wife answered. The daughter bowed her head and said, 'Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?'

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He Is Risen!

A blessed Easter to all of my friends in Christ! May you have a wonderful day with your families as you reflect on what this Resurrection Day means for all of us!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

This Hand

If The Truth Be Told....

Mama wants a llama!


....I'd be Mrs. Old MacDonald who had a farm. Or better yet, maybe I should have been Mrs. Noah! I've never actually lived on a farm, but I would definitely like a bit more property so that we could have a few more dogs, some goats and a llama! My hubby isn't too hot on the llama idea. The picture above is from two years ago when a petting zoo visited my school. Instead of bringing a calf, they brought a llama. I was thrilled and had to pose with it just to drive Eric crazy! I should probably add that on my farm there would not be any snakes or anything slithery. If it's not furry and cute, I don't want it. (Yesterday's Foto Friday got me started on this topic!)

On another note, in case anyone was wondering, I didn't fall down the steps or drop my music during last night's Good Friday service! The service was wonderful. I'm not sure how it's done in other churches, but our Pastor has most of the lights turned off by the end of the service and you're not to talk until you walk out of the church building. The way we recessed out was like we were following pallbearers carrying a casket. (They were really carrying a black cloth.) It was very solemn but very appropriate.

After the service, one of the couples from choir had the choir members and their families over to their house for dessert. It was a fun time of fellowship and of reflecting on the service.

This morning I took the boys over to church for the Easter egg hunt. It is pouring here, so we had to have it inside the church. It was still an enjoyable time. Then I stayed to help decorate for tomorrow's service. It was nice to be decorating for a celebration after such a somber service last night.

After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Mark 16:19

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1

Hallelujah He has risen!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Foto Friday

This week's theme is "Four Footed Friends".

This is my rabbit Daffy. I got him for myself for Mother's Day one year. I was told she was a girl named Daffodil and that I should have her spade because female rabbits are prone to cancer. I took her in to have the procedure done and found out HE had to be neutered instead! So I'm still the only female in the house and Daffodil is now Daffy!

Our neighbor's cat, Fuzz, always comes over to visit. Here he has just discovered Sandy the gerbil. Sandy is my classroom pet, and she spent Christmas break at our house.

Our dog Otto meets Patrick my classroom guinea pig. Patrick is spending the Easter break with us.

Foto Friday is sponsored by Tracy over at Our Journey.

Did Mary Cry?

Last night we watched The Passion of the Christ as a family. It has been so long since I first saw it that I forgot it was subtitled. I was afraid that would be a turn off to our boys, but they watched the entire movie.

My oldest son commented several times that he thought Mary should have been crying a lot more than she did in the movie as she watched her son being beaten and put to death. Sam thought the one or two trickles of tears here and there from Mary was unrealistic. I explained to him that first of all, this was Mel Gibson's interpretation of Christ's death, and second of all, Mary knew that Jesus was God's son and that God had a purpose for Him and for all that took place. She may not have liked it, but she probably accepted it.

I quickly looked through the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John this morning to see what was said about Mary in regard to Jesus' death. She obviously was there to witness it. Only in Luke 23:27 does it say "A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him." Did Mary wail for her son? I don't know the answer to this. I think most mothers would assume that she did. I know I would have if it were my child. I can't bear the thought of my sons being treated the way Jesus was.

I don't really know where I'm going with this. I just thought it was interesting that this was on the mind of my son. It makes me think of Mary on this Good Friday. Not only am I mourning for the suffering of my Lord and Savior, but I am mourning for Mary, from one mother to another. I just praise God that this all has a happy ending and that someday we will be with Jesus. I pray that we can all take comfort in this.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

One Last Tidbit

Last night as I was driving home from choir practice, I saw a sign at another church that said, "Body piercing saved my life". How hip and true! (Just for the record, I have no body piercings other than my ears and no tattoos either.)

Well, It's Not Going the Way I Had Planned

So much for coloring Easter eggs with my kids! I was getting things all set up when my older son's friends came to the door. Sam decided to ditch Cooper & I in order to go skateboarding. I didn't want to embarrass him in front of his friends by saying, "Wait! Don't you want to color eggs with us?" I just let him go. Coop was about to start dying his eggs when the phone rang. I know I should have let it go to the machine, but I didn't and was on the phone for the next half hour. So Coop did his eggs on his own. Everything is still sitting out on the table for if and when Sam decides to do his eggs today.

