Friday, August 22, 2014

A New School Year - 5th and 9th Grade

School has begun this week for our 5th and 9th grader. 

 I usually try to take some back to school photos, but this year I had some resistance.  I finally talked them into it (for memories boys, it's our tradition, it will just take a few minutes). 

We are blessed to be a part of a homeschool co-op.  The boys have a full day of school on Monday...

First day of co-op

  then we work from home Tuesday through Friday.
These boys are delightful and so much fun.  I'm loving them getting older.  Their personalities are so much fun, they help out a lot around the house, and they are becoming great guys! They've had a full and wonderful summer, more on that soon, but were both ready for the school year to start.

The years have flown by:

First Day 2008 - Preschool and 3rd Grade
First Week of School 2009 - Kindergarten and 4th Grade
First Day 2010 - 1st and 5th Grade
New School Year 2011 - 2nd and 6th Grade
Back to School 2012 - 3rd and 7th Grade
Not a back to school post, but has pictures from their first day 2013 - 4th and 8th Grade

Sunday, June 8, 2014

On Suffering

Suffering, trials, disappointment, and troubles.  We all go through them.

Two months ago my expensive iron broke.  I had a small portable iron in the closet. It barely put out enough heat and took forever to iron anything, but I decided to use that for the time being.  Then 2 weeks later my washing machine broke.  I made weekly trips to the laundromat to wash clothes for a month(!) while trying to figure out how to pay for a new one.  We decided to save some money then purchase a new or used one.  Then I was prescribed a medicine that insurance wouldn't cover and cost $204 for a month supply.  I needed the medicine, so there went some of the washing machine money.  Lastly, and the worst, our hot water heater stopped working.  The hot water heater we had replaced a year and a half ago.  It was still under warranty, so we called the company who put it in and it was decided a part broke and would be under warranty, but not the labor.  The part would take 3 to 4 days to come in and the cost would be $180.

We live on one paycheck and have everything we need, but our budget is tight.  I'd love to have a huge savings account and no debt, but sadly we don't have either. So we were trying to figure out how to pay for an iron, a washing machine, costly prescription medicine, and repairs for the hot water heater all in one month.

I started to get a little annoyed.  Why did everything have to hit on the same month? Why does the cost to live seem to rise so much every year? Why do others have so much and we have just enough or sometimes not enough?

I was irritated by our situation, and the heating water on the stove for four people to take baths for 5 to 6 days certainly didn't help me any.

I quoted this scripture to myself:

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
 In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!
 I have overcome the world."  
 John 16:33 NIV

So I prayed for God to send us a check in the mail for $750 to $1,000 to cover the costs and give us some extra for whatever we needed.

And for some reason he didn't answer that prayer.

...for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Matthew 6:8 NIV

I love to read blogs and came across a few blogs that shamed me.  I thought I was going through suffering, but on these blogs I met, dear ladies, sisters in this thing called life, who were really suffering.

I read of the lady who was suffering with cancer and her medicine was causing painful mouth ulcers that made it almost impossible for her to eat.  She has three children, the youngest 3, and wonders how much longer she has to live and if the 3 year old will even remember her.

I read of the stay at home Mom of 5 young children, whose husband decided one day he didn't want to be married to her anymore and took up with her best friend.  She moved back to her hometown and in with her parents and tries to be positive and is working on building a new life for herself and her children, while trying to heal from the betrayal and abandonment from someone who had promised to be with her until death.

I read the blog of a young mother with a 4 year old girl.  The doctors have told her it will be impossible for her to have any more children.  All she ever wanted to be was a Mom, with lots of children.  She is trying to be positive and enjoy the blessing of her daughter, while dealing with the grief and reality that this will be it for her and her husband.

What surprised me about each of these ladies is that they are not living in despair, not mad at God, and in fact are even thriving in their suffering.

"Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." 
Nehemiah 8:10

During this time, I picked up from by bookshelf, one of my favorite books, Some Wildflower in My Heart by Jamie Langston Turner.  It had been probably 8 years since I had read it.  It's such a well written book and really dives in to suffering and how we have a choice, to let bitterness overtake us or to choose joy and believe that all the suffering and trials we go through are apart of our journey and that God will redeem all of it.  That things that happen to us are not tragic, not disastrous, not calamitous, but somehow beneficial.  I read this book and oh, how it was just what I needed to read! 

One of the characters in the books says she has, "no way to decipher the meaning and the purpose of suffering, but that its imprint upon the scroll of mankind is foreordained".  That we cannot understand it, nor do we need to.  That we have to reconcile that God is good and he allows, and even demands suffering.
So here's how my small trials worked out.  I used a Kohl's 30% off coupon and got a great deal on a new iron.  Our hot water finally got fixed and the company gave us a discount off our bill.  It was decided that I would only need the medicine for one month.  And then my dear father-in-law called us up and said he wanted to purchase a new washing machine for us.

