Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Last night I finished reading the book It's Not Okay With Me by Janine Maxwell. It took me 3 nights to read. (Not a long book, I'm just a slow reader.) I LOVED IT!!
Janine Maxwell came to a crossroads in her life when she was stuck in New York City on 9/11. She felt that there was something more that God wanted her to do with her life. She ended up selling her successful marketing company in Canada, and eventually, she and her husband were put in charge of Dream for Africa. This was an organization begun by Dr. Bruce Wilkinson (author of Prayer of Jabez). Janine and her husband changed the organization's name to Heart for Africa.
In the book, Janine mentions (I believe several times) the Bible verse James 1:27. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. I have often read this verse since my miscarriage last year. I keep thinking to myself, "Okay God, if I can't have that baby in my arms, let me have my arms around those little ones who need a mother or just need someone to step in and help them." This is what Janine and her family seem to be doing. I'm praying to find a way to contribute to Hope for Africa.
I just had to share this with you because I loved Janine's book and found this video very moving. I pray that this clip tugs at your heart too.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Many of you know that we sponsor a boy in Brazil through Compassion International. I recently signed up for Compassion's What I want for Christmas program. I am committed to finding a sponsor for one child by December 31.The little boy's name is Andres Fuentes Nunez. He is 7 years old and lives in Peru. Andres lives with his mother and 2 siblings. His mother is only employed some of the time.
Sponsoring a child means a financial commitment of $38 per month, plus you get the pleasure of exchanging letters with them. (I just received a letter from our child today!) If you would like more info about Compassion International, please go to http://www.compassion.com/. My boss recently attended an event where the president of Compassion spoke, and she was lucky enough to go on a tour of their Colorado offices. She was very impressed!
I know we are all facing financial hardships right now, but I still wanted to pass along this information in case any of you would be interested in sponsoring Andres or if you might know of someone else who would be interested. Please keep Andres in your prayers and pray that I can find a sponsor for him. If anyone out there is interested, I can mail you the info you need in order to begin your sponsorship. Thank you!
So will I send Christmas cards this year? The jury is still out. As I've furthered my walk with God, I think I see Easter as the more important holiday. (I don't know if "important" is the correct word, but you know what I mean.) Don't get me wrong...I love Christmas!!! (And, unfortunately, some of the trappings that come with it.) I guess I feel Easter is a better time to remind others of what Christ has done for us.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Fast forward several years...I now loathe sending out Christmas cards. They take too much time and too much money. I think I did break down one year and do the newsletter just to save time. And my list has been whittled down to less than 50 recipients. The only point I now see in sending these cards is to remind people of the "reason for the season". Really, I actually prefer sending Easter cards to let people know what Jesus did for us.
I have a friend here who is a fantastic artist. She draws her own cards each year and has them printed. They're wonderful! Everyone wants to be on Wendi's Christmas card list! I received mine the other day, and it was hand delivered! Wendi even writes personal notes in her cards.
So far this Christmas season, I've sent out one card. I had a special reason for sending it. As of this moment, I have know idea if I will be sending cards to anyone else.
What are you doing this year? Traditional Christmas cards? A newsletter? Ecards? Let me know. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts. Perhaps you'll inspire me to mail more than one!
If you're curious about the history of Christmas cards, go here. You can see a picture of the very first one.
If I decide to not send out any cards, please know that I wish you all the blessings of Christmas and a wonderful New Year!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I haven't written a Thankful Thursday post in a while. I've just been too busy! So let's get to it!
- I'm thankful that my family got to spend a splendid long weekend in the Outer Banks for Thanksgiving! It was cold, but sunny. The kids and one brave adult from our group of 16 actually went in the water!
- I'm glad that our friends who went with us for the first time got to see lots of dolphins and horses and were able to go to the lighthouse. (My hubby was the "horse charmer". You only saw horses if you drove up the beach with him!)
- I'm thankful that God (and Andrea) have encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone. I've begun sharing my blogs with some people I actually know in person and have received positive feedback from them!
- I'm grateful to have our home decorated for Christmas. Although, Sam is disappointed because we have no outside lights up this year. Our porch is going to be ripped apart next week, so there is no point in putting up lights.
- I'm thankful that I may be getting 24 hours to myself this weekend while the guys go on a fishing trip! Please pray for safety for them, good weather, and no illnesses. Oh, and lots of fish!
Please join Sonya at Truth 4 the Journey by posting your own Thankful Thursday list!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Since then, I have always lived in a home that had at least 2 bathrooms. Even our townhouse in Virginia had 2 1/2 baths. That ended nine years ago when we moved into our current home. One bathroom. Three "men". And me.