I think I mentioned yesterday that Eric and the boys were going to be gone tomorrow and Saturday. I was looking forward to having about 36 hours to myself. (She says guiltily....NOT!) Well, now that's not happening either. The friends they were going with can't go and the weather isn't looking too hot for fishing and camping out. On the bright side, at least the whole family gets to go to the Good Friday service tomorrow night. Now my sons can laugh at me if I drop my music or fall down the steps while singing with the choir. (I stand at the very edge of the alter where the steps are.)

I guess God must have other plans for us this weekend. As usual, I wish He'd fill me in on what they are. I was planning on watching The Passion of the Christ while they were all away, but perhaps now I can get the entire family to watch it with me. Eric & I saw it in the theater, but the boys were too young to see it back then. I thought it would be a little too graphic for them at the time.

I still have a headache today and again am not feeling too inspirational in my writing. I think I'll just go see what all of you are blogging about today! Maybe some of you are feeling a little more insightful than I am about this precious Easter weekend. I'm feeling Easter in my heart, but my head is not cooperating!

Doing the Happy Dance!

We just made the last payment on our oldest son's braces! Yippee!! We also made the last payment on one of our vehicles in January, so double Yippee!! Of course, I'm sure my younger son will be in braces in another year. But until then........Yahoo!

I'll be back later. The boys are waiting on me to color Easter eggs!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fealing a Little Weary Today

It's Wednesday again, my longest work day of the week. I have a headache and know that I've got a long choir practice ahead of me tonight. The piece we're singing on Good Friday needs a lot of work still and the one for Easter Sunday isn't going much better. It's pretty bad when the melody singing sopranos can't find their part. (I'm one of them!) So I don't have much inspiration to offer today.

Today was my last day of work until Tuesday, so I'm hoping to get some meaningful blogging done during the next few days. I should have some quiet time because my hubby and kids will be gone Friday and Saturday. It will just be me, the dog, the rabbit and my classroom guinea pig (who is visiting for the long weekend).

I have a question. Does anyone have some good reading material that you suggest I read? I've been blessed with jury duty in 2 weeks. I have to go hang out for at least one entire day to see if I get picked for a case. The letter I received said to bring PLENTY of reading material for that day! I love to read, but having to be there from 8 AM until around 4:30 may be a stretch. I figure that I'd better bring a variety of things to read and do. Please leave comments with suggestions for me!

Thank you and have a blessed day!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Big Catch

Here's Eric's big catch of the day! Doesn't he look cold? This is not what I would call fun! He loves it though!

Monday, April 6, 2009

What Easter Means to Me

I just read over at Chatty Kelly that Angela at Becoming Me is asking readers to post about what Easter means to them.

I did not grow up in a Christian home. Going to church was very sporadic, and my dad never went with us. To me, Christmas and Easter only meant gifts, candy, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and maybe a pretty new dress. (I don't have any daughters, so seeing those pretty Easter dresses in the stores every year just kills me!) I didn't really know why we celebrated these holidays. I always believed in God and Jesus but didn't know anything about them.

My husband & I began going to church once our first child was born. We went because I wanted our son to be baptized. To me it just meant that he would end up going to Heaven rather than to Hell if he was baptized. (Now I don't even really believe in infant baptism.) The first few years we went to church it was just to be "good" people and to be sure our kids learned about God and Jesus since neither of us had.

Then things began to really click for me. I joined a MOPS group, ended up on the committee for 2 years and even dared to go to my first Bible study. (I've enjoyed many since!) We sent our oldest son to a Christian preschool. Four years later, I became a teacher at that same school. I've been there 6 years now and even served as the school's Director for 2 of those years.

I'd say it was about 3 years ago that I began to really understand the meaning of Easter. I now enjoy celebrating it more than Christmas and feel a deeper experience regarding it than I do with Christmas. I feel much closer to Christ at this time of the year. He died for me. He loves me. How can I overlook that? I'd rather send out Easter cards than Christmas cards. I believe it's the best time of the year to testify to non-Christians. I think we have to remind people not just that Jesus was born and truly existed, but that he wiped away our sins. He made us new! He is risen and is alive! He is always with us and desires our companionship. He was not just some cute little baby born in a manger but a man that taught much and performed many miracles. He is still teaching us and blessing us with miracles everyday! And He is the ONE who will save us from Satan and from our sins in the end. Jesus is coming back one day, and I can't wait to bow down and worship Him in person! HOSANNA!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

How Great is Our God -- YouTube

God's Smile

This morning in church the choir had to sing so we were all sitting in the choir loft on the alter. I sit right in the front on the end. (Because I can't stand feeling closed in!) One of our families has a little boy who's not quite 1 yet. All during the service he kept looking at me and smiling. I could see his two little bottom front teeth. At one point, he was holding a palm branch out toward me as if to say, "See what I have?" I just felt like God was smiling at me and saying, "I know how you feel and I understand." He knows that my arms are aching to hold our little one who should have been born next month. This just gave me a lot of comfort today. Praise Him!