I know my trials were small, but to us they were big.  I have so much to be thankful for.  

I know no one is exempt from trials. I still wonder why dear people, like my parents, have to suffer or had to in the past. My parents are positive, God loving, and such giving people.  They are also filled with joy.

All I know to do is this:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

Here's to living a life filled with joy, fully trusting God in the pain and in the triumphs! 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Reason to Blog

Some things I know:

God is the Creator.
Jesus is His Son.
Jesus died on the cross for my sins.
The Holy Spirit is my helper.
God cares about me.
He provides for me.
He has a good and perfect plan for my life.
He listens to my prayers.
Prayer can change things.
God is good.

I read this verse today and loved it and it spoke to me about blogging.

"Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does."
  I Chronicles 16:24

I can publish his glorious deeds among the nations through my blog.  I can tell everyone who reads my blog about the amazing things He does.  I completely and totally love this!

More coming soon....

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Somehow I blinked and its March.  Every March is so busy for us, but this one is gearing up to be even more so.

Caleb's attending a youth retreat this weekend and then Monday is his 14th birthday.

 14, you guys.  Or for you Southerners, 14, y'all!

(Tangent alert- living in Texas, I receive emails and see on facebook posts people using the word y'all.  For example: "Thanks y'all for the birthday wishes", or "Y'all, I just can't take the cuteness of these children", or "Y'all are the best."  I'm slowly finding myself wanting to use the word y'all too.  But I will stay strong and stick with you guys or you all. End of tangent.)

Caleb's intelligent, brave, unique, kind, and loving.  He also likes his own way, wants to share his opinion a lot, and stubborn.  (Hmmm, maybe like me?)

Next in March is our wedding anniversary.  18 years y'all, I mean you guys!  We'll try to have a date night to celebrate.  So glad that he picked me and I picked him.

Our anniversary will be followed by a Spring Break trip to my parent's house for a mini cousin camp.  The cousins have so much fun together and I just love being around my family.
Then we have this wild boys birthday.  He'll be 10 and our family will be out of single digits.

Watch out world for this boy.  He keeps us on our toes, always makes us laugh, and is a bit of a fireball.

 Then Big A turns the big 4-0.  He's a wonderful dad, husband, and provider.  He's also so kind.  I'm so thankful for him!

Plus, we have a mini family vacation scheduled this month.  I so love March with all of the birthdays and celebrations.  But it can get a little crazy.  I'm going to take it one day at a time and fully enjoy this month.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real


Finding beauty in winter.


Learning all the tricks for multiplication.  He's almost there!

My new arrangement.  All items were either gifts or thrift store/ garage sale finds that I took from other parts of the house.  It's a perfect place to put some of my finds that I like but never before really knew what to do with.  Next, I want to add a chalkboard above the table.

He's become such a reader.  Over the last two weeks he's been reading through The Name of This Book is a Secret series.  He loved all of the books and while he was reading he kept stopping to tell me something he had read.


Boys are brave and funny.  First, he reached his hand into this deep, dark hole in this tree.  I might have screamed from fright. 

Next, he jumped a ditch and made it across, but one foot landed in soft mud.  I wasn't laughing about it when it happened, but am now.  I wish I was the kind of Mom who would laugh and say no big deal!

Luke all bundled up.  Poor Captain really wishes we would let him get on the couch. 


I was excited to try a new recipe - one block cream cheese, refrigerated tortellini, two cans diced tomatoes, two cups fresh spinach, and spices and place in the crockpot for four hours.  It smelled good, but seemed to be missing something and the tortellini was overcooked.  Not my favorite.  I may try this recipe next time and add sausage and wait and put the tortellini in during the last hour of cooking.

I'm linking to pretty, happy, funny, real at Like Mother, Like Daughter.

round button chicken

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

On Perfection (and a visit to the prayer walking path)

Not long ago I had a bad few days.  Maybe it was the winter blues.  Or maybe it was just my broken, sinful self.

You see I like perfection.  And I want perfection in my life.  I want a perfect marriage, a perfect home, perfect sons, a perfect dog, a perfect credit score and an overflowing back account to go with it, perfect relationships with my family and friends, perfect results from anything I put my hands to, and perfect people skills.

Well, as you already know, because I'm human and so are you, I do not see perfection in any area of my life.  In fact in some areas of my life, I am far, far away from perfection.  And I let that bother me.

