Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

No big party. No noise makers. No loud firecrackers. We spent a nice, quiet evening here at home with Paul's sister and family. They drove in from Brenham for a few hours and as always, had a very good time visiting! When I think of Christ on Earth, I think of this dear, precious family. One time my kids and I were talking about the rapture, and what Heaven will be like. We were talking about how there would be no more sin, and how nice it will be when there's no more selfishness, arguing, anger, etc. and Jamie looks up at me and says, "You know Mom, I don't think Aunt GiGi's going to change very much!" I know she's human, as are Greg and the kids, but I couldn't help but agree with her. Christ is very evident in their lives, and I am thankful for the example they set before us. Greg and Angie, we love you guys!!!!

After they left, I began to fill out my calendar for the upcoming year. I couldn't help but think about the future, and what it will hold. As I would write in a square, I would try to picture that day in my mind, wondering about what would be happening on that particular day.

I like to keep my old calendars from years past, because that's where I keep track of birthday's, anniversaries, special events, etc. and I can go back through them and reminisce. Sometimes it's fun to relive the memories, but sometimes it can be equally as painful.

No matter what lies ahead, these are a few of my goals for 2009:

*That we as a family, and I personally, will grow in grace.

*I pray that we will throw off everything that hinders, not getting distracted by busyness or grow complacent, but will run the race with perseverance.

*I want to learn to hear Jesus' voice more clearly.

*To learn how to slow down and thoroughly enjoy each and every moment with my children, friends and family. Not just make it through another day, but to really live.

*Grow in self-discipline...whether in my eating and exercise habits, or in my Bible reading, and prayer time. I think every area of my life could use an extra dose of this medicine.

*I want to understand more of God's unconditional love for me, and allow it to change me. To love Him in return with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. And for my children to see Him making a difference in my life.

*To read through the Bible (in its entirety) as a family.

I know this isn't a complete list, but those were the main issues on my heart. I can always go back and add more.

"Lord Jesus, Thank You that You desire to have a relationship with us. Thank You that we can come to You anytime-but help us not only to make our requests known to You, but to also listen to Yours as well. I ask that this year, You would remove any and all distractions and obstacles that may be keeping us from hearing Your voice. Please quiet and still our hearts and minds. Lord, I ask that You would do whatever it takes to continually turn our hearts toward You, giving us an ever-growing, never-ending hunger for You and Your Word. Give us the ears to hear You, the wisdom to listen and the courage to obey. Please bind our minds to Your mind, our thoughts to Your thoughts, our will to Your will, our hearts to Your heart, and our lives to Your purposes. Thank You for being a God of compassion and mercy, and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. There is no one else like You!"

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My God is so BIG, so STRONG and so MIGHTY, there's nothing that He cannot do...for YOU!

That's part of song we used to sing at church camp, and it came to mind when I sat down to write this.

Jamie may not look like me, but there are some things we have in common-one of them being her love of her birthday, Christmas, or any occasion where gift giving is involved, really.

In fact, she starts planning months in advance for her birthday party (she's been at it a good month or more, while her birthday isn't until May), and is already talking and dreaming of the gifts she'd like to receive. This of course has spurred some heart-to-heart talks on being content with what God has blessed us with, being grateful for what we already have, etc. because she can get carried away, and puts the focus solely on herself. Not good!

Her wish-list has items that range from a few cents (candy), to $1,000+ dollars (laptop computer), with most things somewhere in the middle of the two extremes (clothes, CD's, cell phone, books, etc.).

After learning that her cousin was given a Nintendo DS for Christmas (a MAJOR item on her wish-list, but mean Mom & Dad won't buy her one), she quickly decided that she was through asking for the smaller (and cheaper) items, and instead would be exchanging it for her bigger (and more expensive) ones. She devised a plan where she wants to give short lists (1-3 items each) to the ones who typically buy for her, but she's only going to ask for the things she REALLY wants, but never really put on her list before because she figured she wouldn't get them.

Trust me when I say she is not always quite so self-centered, but even in the midst of her "Gimme Rampage" a couple of days ago, God showed me something...

How many times do we only put "nickel & dime" prayer requests on our wish-list, and then hand them over to God? Always trying to play it safe, assuming He won't grant us our bigger requests?

I believe I've mentioned this in a previous post, that I'm currently reading a book by Beth Moore called, "Believing God." This book is really good!! One thing she says in there is that we normally believe little because we see little, so in turn we see little, thus continuing to believe little. My favorite quote so far says, "We must cease to accept the visible as the possible, and start believing what God says over what man sees."

Isn't that GOOD?? I love it!!

Our God is the creator of the universe, the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings, the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills, the giver of all good gifts...and yet all we do is believe Him for...candy??

What sense does that make?

Take God out of your pocket.

"My God is so BIG, so STRONG, and so MIGHTY, there's nothing that He cannot do! My God is so BIG, so STRONG, and so MIGHTY, there's nothing that He cannot do! The mountains are His, the rivers are His, the stars are His handy work too! My God is so BIG, so STRONG, and so MIGHTY, there's nothing that He cannot do...for YOU!"

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Then, Christmas Now

The picture above is the scene we woke up to on Christmas morning 2004. It truly was a miracle!! We received well over a foot of snow! What made it even more miraculous is that we (meaning South Texas)were the ONLY place in the ENTIRE United States that got snow!! We live out in the country with only one neighbor, and a pasture on our left, and 29 acres behind us, a state park across the street, and another campground on the other side of our neighbor's it was like one huge snow blanket all around us!!!! I still have a hard time believing it, even when I look at the pictures now.

This however, is the scene we woke up to this morning, Christmas Day 2008. Not quite the same. :) We're expecting a high of around 75 degrees, last I heard. Only in South Texas can you go from a high of 46 degrees one day, and a high of 79 the next. It's crazy I tell you! Just crazy.

Merry CHRISTmas!!!

With Paul at our church's Christmas Eve service, Jamie in the shower, and my 2 sick boys sleeping, it's pretty quiet around the house.

I've been thinking about my favorite Christmas back in 2005. We invited a very dear friend over to spend Christmas morning with us, and it's one I will never forget!! She came dressed in her pajamas, and of course we were all in ours as well. We were all so excited to give her her gifts, knowing she had no idea what she was in for! She didn't know she was getting anything, but thought she was just coming to eat breakfast with us. We all drew numbers after we ate to see who would go first opening their gifts, so the fun wouldn't be over in less than 5 seconds with all the kid's ripping and tearing into the packages. ;)

I don't remember what number Jacque had, but I remember the look on her face as she began opening her gifts. She was truly overwhelmed, and didn't know what to say. It wasn't because we bought her some extravagant, expensive gifts, but it was because we loved Jacque, so we knew what she needed and what she liked...we hand picked the specific gifts she had mentioned wanting but could never afford herself and didn't have any family to buy for her either. She has the most horrendous, painful past I've ever personally heard! Paul, the kids' and I loved her, and she was really part of our family!

I love, love, love buying for someone who cannot repay me! I honestly get no greater joy than giving when I know I cannot "get" in return.

And it just made me wonder...when God sent His one and only Son Jesus to this earth as a gift to us, did He receive that same joy knowing we could never repay Him?? Surely He didn't just say, "Look. We don't have any other choice. If you want 'em, then you're gonna have to go down there and get 'em yourself." I think He was ecstatic and thrilled that He got to give us that special, hand-picked gift that we would treasure forever. I'm sure Jacque doesn't have many, if any, of her gifts left, but unlike her coffee pot or whatever else we may have given her that may be broken or forgotten, Jesus will be around for eternity.

Enjoy your Christmas present found in Jesus! I pray you too will be overwhelmed by His love and grace in the coming year.

Yet Another Prayer Request

It appears my children (or 2 out of 3) are getting sick! Ericson complained of being nauseated and dizzy yesterday, but nothing ever came of it. This morning, Noah woke up with at least 103...we didn't get to finish taking his temp. because he felt he needed to throw up, and on the way to the bathroom, fell headfirst into the wall and now has a nice bruise on his forehead (but no vomiting so far-thankfully)! He's now wrapped in a blanket lying in the living room floor, and Ericson is stretched out on the couch...still feeling dizzy. So far, Jamie seems to be okay.