My typical weekday morning goes like this: I get up and hop in the shower. While I'm in the shower, my husband comes in and uses the bathroom. Our bathroom happens to have a front door and a back door. As dear husband goes out the back door into our bedroom, my youngest son knocks on the front door so that he can come in to use the bathroom. I'm still in the shower. No one can flush the toilet while I'm showering because I'll either be scalded or frozen to death.
I finally exit the shower and get dressed. By this time, my oldest son is knocking on the front door so that he can come in and take a shower. While he's getting undressed, I'm at the sink with my back to him to ensure his privacy. As he gets in the shower, I open the back door so that the mirror doesn't fog up while I'm trying to do my make-up. (No fan in our bathroom.) As I'm drying my hair, my younger son comes back in to brush his teeth. I step away from the sink & mirror to let him brush, all the while still drying my hair. He leaves. I'm done drying my hair and my older son is done with his shower. Again, I keep my back to him as he dries off and gets dressed, and I work on fixing my hair just right. Then I have to step out of the bathroom to put on my hairspray because he has lots of allergies. Finally, I'm done.
I go downstairs to eat breakfast, have my coffee and take my vitamins. I then go back upstairs to brush my teeth. Now if my dear hubby has an early meeting to go to, he's in the shower by this time. So I go in the back door, leaving it open to combat the steam, and I brush my teeth.
This whole routine can really annoy me at times. I'm actually embarrassed to tell people that I live in a home with only 1 bathroom. After all, we live in America. The land of plenty! How is it possible that I live in a house with fewer than two bathrooms?
Then one morning last week I began thinking about Paulo, the little boy we sponsor through Compassion International, and about Andres, whom I'm still trying to find a sponsor for. What are their bathrooms like? Do they even have indoor plumbing? Do they have toilet paper and clean towels? How about soap and other toiletries that we consider necessities.
These thoughts were very humbling for me. How dare I complain when I am blessed to have hot water and a toilet in my home? (Even when that toilet doesn't stay very clean because my men have bad aim!) I have a shelf in my linen closet stocked with extra soap, shampoo, hairspray, cotton balls, lotions, etc.
My dear friends, remember to thank our Heavenly Father for your blessings. Especially for those things that you take for granted and that actually may irritate you from time to time. As the saying goes, "What's one man's junk is another man's treasure." Remember those who don't have what you do. Pray for them and be grateful for your "junk".
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
This past Saturday, I got to get up early to go to church choir camp for 2 1/2 hours. We're getting ready for our upcoming Christmas concert and needed the extra practice. Despite the hard work, it was fun. Our director let us go a half hour early, and I was able to get some errands done before going home.
On Sunday, I got to decorate our house for Christmas. What made this task unattractive to me was that I had to dust the downstairs and straighten up a bit first. But I got the cleaning done and am now enjoying my decorated house.
Last week I got to come up with a behavioral incentive chart for my 4-year-old class. I have NEVER had to do this before, but several kids in this class are little stinkers. I have to do something to get them under control. I'm happy to say that they're starting to understand it. Although, at the same time I hate it because I feel like I'm having to bribe them to behave.
As usual, I get to do all of the Christmas shopping for our family. As our sons get older, they are harder to buy for and, of course, their "toys" are more expensive. I did, however, find a cool gift for my mother-in-law. I went to Wal-Mart's website and discovered that I could order a fleece blanket with our pictures on it! You can put up to 30 pictures on the blanket, but I only chose 15. My MIL has not been in good health for several years. She pretty much goes from her bed to the couch and watches the Game Show Network all day. She and my father-in-law live outside of Chicago, so we only get to visit them around once every 2 years. I figure this blanket is something she can use, and she can be reminded of her grandchildren.
If you decide to post your own "I Get To" list on your blog, use Mr. Linky below. Remember, try to find the blessings in your "I Have To's" and turn them into "I Get To's"!
Monday, December 7, 2009
For this first award, I'm supposed to tell you 5 things that I love to do.
- Spend time at the beach, especially the Outer Banks of NC.
- Read and write.
- Work with young children.
- Spend time with my family.
- Play and snuggle with our dog.
The Lemonade Award makes me think of my "I Get To Tuesday" posts. In these posts, I try to find the blessings in unpleasant tasks and events. I turn my "I Have To's" into "I Get To's". In other words, I'm making lemonade out of lemons.
I pray that you all will begin to join me in these posts by posting your own "I Get To Tuesday" list on your blog and then linking to my blog.
Please feel free to take these awards for yourselves! I feel blessed to know each of you through your blogs. Andrea, my dear friend, thank you for passing these awards to me!
Blessings to you all!