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.

Psalm 71:20-21 Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.

Psalm 30:5 Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Psalm 22:24 For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

First a Funny and Then Some Musings Based on Beth Moore

Here's a preschool funny (actually, I can't believe the mom shared this with us!). One of our students brought in his dog for show and tell yesterday. She was the cutest, sweetest thing. Apparently, when this little boy was about a year old, the dog had puppies. His mom went away for a weekend and left him home with his dad and siblings. At some point during the weekend, he decided that since Mom wasn't home, he'd nurse from the dog! What's even more amazing is that the dog let him do it!

Okay, on to Romans 18:8. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Well, yesterday I had intended to share some insights I gained while at Bible study. I think I've mentioned previously that our staff is doing Beth Moore's study on Daniel. We're currently in chapter 11.

In the video, Beth began talking about how our calling will cost us something. (Bear with me as I was taking notes on a gum wrapper and then on a paper towel....don't ask!) She went on to say how we are to be living sacrifices and that we may have to sacrifice what we want in order to get what God wants to give us. We live in a Babylonian society and want immediate gratification and tend to be selfish. It comes down to selfishness versus sacrifice. We're takers and not givers. We'll miss our purpose in life if we don't make sacrifices. Basically, you'll find yourself when you lose yourself. ...he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. Mark 8:34, 35.

Beth went on to say that we need to be patient and grow in God slowly or we won't grow at all (no immediate gratification). If we move too quickly, our spiritual gifts won't be given the chance to grow.

All of this made me think about how I've been trying to figure out what I'm supposed to have learned from my miscarriage. I have the feeling that I'm supposed to do something regarding children, but I don't know what and have been begging God for his wisdom and discernment in this area. Perhaps I'm being too impatient. I'm now thinking that God is telling me to GET IN HIS WORD and my calling will be revealed to me.........in HIS timing, not mine.

Now getting into His word on a more consistent basis and really studying it will cost me something........mainly my time. I'll have to sacrifice a few things, such as watching TV, sleeping in, having my house look the way I want it to. I also think God is telling me to reach out to people more. That will mean sacrificing my comfort zone, my alone time and my introvertedness. (Is that even a word? I really dislike talking on the phone! I'm also a homebody who does not like to entertain.)

If I choose not to suffer or make sacrifices now, I'll never know God's full intention or glory for me. I'll have wasted my brief time here on earth, and boy, would that make Satan happy!

Take up your cross ladies and follow Him!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Senseless Act

After a wonderful session of a Beth Moore Bible study this afternoon, I was planning to come home and post about it here. I turned on my computer and was immediately hit with the headlines regarding a mass shooting in New York. At first I assumed it was in NYC, then I saw Binghamton, NY......the place I was born and still have family there. I only lived there until the age of 6, but my oldest sister and her family have always lived there and my parents moved back there when my dad retired.

I turned on the TV and saw all the reports and then called my parents. My sister is a substitute teacher in the school district there, but thankfully she wasn't at the high school next door to where the shootings took place. Her husband works at both hospitals in Binghamton, and I know all available personnel was called in to work due to this incident. He may have a very long day today.

Praise God that this incident didn't involve any of my family members. Please be in prayer for the victims and their families, as well as the family of the shooter.

Foto Friday

Otto and Daddy "Wore Out" from a long Christmas Day 2008!

Tracy over at Our Journey is hosting Foto Friday. Today's theme is "Wore Out". I thought I'd post this picture due to a conversation I had with my husband this week.