Please pray they'll get to feeling better...we certainly don't want to miss out on our Christmas plans tomorrow!!!! :(

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Prayer Request

I received a phone call earlier this morning from a good friend of ours named Rose Bednarczyk. They just found out her husband Larry has cancer. She is understandably quite upset...she just cried...couldn't do much talking. My heart breaks for them, but not just because of Larry. This is their second blow in just over a month. You see, on November 16th, just 5 short weeks ago, Larry & Rose lost their oldest son, Jim to cancer.

Paul and I met Rose exactly 10 years ago when we moved back to the area, and Parkway Church was within driving distance again. She worked in the baby nursery and took care of Jamie from the time she was 7 months old. I had just found out I was pregnant with Ericson, and so when he was born, he also was under Rose's care. She then quit Parkway to focus on running her own in-home day care. My children spent 2 mornings a week over there when my sister Sara, brother Mark, and I decided to take an Aerobics class together at Victoria niece Ashton and Ericson were 5 months old and we were trying to lose our baby weight. :) We just thought it would be fun to have Mark in there with us...and we did indeed have a great time! They also spent a weekend or two with Rose & Larry when Paul and I needed some time away and went out of town. We attended Rose's surprise 60th birthday party, etc. They truly treated us like family, and we loved them dearly!!

A couple of years ago, they moved to Temple so they would be closer to all three of their kids and grandkids. We would stay in touch through an occasional phone call & yearly Christmas cards. About 1 1/2 years ago, she called and asked me to pray for Jim because he had just been diagnosed with cancer. I tried calling to check on him a few times, but their phone had been disconnected. Then back in July, Paul and I took the kid's camping at Bastrop State Park. We had gone on a short hike and stopped to let the kid's play at the playground when we noticed a teenager sitting on the swings with a Howell T-shirt on. I didn't recognize him, so I didn't give it a second thought. A few minutes later, I noticed the little boy sitting next to him, and he was wearing a Victoria YMCA shirt. I looked at him a little closer, and it hit me! It was one of Rose's grandson's! I was so excited, because if his parent's were near by, I could get Rose's new phone number! I sent Noah over to see if his name was Caleb, and sure enough, it was! He even pointed to a picnic table a little ways behind where we were sitting, and there sat Rose!!!! I high-tailed it over there and she was equally excited to see us again! It was so neat to find them there!

Needless to say, they are very near and dear to our hearts, and we would appreciate your prayers on their behalf.

If you would like to see some pictures of this beautiful family, you can go to: and type in "Jim Bednarczyk" in the search box. There is a 3 part video on there that they played at Jim's service. There's also pictures of Rose & Larry, and the rest of the clan.

Thanks for your prayers!!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Connect the Dots...

I'm going to ask your forgiveness in advance, because this blog is quite long and skips around quite a bit...hence the title of "Connect the Dots." Do try to follow along to the best of your ability and I'll do my best to bring it full circle and tie up any loose ends when I'm done. :)

Yesterday when Jamie got home from school, I was in the kitchen cooking. I asked her how her day was, and she just kind of fell into my arms with a sad look on her face. I asked her what happened, and apparently, a teacher had gotten upset with her for not getting far enough along in her school work to suit her during Science class. We talked a few minutes and then she walked away. I honestly don't remember how much time had passed, but a little while later I went looking for Jamie, and couldn't find her. I looked everywhere in the house, glanced outside, etc. No Jamie. I began to get worried, and I called her name once more as I stepped out into the garage. She responded, but I couldn't tell where her voice was coming from. I went outside and found her sitting on this bench, facing the back of our property. You can't see it from the house, due to the pump house, and kid's swing set. I walked out to her and sat down to visit. Unfortunately, she has my tendency to clam up when something's bothering her. Well, that used to be my tendency when I was longer. :) I asked her a few questions, but most of the feedback I received was in the form of shrugged shoulders, and then falling into my arms again. She claimed she wasn't upset specifically about the teacher situation, but was just overall sad in general (I'm beginning to blame most of these mood swings on pre-adolesent hormones to tell you the truth).

A while back, I was kind of musing to myself and questioned if God really wanted us to talk to Him, or if he just expected us to because that's what Christians are "supposed" to do, but He didn't really care one way or another. Don't ask me why my mind went there, but it did. I got my answer loud and clear yesterday on that bench! I was wanting so desperately to help Jamie with her problem, and longed for her to open up to me, but she refused. She just sat there shrugging her shoulders, keeping her lips sealed. I cannot explain to you what I was feeling at that moment. It was the most intense, anxious, yearning I have ever felt. I was begging her to talk to me!!!!! And at that moment, God opened my heart and dropped this in...He said, "This is how much I want you to talk to me! Yes, I care! Yes, I listen. I long for you to open up to me and just talk!" (Don't you just love how our relationship with our kids mirrors us and our relationship with our God, our Heavenly Parent?) I was quite frankly shocked at the clarity of His message, excited that He truly does care...and yet felt slightly guilty too for not spending as much time with Him as I would like. After that little exchange, we didn't do much talking, but rather just sat together, watching the birds, feeling the breeze, and enjoying the silence.

You may think this is silly, but one of my favorite things in nature to watch are these flocks of small birds...not sure what they are. But when they're flying, they look to me like pepper being blown in the wind. I think they're neat to watch! I've never mentioned that to anyone...I've just kept this fascination to myself. At one point, a small group of them flew overhead, but Jamie was looking the other direction, so she missed out on it. I wanted her to see them, so I silently asked for God to make them turn back around so she could enjoy them with me. He said no, and they continued to fly until they were out of sight. A few seconds later though, out of nowhere, came MASSES of these small feathered creatures flying overhead...thousands upon thousands-no lie! They went on as far as the eye could see...from behind us, flying over the roof of our house, across our 29 acres, and beyond! It was like the Energizer Bunny in Bird form...they just kept going and going and going...I have never seen so many at once! I was thrilled!!! They were swerving to the right, darting down, soaring back up...they put on quite a show! While we were watching this production, I told Jamie about my love of watching these birds, and it reminded me of this book I'm reading by Beth Moore called, "Believing God." She says that when you're earnestly praying for a miracle, and you don't get it, it's because ultimately God has a bigger YES in mind. Even in the little things (like watching birds fly), He wants to demonstrate His love to us...if only we'll believe and trust Him.

Then today, Paul and I took the kid's to Victoria so Paul could finish up some secret Christmas shopping for the kids (I'm not even allowed to know what he bought them!?). We took both vehicles so after he bought my gifts, I could take the kids and he could go on his secret escapade. While he shopped, the kid's and I decided to drop by a friend of ours house that we haven't seen in quite some time! Her real name is Nicole, but the kid's all refer to her as CoCo. We used to hang out all the time when the kid's were younger, but now she has a full time job, and for me, life with 3 kids just gets busy! It was so good visiting with her, even for just a few minutes. It truly felt as if we just picked back up where we left off! I didn't realize how much I had missed her until after I left. I was thinking, "Why do I wait so long between visits? Whether it's by phone, e-mail or dropping in on her (or anyone for that matter)." It was refreshing just to be in the presence of a true friend.

Is this making any sense to you? Do you see how all these stories tie together? God longs for us to have a relationship with Him! Not one out of obligation or duty, but because He loves us!!! I know we're all busy, especially at this time of year, but whatever you decide to cut out of your schedule, don't let it be your time spent with Him! He is the ONLY thing that will ever truly satisfy the longings in your heart. Let Him. He wants you to believe Him and to trust Him. He will not let you down!

"My heart says of you, "Seek His face!" Your face Lord, I will seek." Psalm 27:8

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

"You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing." Psalm 145:16

Monday, December 15, 2008

It Runs In The Family...

MAL-A-DY [mal-uh-dee] –noun, plural -dies. 1. any disorder or disease of the body, esp. one that is chronic or deepseated.

In case you haven't heard, there is a common disorder that affects the entire human race, but not many people are even aware that it exists. It appears to be handed down from generation to generation...and our family suffers from it pretty severely at times. I'm not quite sure of the proper, scientific term, but it's commonly referred to in our home as, "Hearing Dyslexia."

For some reason, it seems to strike my immediate family more often than not when we're listening to music. Let me give you some of my funnier examples:

Toby Keith's first single was "I Should Have Been a Cowboy." The first verse is referring to my brother Clay's favorite TV show when we were growing up, "Gun Smoke." I personally HATED that show!!! Here's how it goes:

"I bet you've never heard ole Marshall Dillion say
Miss Kitty have you ever thought of running away
Settling down will you marry me
If I asked you twice and begged you pretty please
She'd of said Yes in a New York minute
They never tied the knot
His heart wasn't in it
He stole a kiss as he road away
He never hung his hat up at Kitty's place."