Sadly I let discontentment set in.  And being discontent is the pits.  I know how incredibly blessed I am.  I know that I am rich compared to most of the rest of the world.  I know I have freedoms others only dream of.  I know my house is perfectly lovely.  I know there are people who wish they had a home and food for their children.  I know some people ache and wish and desire with all their heart to have a family.  I know all of that and still I let discontentment grow in my heart.

I looked around my house and only noticed cracks in the wall, painting that needed to be done, flooring that needed replaced, furniture that was worn, and curtains that had seen better days.

I thought of all the things in my life that I want to do that seem impossible.  I told myself that life will never change, and that those passions and dreams that I know God put in my heart, needed to be given up and forgotten and that they would never come to pass.

I thought of the things I want to do, even good things to help people, that take an abundance of money that I don't have.

I thought of some of the flawed relationships I have.  And how for some of those relationships I had messed up and things would never be quite right.

I even told myself that I had no talent, no gift, nothing special to give to the world.

Yes, the winter blues.  Or an attack from the evil one.

My friend came over to pick her son up and we sat in the backyard for a little bit visiting.  I thought of all the things that needed refreshing in the backyard, and the rotting wood, and the neighbors junk pile that's visible from our backyard.  She gushed about the trees, the chimenea, the sitting area, and how nice the backyard was.  She noticed only the wonderful things about my backyard and not the imperfections.

I read some blogs and noticed their professional layout, their beautiful photography, their clever posts, and felt that my blog was lacking and what I had to say was less and what was the point of it all.

Thankfully, God slowly begin to work on my "stinking thinking".  (By the way I think my Dad used that phrase in one of his sermons.)  Something clicked in me.  I'm throwing off that yoke of perfection.  I'm done with comparing myself to others.  I'm finding beauty in the broken and flawed.  I'm repenting of making life all about me and my pride and my comfort.  I'm praying for a humble heart. I'm believing that everything will be made beautiful in its time (Ecclessiastes 3:11).  I'm remembering that he who began a good work in me will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6).  I'm holding on to the promise that all things work together for good to them that love God (Romans 8:28).

"People throw away what they could have by insisting on perfection, which they cannot have, and looking for it where they will never find it." Edith Schaeffer

"Were I to await perfection, my book would never be finished." Chinese Proverb

 God's will for my life may be a life filled with imperfection.  Yet He will use all the imperfections in my life for something good.

 I Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

John 10:20
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

So I'm embracing all the imperfection in my life.  I'm going to continue to dream.  And I'm going to put my hand to the plow and work on my blog, my life, my home, and my relationships and NEVER expect perfection.  I will not compare myself to others.  I will be content with my life.  I'm giving everything I am and hope to be to God.  I'm not alone.  I'm not abandoned.  I totally and completely trust that He holds me in His hands.    And I'm excitedly expectant to see what God will do with my imperfection.

Pictures taken at my new favorite place - a meditation/ prayer walking track at a local church.  It's open to the public and tucked away in a neighborhood and I love it.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Thanksgiving 2013

I know, I know...Thanksgiving was a long time ago.  I kept meaning to blog about our Thanksgiving, but it somehow slipped through the cracks.  I took so many pictures and we had the best time and somehow if I don't blog about it I won't remember the details. 

For our Thanksgiving we traveled to my parents house in the Dallas area, and had the best time with my parents, my siblings and their families.  I love, love my family, but we just do not get to see them enough.  Sometimes my heart hurts when I think of my family and how far away I am from them. 

On to the pictures....

My Mom is a superb cook, and she makes the best turkey too.  Needless to say we feasted and it was all so delicious.

Yes, this picture about sums up my brothers. Love them!

Then the real fun happened for the gaggle of guys.  Three dads and six boys began an epic football game.  Dads vs. Boys. 3 against 6.

Then on Friday, my parents planned a special night for all of us.

We began the evening at IN-N-OUT Burger.  We may have taken over the restaurant.

Then we journeyed downtown to the Dallas Theater Center to see A Christmas Carol.

And oh my word, this was the most spectacular performance.  The acting was incredible, there was superb singing, a flying ghost, and I just can't even explain everything that made it so good. The retelling of this classic story was so well done.  And the story just gets me every time.  It always brings me to tears.

  All the cousins loved it too!

Oh how I love my beautiful nieces.  They are delightful and such a joy to be with.  Again, my heart hurts I miss them so much!

 My parents treated all of us to dinner and a night at the theater in downtown Dallas.  Um yes, I do know that I have wonderful, generous parents.

On Saturday, more football was played and my Dad grilled for us.  The weather was beautiful and we ate out on the deck. 

On Sunday we sadly headed home, back to our real life.  Thank you Mom and Dad for a memorable Thanksgiving.  And sorry Dad that we ate all of your candy and sorry Mom for cluttering your kitchen with our shoes. :)