Eric is a night owl and NOT a morning person. He's the only person I know who can sleep in the shower. Thankfully, he works from home and can set his own hours. Yesterday our younger son had to be to school by 7:45 for an early morning band practice. I asked Eric to get up because he was going to take Coop to school. His response was, "I'm stretching." I told him he would stretch for a half hour and then go sleep in the shower for another half hour if we let him. It was then that he told me his super power is sleeping. So I told him that my super power is nagging and he had better get up! He should have a cape that says "Super Sleeper" on the back! The funny thing is, Eric used to work part-time at a mattress store called Sleepy's. I told him I assume that's where he went to train and fine tune his amazing super power skills!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Proverbs 13:12

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

The first part of this passage is how I'm feeling today. My baby would have been due one month from today. Signs of spring are all around me, signs of fresh life. I'm saddened that our family will not be blessed with a new little life this spring. I had always wanted a May baby.

Where I work we have a morning devotion and prayer time prior to class starting each day. One of my co-workers is going to be a first time grandma. She was all excited yesterday because her daughter-in-law sent her a text message saying that she had just felt the baby move for the first time. This morning, however, was a different story. They found out yesterday that there is something wrong concerning the placenta. There will be a 2 week wait for the results of some testing. My co-worker is devastated. While our staff was praying this morning, I just started crying. I felt bad about her grandbaby, and I just missed my baby. The ladies I work with are wonderful, and we all rally around each other in times of trouble. I received a lot of good hugs. I didn't hug my co-worker who had the sad news because I think we knew it might have caused us both to fall apart even more. We work together on Tuesdays and Thursdays and needed to keep it together for our students. The same thing happened with us the week I had my miscarriage. Her brother died suddenly that week, and I told her, "I'd give you a hug, but I think we'll both just lose it if I do."

The funny thing, however, is that even though I work with little kids, it doesn't bother me to be around them. Once they come through the door, I can put aside my own sadness, concentrate on their needs, and enjoy them. We even had one of our moms go into labor today and that doesn't bother me. I'm happy for her.

Last night I prayed to God about the second half of the above passage. I really feel there is another child or children out there for me. I don't feel that it is a biological child. (Due to my age, but I know God can do whatever He wants!) I'm just not sure if it's the kids I work with, or the boy I sponsor in Brazil, or even an adopted child. I prayed for the wisdom to know what it is He has planned for me in this area of my life.

I hope no one out there in blog land thinks I'm being selfish and ungrateful since I already have two wonderful children. I just feel as if someone is missing, and I had this feeling even before my last pregnancy. When my oldest son was 6 or 7, he said to me, "Mommy, the next time you have a baby I want to be at the hospital." I told him that I didn't think I'd be having another baby. A moment later he said, "Yes you will because Jesus told me." That comment has always stuck with me and here's the reason why. I had an older brother that was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was 5. One day my mom caught him writing out his will, and she was so upset that she ripped it up. He just looked at her and said, "Don't worry Mommy, you'll have another baby." I was born almost 13 months after he died.

Another thing that has always made me in awe of God is how I used to mention to my husband that for some reason I wanted to learn sign language. But I didn't know anyone who was deaf! Then my second son was born and diagnosed as being hearing impaired when he was 2 1/2. I did have to learn some sign language to use with him as a preschooler. These experiences have taught me to keep my eyes, ears, mind and heart open to God so that I can better understand where He is leading me.

I have rambled on for a good long time today. My boys will be home from school very soon and it will be time for me to be Mom. I pray that each of you have your longings fulfilled!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Just a Few Photos

Otto our crazy dog!

Cooper & Sam at Great Wolf Lodge in January 2009.

Eric relaxing at Great Wolf Lodge.
My two Lovebugs!

Delight Your Children!

I am exhausted today. Wednesday is always my longest day of the week. (Oh dear, I have to work until 2:15 instead of only to 12:15!) I also have choir practice on Wednesday nights.

The theme of my lunchtime class today was "Weird Science". I decided last night that I'd have the kids make slime. What a mess my classroom was by the end of the day! There was cornstarch everywhere! The kids had a blast, however, the mommies weren't too thrilled to see slime coming home with them. I always feel badly for the kids whose parents don't let them do messy projects at home and are less than thrilled to see a messy craft come home. (Such as painting with chocolate pudding. We did that one on Wacky Day last week.) I admit that I don't always say yes to the messy things my kids want to do, but I don't always say no either. Making a mess can be fun and it can be cleaned up. It also makes memories for your kids.

I am challenging all of us to say yes to our kids once in a while even when we want to say no because we may be inconvenienced or left with a mess. Keep in mind how we feel when God gives us a big YES to something we were sure He'd say no to. I am sure it gives Him pleasure to see the delight in our eyes. Wouldn't you like to see that same delight in the eyes of your own children?