Instead of "Marshall Dillion" I heard..."Barstool Dillion" and heartily sang it that way...probably for months-until Clay corrected me.

Another song was Bryan White's "Rebecca Lynn." The verse I got confused with says,

"High school days,
me and Becky learnin'
What it really means to be in love.
Give and take, holdin' back for heaven's sake
Fightin' for a week, then makin'up."

No lie, "Fightin' for a week, then" sounded to me like..."Fighting for a Wheat Thin, makin' up." It made absoultely NO sense to me, but hey! I didn't write the song...I just sang it...until once again, Clay corrected me. That's what big brothers are for, right?

Go on, you know you want to laugh at that one. My brother Clay did...a lot! My sister just says I'm blonde. :)

Unfortunately, my children have also been afflicted with this malady. Here are a few of their examples:

J (while singing the Christmas Carol, "Ring the Bells" off a very upbeat Kid's Christmas CD), asked me what "Ringle Bells" were. :)

E (while listening to Billy Gillman's "The Snake Song") was singing along with these lyrics...

"He swallered a frog and hollered yum-yum
He slid down the hillside and darted his tongue
He entered the garden on this bright moonlight night
Then he stopped in his tracks, it was love at first sight
(he said) My skin is black, your skin is green
You dwell in a garden, I live by a stream
Although I'm short and stocky and you're long and lean
I've got a crush on you
Then he squeezed her tighter and tighter and tighter"

and asked me what a "todder" was. I told him I had never heard of that word, and asked where he heard it. He then proceeded to sing that part of the song to me (he held her todder), and I lost it! He innocently thought it was part of our anatomy. :)

N, last but certainly not least was singing the song, "I Love Rock & Roll" and instead of, "I love Rock & Roll! Put another dime in the jukebox,Baby!" was singing, "I love Rock & Roll! Put another dime in the shoebox, Baby!"

What can I say? It runs in the family...We're sick.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Well, Lookie Here!

Look what I found...makes you want one, doesn't it? Admit it. You know you do. Or you should. If you've never had one, you don't know what you're missin'! :)

Click Your Heels Together & Repeat After Me...

"There is no place like Uncle Mutts! There is no place like Uncle Mutts! There is no place like Uncle Mutts!"

For those of you who don't live in Victoria (or near enough to drive over for a visit), you're missing out on some of the best BBQ! I just happened to be in town today finishing up my Christmas shopping, and I called my sister to ask her opinion on our mom's Christmas present. She informed me that her family was at Uncle Mutt's eating, so she's really the one to blame for my gluttony. :) HA!

The menu of choice today was: BBQ on a bun, fried corn, and a Root Beer! Mmmmmm!!!! I would have taken pictures for you to drool over, but unfortunately, I left my beloved camera here at home.

Well, that's it for today...sorry to disappoint you readers who have come to expect a moral in my stories or who thought there was going to be some depth or point to my blog...sometimes I'm just shallow like that. :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sometimes It's Hard to be a Duck!

A few years ago, the kid's went through this phase where everything they were doing was getting on each other's nerves, which then lead to them feeling the need to tattle. It was driving me crazy!! This word picture came to mind, and this is what I told them...

"What happens when you put a sponge in the water? It soaks it up and holds it inside, doesn't it? Not everything is like that though. Did you know that God made ducks in a way that when they get in the water, the water doesn't soak into their body's, but it rolls right off of them. Pretty neat, huh?"

I then proceeded to tell them they had a choice. If one of their siblings was doing something that was bothering them, but wasn't a sin, they could act like a sponge-soaking it up and holding it in, or start acting like a duck...letting it roll off their backs. Even to this day if they're arguing or tattling, sometimes all I have to ask is, "Are you being a sponge or a duck?" :)

Well, everyone gets a chance to practice what they preach, right? Yesterday was one of my many opportunities!

Paul and I take turns going on dates with each of our kid's to give them some one-on-one attention...and last night was Noah's turn. He wanted to go to Wal-Mart for a couple of reasons. 1. He knew he could get a treat (around $3) and 2. He wanted to buy a small gift for Christmas for his brother and sister. While Noah may struggle with reading, he has math down!!!! He can add, multiply, count change, etc. in a heartbeat...sometimes much faster than Jamie, Ericson, or even Paul and myself! It's kind of funny to watch. Anyhow! He had been busy calculating, adding, exchanging what was in his hand for a better deal on the shelves, etc. and finally had made his decision. As I mentioned in a previous post, he has a sugar craving unlike any other child I've ever known! Let me tell you, that boy chose quite a few junk food items for $3! He had peanut butter bars, strawberry wafers, gum, cookies, etc. While waiting in line to check out, we saw a teacher from the kid's school coming in the door. Noah immediately thrusts his arm-load up in her face and says, "Look what all I got!!! My mom lets me eat this all the time!" I must admit, I felt the need to clarify, but due to all the people coming and going, it made it next to impossible as we parted ways.

Lesson in humility #1.

We then go to HEB so I can pick up some items for a Christmas party tonight. Noah loves pushing the cart, but he took off through the crowded store, whipping the cart in and out while hollering, "This is like a real video game!!!" Keeping the safety of the other shoppers in mind, I then proceeded to push the cart myself.

Lesson in humility #2.

We went down the aisle where the chips are so I could buy the corn chips that go with my shrimp dip...which also happened to be directly across the aisle from the alcohol. As I stopped to decide which chips to purchase, Noah rounded the corner, and exclaimed (quite loudly), "No! We are NOT buying beer!!!!" And then runs down to the end of the aisle...leaving me surrounded by lots of looks on humored strangers faces.

Lesson in humility #3.

Lastly, we were on our way to the check out line, when Noah looks in my cart and asks, "What are you making for the party tomorrow?" Before I get a chance to answer, he said, "Oh, I know!!!! Only what you know how to make! Chips & hot sauce!"

Lesson in humility #4.

For the past 7 years Paul & I have been questioned, judged and criticized a lot in regards to our son, his behavior and the way we parent him. And if you don't know me, you're likely to think along the same lines simply by reading this story...7 years ago, I would have too. But there's more beneath the surface...Noah is handicapped. His handicap may not be visible to the naked eye, but it's there. If you're reading this, you've either seen pictures of him or know him personally and you can attest to the fact that he's a cute, boisterous, inquisitive, stubborn, hyper, funny, bright, "normal" looking 8-year-old kid. But in reality, his brain has been damaged by the alcohol that was in his birth mother's system while she was pregnant. Noah struggles with Fetal Alcohol Effects. These are but a few of the symptoms of FAE and will affect him for the rest of his life:

The most serious characteristics of FASD are the invisible symptoms of neurological damage that results from prenatal exposure to alcohol, These symptoms can occur in FAS and FAE:

· Attention deficits
· Memory deficits
· Hyperactivity
· Difficulty with abstract concepts
· Poor problem solving skills
· Difficulty learning from consequences
· Vulnerable and naive
· Stunted social development
· Immature behavior
· Emotional outbursts
· Poor impulse control
· Poor judgment

You can read more on this website:

Before we were blessed with adopting Noah, I used to look at all misbehaved kids and assume it was the result of poor parenting. When we were younger,my parent's always told us to coat our words in chocolate because we never knew when we'd have to eat them! ;) Let's just say I've become a Chocoholic! Ha-ha!! :)

You would think I would have my "Duck performance" down pat and memorized, letting things just roll off my back. But truth be told, sometimes I still act like a sponge...allowing certain behaviors, looks, worries and fears of the future to soak in. I know in my heart that the only opinion that truly matters is that of my Heavenly Father, but occasionally I still feel compelled to give explanations or excuses to the outsiders looking in, in a vain attempt to keep myself from being embarassed. Like tonight, I wanted to tell everyone that we really do NOT allow the kid's to eat junk food every day & he did NOT have the free reign to eat it all in one sitting, that we do NOT in fact keep alcohol in our home, that we do NOT condone or make excuses for his behavior, that I DO know how to cook...NOT just make chips and hot sauce...that we DO discipline him (and our other two kids as well)...and on and on it goes.

God tells us in His word (Psalm 127:3) that children are a gift from the Lord...Period! They don't become a gift once they learn to behave, comply with all the rules, stop arguing with their parent's, make their beds without being told, stop smearing toothpaste all over the bathroom mirror, willingly put on underwear every morning without being forced, stop using inappropriate language, stop lying or exaggerating with nearly every story told, etc. It says, "Children are a gift from the Lord."

Present tense.

No matter your circumstances...whether you're dealing with a difficult child, personal insecurities, financial strains, etc, I just want to encourage you to stop looking around you for approval, and look up!

Last but not least, learn to be a makes the puddles in life a lot more bearable!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


This picture was taken less than 2 weeks ago at Paul's grandparent's 67th wedding anniversary party. Papa Tompkins is seated, with Jamie & Noah at his side. Granny Rose is standing with Ericson, and one of their many cousins, Logan, is in back. There surprisingly wasn't a large turnout this time, and it got my mind to wondering about who all wasn't there. I started writing down names, and it just so happens there are 67 family members as well! I just thought it was kind of interesting...67 years of marriage have produced: 6 children (4 with spouses), 14 grandchildren (11 spouses), and 27 great-grandchildren, for a grand total of 67 people!

Random trivia for the day.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Tang's all Toungled Up!

Noah's 2nd grade class is learning about Johnny Appleseed in school this week, and one of their projects is going to be making applesauce. He asked to take 2 apples with him since they were so small, so I agreed. At least he asked!! He normally would just sneak it, so anytime he does the right thing, if at all possible, I allow his request!

We were about to walk out the door, when he said, "Hey Mom, look!" When I turned around, this is the face I saw. He said, "I'm the eye of God's apple!" The real translation being...Psalm 17:8, "Keep me as the apple of your eye..."

Remember who you are and to whom you belong this week! You too are the eye of God's apple...I mean, the apple of God's eye! ;)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Psalm 63:6

This is the scene I found when I came home Tuesday night. Normally, Jamie waits up if I'm gone so I can tuck her in to bed for the night, but it was later than normal, and she fell asleep before I got home. I had just come in from a Finance Team meeting at church. This just made my heart melt! She had her Girl's Devotional Book laid across her chest, with her Bible opened up beside her. She's quickly approaching her "Tween" years, and sometimes has the attitude to match (mainly in regards to her brothers). But my prayer for her is that she will keep Jesus as her first love, and that her life will bring Him glory. I believe He will honor that prayer!

"On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night."
Psalm 63:6

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."
3 John 1:4

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

It's still relatively quiet around the house this morning...Paul's at work, Jamie & Ericson are busy in the kitchen (preparing their mashed potatoes & sweet potato casserole respectively), and Noah's still in bed. So, I thought I would take a minute before the day gets any busier to sit down and make a list of what I'm thankful for. I actually made two lists. One I gave a lot of thought to-things I'm truly thankful for...things that make a difference in my life. The other list was made on a whim...the fun things that make life enjoyable, but are not necessities.

T-Time together.
H-Husband, Health, Home.
A-Atonement through the blood of Jesus Christ.
N-Neighbors that love on my kids & watch over us and our place.
G-God's grace.
I-Impact that my parent's have made in our lives.
V-"V is for Victory! Shout it out what a glorious word!"
I-Incredible love of our Heavenly Father.
N-New Testament-being under grace, not law.
G-Gatherings with family & friends.

T-Thesaurus-it really helps out when writing!
H-Hats-or to be more specific, ball caps for those bad hair days, or just lazy days in general!
A-Autobiographies that I love to read. Anything real fiction please!
N-Nail polish...and for my good friend Connie that does nails for a living. :) Those two go hand-in-hand!
K-Khaki capris-they go with everything!
S-Sonic drinks. :)
G-George Strait's music.
V-Visiting (via phone, internet, or face to face with family & friends).
I-Invitations...preferrably making them, but receiving them is also nice!
G-Gobstoppers. The green ones are the best!

So, what are you thankful for??

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We Are Hungry For More of You, Jesus

Food For Thought

This morning Ericson said, "And Mom, you know what? The other night when I was in bed, my tummy was growling. I knew I couldn't get up and eat, so I prayed. And then my tummy didn't growl anymore! I think I was hungry for Jesus!"

I thought that was pretty neat!

"You still the hunger of those you cherish..." Psalm 17:14

"Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." Matthew 5:6

The following post is a song that came to mind, and I thought the message fit right in with this subject.

Instead of simply stuffing ourselves with physical food tomorrow, may we hunger for Jesus this week!!!

Fill your lives with Him!

Monday, November 24, 2008

N's Personality in Pictures

These are but a few examples of the range of emotions we experience daily with Noah, and show but a glimpse of his true personality. One of these days I'm going to have to write a book...but you probably wouldn't believe me if I told you anyway. :) Here's a sample of "accomplishments" in his short life so far...I wonder what the future holds?

1. He's broken a glow-in-the-dark bracelet and dripped the juice in his eyes (intentionally) because he wanted his eyes to glow.

2. He unlocked his car door and jumped out while I was pulling up to their school...Thank the Lord for school zones!

3. He ate Floor-tile adhesive at our former pastor's house because he "wanted the frosting!" I'm telling you, this child has a sugar craving unlike any other I've ever seen.

4. When he was right under 2 years old, I unbuckled him from his car seat. He literally jumped out of the car, ran around the back and immediately grabbed my tail pipe!! A quick trip to the ER, some meds. for the pain, and he recovered quite nicely from the 2nd degree burns. Thankfully, the next couple of times he pulled that stunt, my car hadn't been driven, so the tail pipe was cool. ????

5. He opened 2 entire boxes of my contact lenses and disposed of them. Not sure if they went down the sink or in the trash.? When confronted, he finally admitted to the crime, and told me he was playing with "those invisible things."

6. He put an empty shotgun shell (that he found after P's cousin went hunting at our place) into a battery charger...then inserted his finger to see what would happen. A nice little "shock" to the system.

7. He got into some locked cabinets in our church, snuck out with a book of matches, a candle and a lighter...then proceeded to set paper towels on fire in the kid's bathroom!! We had a nice little chat (at my request) with the Fire Marshall, Mr. Buster Chase. Nice man!

8. 4th day of school this past September...I get a call from the school nurse. N "found" something in the restroom, and was "brave" enough to report it to his teacher. In actuality, he took one of my insulin syringes to school!!! WITHOUT THE LID ON IT!!!!????? I about had a heart attack. I didn't even know he knew where my supplies were kept...I keep them hidden, I promise!

I could go on, but your brain probably can't handle anymore at this moment in time. ;)

I love this little boy more than you'll ever know-in spite of everything we've been through! There is NO doubt in my mind WHATSOEVER that God brought him to us...maybe not as a peaceful, sleeping newborn, but as a chubby, screaming, 30 pound, 10 month old. I had no idea what we were in for at the time, but I am so humbled and honored to be his mother. He daily teaches me more and more about God's grace and mercy and forgiveness and unconditional love than I ever thought possible. I didn't find this out until some time after the adoption was final, but did you know that adopted children are legally bound to you forever? You can disown your biological children, but never an adopted one?? Sound familiar? We're all adopted into God's family as His children, and we cannot lose our salvation! Pretty cool, huh?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A saturated sponge...

That's the word picture that comes to mind when I think about praying for my children. Envision a sink full of water...holding a sponge under the surface, allowing the sponge to absorb and soak up as much water as possible. When you take it out of the water, squeezing it isn't necessary in order to see what's inside. It can't help but pour out. That's what I want for my children!! I want them to be so totally immersed, and covered in prayer, that it's just dripping off and out of them.

Sadly though, I normally feel like I'm just dipping my fingers in the water and then sprinkling that over my children.

Have you thought of any creative ways to lift your children up in prayer throughout the day? If so, leave a comment...I'd love to hear your ideas!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

11 Years Ago Today...

I became Mrs. Paul Baker! I can't believe 11 years have gone by so quickly!? In those 11 years, we have acquired 3 children, moved 6 times, gained and lost 20+ cats, 2 dogs, 1 bird, 14+ chickens and a rooster. :)

When I woke up this morning, Paul was in the shower, so I jumped out of bed, got his gift from it's hiding place, put it in front of the bathroom door, then climbed back in bed. These hard wood floors are cold!! When he opened the door, he said, "You beat me to it! I wanted to give you yours first!" So he went and got my present...he surprised me with a beautiful pair of diamond earrings!! Or if you look at them in view of eternity, I'm wearing small bits of the wall in my ears! Ha-ha! :)

Around noon we went to Paul's grandparent's 67th Wedding Anniversary party and hung out with family for most of the afternoon. The boy's especially had a blast! One of Paul's cousins, Jay, is an archaeologist, and upon learning of Ericson's love of archaeology, he gave both boys a few dinosaur bones, shark teeth, and even...petrified dinosaur poop!!?? The boy's are fascinated to say the least! :) Jay even invited us to go on a dig with him, so we're looking at the calendar to find a good time. After that, Noah ran and got a piece of paper and a pen, thrust them at Jay, and asked for his autograph! Ha-ha! :) When Jay wrote his name down, Noah responded with, "SWEET NIBLETS!!!" And then jumped and ran out the front door! They are so funny!

My sister Sara offered to keep our kid's for us tonight so we could go out to eat, so when we left the party, we dropped them off at her apartment, and ate dinner at the Olive Garden. It wasn't planned this way, but that's actually where we ate on our Honey Moon. It was fun reminiscing about our wedding day 11 years ago. We have both changed and grown so much. I am truly blessed beyond measure with having Paul as my husband and best friend!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Ode to N's Tooth

My original plan was to post just the previous two pictures, since N lost a tooth this force of course! That's just N's way. :) But it got me to thinking about him...and you can't possibly even begin to sum up N's personality with just 2 pictures. However, to keep this post relatively short, I'll start with the original plan and then post more at another time.

I walked in the kitchen this morning to find N with dental floss tied around his loose tooth, and so far up the gum line he couldn't get it off. Since he couldn't remove the floss, he decided he was going to remove the tooth...even though it was noticeably loose, it wasn't ready to come out!! Next thing I know, he's tied the floss to the cabinet door. I didn't really think it would work, but he slammed the door, and how I wish I had a video camera! The surprised look on his face as he watched his tooth fly through the air, the excitement as he hollered, "Now we get ice cream today!!!", to the thrill of grossing his sister out as he showed her the blood that quickly covered the rest of his teeth in his mouth was pretty entertaining (and gross). N is certainly one of a kind! :) The top picture is what I found when I went to put his money under his pillow. We don't do the Tooth Fairy thing around here...even though they know it's P and I that are replacing the tooth with money, they still want to play along. :) Don't ask me how this got started, but one random fact about my children is that they name their teeth (when they lose them??). I'm assuming N meant to name this one, "Bobby" but notice the spelling. I guess it would be pronounced "Bo-bee." :) I'll have to ask him about that one in the morning. There's no telling where it came from.

N is very determined, and it just cracks me up sometimes with the thoughts that cross his mind!? I have three videos of him when he was trying to get his first loose tooth out, and they're hilarious!! You can see the intensity in his face as he's focusing on finding a way to remove the tooth. But that will have to wait until another day.

(On a side note, he is NOT completely dyslexic...the name "Boby" is written on one side of the ziploc bag, with his name & other info. on the other.) ;)

Until then...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Please Pray!


My friend Connie texted me a little earlier and her brother (Pee-Wee) does in fact have cancer. They were waiting for the doctor to come in so they could tell him the news. Please continue to keep this family in your prayers! Thanks!!

Would you all please be praying for my good friend & Sister-in-Christ, Connie? Her dad passed away 3 years ago from cancer, and her mom passed away the day before Valentine's Day this year-also from cancer. She's still hurting and struggling with those losses...and then today, she received news that her brother in Tennessee has a tumor in his chest. He will be having a biopsy done sometime soon.

Connie is understandably very upset, and I know she would covet your prayers both for healing and for peace and comfort.


Monday, November 17, 2008

My 8's


8 TV Shows (in no particular order...I very rarely even watch TV!!):

1. American Idol
2. Extreme Makeover-Home Edition
3. Jimmy Kimmel (sometimes I laugh, sometimes I want to jump through the TV & choke him)
4. Local News
5. Cops
6. House
7. Diff'rent Strokes Reruns
8. Tori & Dean (only on occasion at my friend Connie's...we don't even have cable.)

8 Restaurants:

1. Johnny Carino's (their garlic/oil is the best!)
2. Jason's Deli
3. Red Lobster
4. Palacios Mexican Restaurant
(Chips & hot sauce are a mandatory staple in this woman's diet) :)
5. Olive Garden
6. Joe's Crab Shack
7. Sonic
8. Texas Road House

8 Things That Happened Today (the day is just getting started, so I'm going to reminisce about yesterday):

1. Went to church.
2. Went to my parent's house.
3. Ate lunch.
4. Visited with my cousin Patty, who is in from Corpus for a visit.
5. Played with my nieces and nephew.
6. Listened to Alli cry (several times). For some reason, the swing was really attracted to the left side of her face.??
7. Drove home.
8. Went to sleep.

Now doesn't that sound like a fascinating day??

8 Things I'm Looking Forward To:

1. Our Women's Bible Study tomorrow night.
2. Picking up my kid's from school this afternoon.
3. A few more hours of peace & quiet before I pick up my kid's from school this afternoon.
4. Spending the day with Paul since he's off of work today.
5. Decorating for Christmas.
6. Going Christmas shopping.
7. My anniversary in 5 days.
8. Seeing my mom and Patty sometime today.

There you have it folks! Just more random, useless information you probably didn't care to know about me. ;)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Cry for Help!

I just had to post this! We're up early this Saturday morning because Jamie's Robotic's team is heading to Kingsville for it's competition. When I woke Ericson up, he starts sniffing and I could tell he had a stuffy nose. He then starts talking and his voice is pretty hoarse as well. He gets up, makes his bed, gets dressed and then proceeds to take his dirty clothes to the hamper. I'm in the other room when I hear this quiet, hoarse voice say, "Help?" I go in the kitchen/dining room, and find Ericson in the hamper. Don't ask me how he fell in, but instead of reaching in to help him, I said, "Wait! Do you mind if I grab the camera first??" He just grins and says, "I'll wait."

Have a great Saturday everyone!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Recipe for a Happy Home

With Thanksgiving coming up in less than 2 weeks, there's lots of planning & preparing to do! I'm sure you have recipes galore and grocery lists coming out the wazoo! This is a recipe of another kind that I've concocted. I keep a framed copy on my kitchen counter-it's great anytime of year!

Recipe for a Happy Home


1 Husband
1 Wife
Children (add as many as you like)
1 Gallon Love
1 Part Open Communication
2 Handfuls of Faith
Generous portion of Time Together
3 C. Laughter (packed)
1 Heaping Tbsp. Forgiveness
Patience (in abundance)
1 C. Honesty

Keeping God at the center of your family, combine all other ingredients.
Stir frequently with tenderness.
Sprinkle freely with grace and mercy.
Cover with much prayer.


Monday, November 10, 2008

The Heebie-Jeebies

After I got home from picking up the kid's at school this afternoon, I immediately went and laid down on my bed for a short nap. Not quite sure why, but ever since I woke up, I haven't been in the most pleasant of moods. In fact, I've been downright crabby!

The kid's and I had to go to a meeting this evening at 6:45 at the high school, and on the way home, Noah was taking pleasure in bothering & grossing out Ericson. I couldn't exactly make out everything that was being said or done, but it's normally something along the lines of picking his nose, making crude remarks of some kind, etc. Ericson finally said, "Noah, stop!!" Noah then responded with great delight and said, "What!? Am I giving you the PG's????" Ericson then says, "Noah, it's called the Heebie-Jeebies!"

It gave everyone a much needed laugh...especially myself!

"A cheerful heart is good medicine..." Proverbs 17:22

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Innocent Blood

I was just now cleaning out my computer cabinet (it's behind closed doors, so I can normally get away with keeping it in a semi-trashed state, but it was pretty bad), and I came across a piece of paper that reminded me of a funny on Ericson.

Last October, the kid's and I were riding with our now pastor and his wife, with 2 of their teenage girls to the County Fair. We had just met them a few weeks earlier, so we were still trying to put our best foot forward. On the way, I was telling them another funny on Ericson & Noah. Ericson got really embarassed, and his 8 year old brain couldn't quite figure out how to get me to stop before I got any further, so he did the only thing he could think of...he SCREAMED!!!! Not just a short scream, but a scream that lasted about 5 seconds. I got upset, and under my breath, I said to him, "If you ever act like that again, I'm going to knock your teeth out of your mouth!" (Ashamedly, yes, I have a tendency at times to overreact and say things that I would never truly carry out...similar to when my dad would ask, "Do you want me to knock you into the middle of next week?" Ah, good times!) When we got out of the van, he immediately grabs my hand as we walk towards the gate and says, "You know Mom, when I screamed, I'm sure you did want to knock my teeth out, but...doesn't the Bible say something about not shedding innocent blood??" He then cocks his head up at me and grins! I laughed so hard!!

Nothing like quoting Bible verses to your mother to put her in her place! :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


In light of the results of the Presidential Election, all I can say is, "Come Lord Jesus!"

That's pretty much all I've got to say about that.

Post Election Sermon

My mom sent me this, but I'm not sure where it originally came from. It's a good reminder!

Dear Friends,

For months now my email Inbox has been besieged by nearly hysterical warnings about what will happen if Barack Obama becomes President. I have been encouraged to be worried, afraid, concerned, prepared for disaster, and a whole host of other maladies if this happens. I do not deny the importance of this election, but it seems to me that we need a dose of perspective. So here, on the eve of the election, I would like to start my own email concerning this election. It’s a “True/False” test. I’d like for all of us to take it. Feel free to email it on to whomever:

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, Jesus will still be King.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, our responsibilities as Christians will not have changed one iota.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the greatest agent for social change in America will still be winning the hearts and minds of men and women through the gospel, not legislation.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my primary citizenship will still be in this order – (1) the Kingdom of God, (2) America, not vice-versa.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the tomb will still be empty.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the cross, not the government, will still be our salvation.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, our children will still be more concerned with whether or not we spend time with them than with who is President.
True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my neighbor will still be my neighbor, and loving him/her will still be the second greatest commandment. (Do you know the first?)

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the only way to see gay marriage ultimately defeated will still be winning men and women to a biblical view of marriage through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my retirement will still not match my treasure in Heaven.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, “Jesus Is Lord” will still be the greatest truth in the Universe.
True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, we will still know that God is in control.

How did you score?

So be sure to vote, but also remember who you are and who He is.

Bible Verse Scavenger Hunt

I wanted to tell you about a neat little thing I did for the kids a while back...Although I can't take full credit for it. I own a book by Shirley Dobson and Gloria Gaither, entitled, "Making Ordinary Days Extraordinary." One of their ideas was to go on a scavenger hunt around the house. I started to think about everything I could do and how I could pull it off. You can certainly add to this list, come up with your own ideas, and change it as you need to (depending on the ages of the kids, etc.), but I wanted to let you know how we did ours. It was so much fun!!!

First, I found some paper and printed out a sign that said, "Each day brings its own surprises." Proverbs 27:1. I put each one in an envelope, labeled it with each childs name and took them to their school while they were at lunch and laid them on their desk.

Next, I stuck another clue in a pocket in the back seat of the car (peaking out), that said, "So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by LETTER." 2 Thessalonians 2:15. That took us to the post office, where they found their next clue...

"I rejoiced with those who said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord." Psalm 122:1. We went to the church where they searched for their next clue...

"Sing to him a new song; PLAY skillfully, and shout for joy." Psalm 33:3. That took us to the children's park where they got to play for a while (until they found their next clue).

It said, "Then Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their homes." Joshua 22:6.

So then we loaded up and went back home where their "surprise" was waiting. Homemade sugar cookies with the Bible verse, "Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." Psalm 34:8.

It was a blast and I thought your kids/grandkids/friends/students might enjoy doing something like that as well. Just an idea...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Love Dare-Day 5 Recap

Well, the Dare for today was to ask your spouse (or other guinea pig you're experimenting with) to tell you three things you do that make them uncomfortable or irritated. I had a few extra minutes today, so when I saw this person, I asked the question. The answer really didn't surprise me...I know I'm guilty. It was my tone of voice when I'm irritated, frustrated, upset or angry with this person. But honestly, ever since beginning this Love Dare, I've really become aware of what I'm allowing to come out of my mouth-and in the way it comes across. I believe with continued prayer, things will only improve!

My dare for tomorrow, Day 6 is: "Choose today to react to tough circumstances in your marriage (in my case, other relationship) in loving ways instead of with irritation. Begin by making a list of areas where you need to add margin to your schedule (assuming some of the irritations are being caused by stress, which is being caused by being over-loaded). Then list any wrong motivations that you need to release from your life."

More to come tomorrow. It's way past my bedtime as it is.


At church this past Sunday, one of the songs we sang was, "Rescue." Have you ever heard it? It says:

"I need you, Jesus, to come to my rescue. Where else can I go? There's no other name by which I am saved. Capture me with grace. I will follow you. This world has nothing for me. I will follow you."

As the song was playing, I started thinking about all the struggles represented there in the lives simply within our church family & how we all truly need Jesus to come to our couple just buried their oldest son (20 years old) was just diagnosed with Melanoma this past lost her home in Hurricane Katrina, then moved to Texas, only to have her house burn down around just lost both her parents within a 3 year span and is still just had knee surgery and lives is dealing with is dealing with a special needs child...and the list goes on.

Then tonight, I received a phone call from my mom telling me that the doctor's believe my Aunt Maria has Lymphoma. She'll be having a biopsy done tomorrow to confirm this diagnosis.

And as I sit here typing this, guess what song just started playing? "Mighty to Save." Here's the chorus:

"Saviour, He can move the mountains. My God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save. Forever, Author of salvation, He rose and conquered the grave. Jesus conquered the grave."

This is no the radio is playing Nicole C. Mullen's song, "When I Call on Jesus." I love the way God speaks to me through music!!

We must remember that no matter what the circumstances, Jesus is our only hope! He is mighty to save! All things are possible with God!

Would you please join me in praying specifically for my Uncle Lawrence & Aunt Maria? If there's anything you need prayer for, please leave me a comment. I would be honored to join you at the throne of Grace.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Love Dare-Day 4

UGH!!! I just typed my whole update, and the stupid computer kicked me off line (without saving my post)!! Now I have to retype everything. I hate stupid computers! Have I mentioned my computer's stupid?? I'm very tired!

We just got back from Judgment House, and I'm worn out! Of course, not from Judgment's all this going to bed late and getting up early these past few days. We don't have anything going tomorrow after church though, so I may reward myself with a nap! But we also get to set our clocks back one hour tonight. Whoo-hoo!!!! I better go do that before I forget and we show up to church one hour early...But, better early than late, I suppose.

Real quick...Day 4 was pretty uneventful. The Dare was quite frankly boring. I liked yesterday's dare much better! But then again, this Dare isn't about me. I haven't read the Dare for tomorrow yet...

Tomorrow is also my weekly weigh-in. I don't have high hopes for this week though. :( However, on Monday I'm going to start working out with a couple of friends from church, so hopefully that will get me going in the right direction.

That's all for tonight, folks! Thanks for tuning in. We'll be back tomorrow evening at about 9:00 p.m.

Good night America.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Love Dare-Day 3 Update

Well, I must say that today I actually enjoyed the dare. It involved buying them something just to let them know you were thinking about them. It got my mind to working and thinking about my family. I found each of them a gift for about $2 each at that reminded me of things they liked. I then attached a note and left them on their beds for them to find.

Paul got a little bag of fishing weights with a note that read, "You have my heart-hook, line & sinker." I also put a Bible verse on there from Ephesians 1:16: "I have not stopped giving thanks for you..."

Jamie got a package of beads for making bracelets (that is her passion) and her note read, "In the same way you enjoy making and creating beautiful pieces of jewelry, you are a unique, beautiful creation of God. You have many talents and abilities and I pray you use them for God's glory. I love watching you learn and grow into God's one-of-a-kind design. "Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands." Psalm 119:73

Ericson received a packet of broccoli seeds. He loves to plant things!!! His note read, "In the same way you enjoy planting things and watching them grow, I am so enjoying watching you grow...into a Godly young man who honors his father and mother, prays for others and enjoys life. You bring so much joy to me! "May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants." Psalm 144:12

Noah got a bag of bite-sized Snickers bars. He loves sugar more than just about anything else on the face of this earth! His note read, "You are sweeter than all the candy in this bag! God has blessed and honored me by allowing me to be your mom. I love all your "Snickers", giggles and songs each day. You bring a song to my heart! "Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy." Psalm 126:2

Tomorrow the dare is to contact your spouse (or in my case, the other person you're doing this experiment on) with the purpose of simply asking how they're doing and seeing if there's anything you could do for them. Sounds easy enough.

I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Wanna Be a Swimmin' Pickle!!

Imagine a small child standing on the side of a swimming pool. It's the first day of swimming lessons. This child has big dreams of one day becoming an Olympic swimmer and winning the gold medal! He desperately wants to learn how to swim, so his parent's have arranged private lessons with the USA Swimming Coach! He can hardly contain his enthusiasm...he's dancing around, giddy with excitement! The coach is already in the pool, ready for the lessons to begin. But when the coach calls the child into the water, instead of jumping in, the child just stands there wringing his hands and talking to himself. The coach can hear him say, "Oh, I want to be a gweat swimmuh! I want to be the best! I want my coach to be so pwoud! I want him to pick me to be the captain of the team!" The coach knows that this child has potential, and if he would simply obey, he would actually do well. So the coach tries to get the child's attention again, but to no avail. This time the child is heard saying, "This doesn't make any sense! Why can't I lun how to swim?? I'm at the pool! I wish he would huwwy up and teach me somethin'!" The coach is starting to get a little frustrated, but attempts one more time to get the child's attention, calling out his name. Still nothing. The child is still talking to himself. He's still wanting to learn how to swim, but his excitement is fading while the disappointment & frustration is growing that he just can't swim and doesn't understand why!?

Sounds crazy, doesn't it? In order to become a great swimmer, first he would have to at least get in the water! Secondly, he would need to spend lots of time in the pool-watching, listening & following his coach's instructions. Would he ever make it to the Olympics if he were to only commit to 10 minutes of practice & only on the days when it's convenient and fits in his schedule? He would never reach his goal, would he?

That's how it is with us as Christians. We want to be transformed and renewed. We long to grow closer to Christ. We yearn to know Him more. We desire to be filled to overflowing with the fruit of His Spirit and for others to see Christ when they look at our lives. Yet we're not willing to spend time with our Coach. Instead of diving into the Living Water of His Word on a daily basis, we stand on the side of the pool, dipping our toes in every now and then by reading a Psalm or Proverb for the day...occasionally jumping in for an extended swim by spending a few minutes in prayer, before getting out again to run off to other things that clamor for our attention while our coach is left waiting in the pool. And then when we don't see His fruit being produced in our lives, we wonder why?

Jesus tells us in John 15:4 to remain in Him. He says, "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."

I'm not saying that by spending time with Jesus, we'll begin to produce the fruit on our own-we cannot. We're just branches. We are the fruit bearer's. But we do have to choose to remain in Christ by reading His word, spending time with Him in prayer, and then He will bring about the desired results, transforming us to be more like Him.

I know a cucumber is not a fruit, but I read recently about the process of turning cucumbers into pickles. It's a really neat word picture in relation to who we are in Christ. You can't dip a cucumber in the brine and expect immediate changes, if any (much like taking a dip in the swimming pool for 10 minutes and expecting to come out an Olympic medalist). It takes continual soaking, and yet once the changes take place, it will never be the same-it can never revert back to it's previous state of a cucumber. It has a different texture, flavor, purpose & name. We too as Christians need to be continually soaking our hearts and minds in His word. When He gets done with us, we'll look pretty much the same on the outside, but the inside will be radically different!

Anybody willing to take the plunge into some Living Water today? I don't want to be a cucumber anymore-I wanna be a swimmin' pickle! :)

Love Dare-Day 2 Update

Well, we're at the end of Day 2. In addition to having to keep my mouth shut today, I also had to perform one random act of kindness.

In regards to my attitude lately, I feel like I'm not even on the playing field. I'm in the negative. So any act of kindness, as small and simple as it may be (such as opening the door, picking up an item that was dropped, etc.), I consider progress.

We had another confrontation this morning, but I just prayed my way through it, and asked God to set a guard over my mouth and keep my lips sealed.

In tomorrow's dare, (also in addition to not saying anything negative) I'm supposed to buy something to let him/her know I'm thinking about them.

How about a bottle of Xanax? Just kidding!

Something to think about...

I'm reading a book by Dr. David Jeremiah called, "Escape the Coming Night." I haven't gotten very far into it yet, but this part I thought was really neat and wanted to share it with you all. Check this out:

"Some people have asked, "If there are so many to be judged (regarding the Judgment Seat of Christ), why doesn't Christ judge them immediately on their death, instead of letting all those millions of people pile up at the last minute?"

The answer is that we don't finish our work when we die. It lives on after us. What we have done on earth, if it amounts to anything, continues after we die physically. How could there be rewards and judgments when our earthly life is over? Our influence upon friends, family, the people we knew during our lifetimes, does not cease when our obituaries appear in the local paper. Your testimony will live on, and it's ripple effect will touch more lives than we will ever know until the kingdom comes."

Kind of makes you think twice about your life, doesn't it?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Love Dare-Day 2

Before I head off to bed for the night, I wanted to post real quick on the Love Dare, Days 1 & 2.

Instead of waiting until the morning, I like to be prepared & know what lies ahead...So my plan is to read the next day's Dare the night before.

Summary: Day 1 was tough. Really tough at moments. But we made it through. Tomorrow, we have to keep Day 1's Dare of not saying anything negative, but we're also supposed to perform a random act of kindness. I'm praying on this to see how God might have me serve...? No bright ideas have hit me yet.

When I sat down to read just a few minutes ago, the Bible verse staring me in the face was from Ephesians 4:32..."Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."

Sound familiar? It falls right in line with my study this morning!! Why do I get so surprised when things like this happen? I know God has orchestrated this, and he works ALL things together for good (Romans 8:28). God is obviously trying to teach me something here...I think it would be wise for me to sit down, buckle up and hold on!! He's about to take me for a ride.

I'll send you a postcard. ;)

Coincedence? I think not.

I think God's trying to tell me to "Shut up!" Well, I don't think He would use that exact wording. However, the message is still the same. I need to learn to keep my mouth shut more than I do...or at least be kinder when I do speak.

This blog jumps around quite a bit today, so try your best to follow me here, alright?

This past week, I've had a really bad attitude with someone. I've had several friends offer to pray for me, while other's tell me that they'll be praying for this person to change. And while that certainly would be nice, I can't wait around for those changes to occur before I make changes of my own. I'm not saying this person's behavior is to be accepted and condoned. This person is at times very wrong in some things...however, God commands us in His Word to love others the way He has loved us-regardless of what they may or may not be doing. There is no escape clause in that verse. And yet humanly, there is NO WAY I can do it!! Trust me. I've tried. I've failed. I've tried again. I've failed again. I've tried many, many, many times...and once again, I've failed many, many, many times. It's not humanly possible to love others with God's love. It has to be Him reaching down into, and then through us. Imagine a cyclist's glove. A glove in and of itself can do nothing. But when it's filled with the hand, the fingers can reach out even past the extent of where the glove stops, and allows the glove to do things it couldn't do otherwise. Kind of neat, huh?

Well, last night after our Women's Bible Study (another story in and of itself), a friend of mine & I went to Wal-Mart to look for the book "Love Dare" (the one talked about in the movie, "Fireproof"). She was wanting to read it with her husband & hopefully help out their marriage. I on the other hand just love to read-regardless of what it is or whether I need it or not. The price was marked at $10.43, so we both grabbed a copy. On the way back to my car (it was parked at the church), she had me read the first part to her. The Dare for Day 1 is to not say anything negative to your spouse. Honestly, I normally don't have a problem in this area. But this person that I'm struggling with came to it did during the movie as well. I don't know if this Love Dare will work on someone other than a spouse.? I haven't cheated and looked ahead, but I'm thinking it might be worth a try. I'm sure it will have to be altered somewhat too.

This morning, when I woke up, I reached over and got my Bible. I've been reading in the book of Psalms. Today I started with Chapter 141, and the 3rd verse jumps out at me. This is what it says: "Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips."

Any coincedence that the Dare & this Bible verse go together? Okay, God, I'm hearing you.

Then after dropping the kid's off at school this morning, I went back to Wal-Mart in search of something I forgot to get yesterday. I happened to walk by the "Love Dare" books, and noticed the price on the remaining copies was $12.64!! I took that to be yet another confirmation from God that we needed those books last night! Gotta love a good deal! :)

After I got home from Wal-Mart, I grabbed my Bible Study, and sat down to read for today. This is part of what I found...

"You may feel overwhelmed by the events swirling around your life. Is there an end to the suffering? Like a raindrop in a mud puddle, the more you strive, the more muddy the water becomes. To be released from the muck and mire, you must allow the sun to release you from below to transport you above. Let Jesus take you up above your circumstances to see life from heaven's perspective where all will be made right in one single day."

This study is about being the bride of Christ, and this lesson was on wearing "clothing" fit for our position in Christ; to "put off" the deeds of fleshy, self-centered, self-absorbed behavior and to "put on" the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth." Ephesians 4:24

At the end of the lesson she asks us to choose one attitude from Ephesians 4:31 to put away or take off-

"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice."

and to choose one attitude from Ephesians 4:32 to put on-

"Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."

I can almost imagine God walking around up in Heaven with a cell phone to his ear saying, "Can you hear me now??" :)

So, if I happen to come to mind today, would you please pray for my attitude and that I would only allow kind words to come forth in my speech? I'll be sure to keep you posted on my "Love Dare" experiment.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Low-Down on the Weigh-In & Noah's Random Thoughts

Well, today was my first day to weigh in since beginning my Detox program 1 week ago. I have gone from 1_5 to 1_9!! And, no, that's not a 4 pound's a 6 pound loss!!! I'm excited! My clothes don't fit any differently, my face doesn't appear to be any thinner, but hey, 6 pounds is 6 pounds. I'll take what I can get! It hasn't been the easiest of weeks in regards to eating the right foods at the right times, and remembering to take my supplements when I should (especially when I'm not at home), but it's well worth it! My bloodsugar has dropped dramatically, which has been great also! It's nothing unusual for my bloodsugar to run in the 300's when I wake up in the morning...after a few days of being on this program though...97 was the average. Whoo-hoo!

Anyhow! I wanted to post a few random funnies on Noah. As much as he can frustrate me at times (see last post), he brings just as much (if not more) humor into our home! Jamie had Judgment House practice at 1:15 this afternoon, and Ericson spent the night with my mother-in-law, so after church, Paul wanted to go out to eat. And sadly, I broke my Detox for lunch. :( But I'm back on the band wagon...I tried to be as good as possible while we were out though. I just ate chicken and some vegetables. But that's beside the point for now. On the way home, Noah starts rambling, which is totally normal for him. He talks, sings or makes noises 99.9% of his waking hours. No joke. Mind you, NONE of this is rehearsed, planned, premeditated, etc. This is pure, 100% unfiltered Noah. My mom says he reminds her of a machine gun, shooting off a thousand random bullets at a time. :)

"Mom, are you a Democrack? Or a Publican? A long time ago, Democracks were good & Publicans were bad...that's when they lived in Egypt. But now the Democracks are bad & the Publicans are good. At least that's what that person told me. But I think Obama & McCain BOTH stink!!!!! Did you know that it's illegal to kill a platypus? Platypus' live in the Amazon, in Africa, or sometimes in Texas. Did you know that Coltin has some bulls and it jumped over the cage & killed his uncle? It kicked him in the chin. He said he had 2, 6 or 7 calfs. I like trucks like that. The tallest man in the world can ride a bull for 30 minutes, and the shortest man in the world can ride for only 1 second."

This is only part of what came out of his mouth...just a small peek into the mind of my 8 year old random son. :) I can't remember the rest. After a while, Paul & I just smile & nod. I guess everyone needs a listening ear from time to time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tug of War

Be honest-have you mom's ever woken up in the morning and upon hearing either the voice of a particular child or noises of them bouncing up and down the hallway, crashing into the walls headed in your direction, caused you to cower under your covers, and mumble incessantly the words of Deuteromony 31:6 to yourself in an attempt to be reminded that you are not alone in the battle of parenting?

What? You don't have that one memorized?? Well, you should! I've even considered having it matted & framed to hang on my wall so that when I roll out of bed in the morning, it's staring me straight in the face! Here, let me help you out. It says,

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

Come on, admit it. You know you have! And then once they're down for the night, you walk out of their bedroom, lean against the door, take a deep breath, & Psalm 116:7 comes to mind...

"Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you."

Okay, I know those verses were taken out of context, and it's not always a warzone in our homes, but we've all had those days if you're being totally honest.

I must admit that I too struggle a lot with my attitute and thoughts on the days when my youngest is testing me (that would make it an every day experience around here). He is extremely bright, energetic, creative, sensitive, & loving-yet VERY determined, strong-willed, and at times defiant-with definite opinions of his own that rarely (if ever) fall in line with mine. I get frustrated that he always has to do things his own way, in his own timing, sometimes just trying to prove that he's the one in control.

I wish that he would simply comply with our rules without talking back, questioning every move I make, reminding me of things I may (or may not) have said days, weeks or even months ago, & challenging my every thought. I would get some much needed emotional and mental rest if that were the case, but more importantly, it would make his life so much easier!!

There are times (like tonight) when I can see the struggle, frustration & near panic in his eyes when I refuse to back down & relinquish my rights as his mother and force him to submit his will to my own, & it breaks my heart! If he would simply let go & trust Paul & myself to lead, guide, teach & direct him, he would be free to just be a kid and spare himself of the pain from having to learn most of life's lessons' the hard way.

Then God reminds me that I too fight him for control...sometimes daily...sometimes hourly. That's not very fun to admit. I have been deceived at times into believing that I have this life figured out, I know what's best, I know what I want and I'm determined to get it no matter the cost.

Isn't it crazy how God has set up our children to be little mirrors, reflecting images of us and our relationship with our heavenly Father?

"Lord, I pray that you would transform me by the renewing of my mind and that you would bind my thoughts to your thoughts. I ask that you would bind my will to your will & bind my life to your purposes. Your purposes and plans are so much bigger than my own. You can see the complete picture, and I just have to trust that You are at work in our lives, and that your word will not return void. It's so easy to get caught up in the daily struggles and lose my focus. Please keep my eyes on you, and give me an unspeakable joy in the process."

"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Kid Stuff

Noah is a real character!! I wanted to post this picture to give you just one example of the outfits he puts together...he's got quite the imagination! He's wearing his blue winter coat (with no shirt underneath), plaid pajama pants (he had just woken up when this picture was taken), his sister's brown boots, a camouflage helmet, and carrying a small plastic water gun. You can't see this in the picture, but he's also got a toy sword stuck in his gun holster, 2 party bags full of loot, and 101 (not literally) temporary tattoos all over his body from a birthday party he attended last night.

We had to stay home from church this morning because Ericson was sick to his stomach through the night. So instead of our normal on-the-go routine, we're just hanging out at the house. Jamie's been entertaining herself by cutting out various pictures of the Jonas Brothers, HSM3 actors/actresses, etc. and taping them to her bedroom walls. Ericson has since recovered from his stomach-bug and has been busy coloring or watching bits & pieces of a movie on TV.

My poor kids have inherited my love of going, going, going! They're not used to many lazy days here at home, & on several occasions, they've asked, "What are we doing today?" The last time Jamie asked, and I told her we were staying put, she says, "You mean I have to keep this beautiful face inside all day??? I need to share it with the world!"

She is so silly sometimes, she cracks me up! I know she was only joking, but we had a mini crash-course in humility...just in case! :)

Detox-Day 1!

Well, today we officially begin our Detox Diet. I say "we" because even though Ericson & I are the only one's taking supplements, it's just easier food-wise for the whole family to eat the same thing.

I plan to check in every week for all you skeptics out there and keep you posted on my weight loss (since that's my main source of frustration). Today, I weighed in at 1_5 pounds. Yes, you read that correctly! A whopping 1_5!!!

I know this diet is going to work! Why you ask? Because I took Ericson to the same doctor back in April (I'll post later with those details), and I did just the diet/food part with him, and within two short weeks, my bloodsugar was much more stabilized! Then we fell off the bandwagon for a few months, but I made an appointment for myself on October 1, so that I could also get some supplements (which Dr. Lis put me on immediately-in the office!); and this time, within 1 week of taking the supplements (and not even following the Detox diet), I had lost 5 pounds!

So, we'll see what happens from here. Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Love Days Like This!

Well, for the most part. This morning, the kid's and I drove to my sister's house and rode with her & 2 of her kid's to our cousin's funeral. Not a fun way to start off the day, but it was still good seeing family we haven't seen in a while and have a few laughs! That's one thing our family is really good at! :)

Then I went grocery shopping since we'll be starting our Detox diet on Sunday, and the HEB here in town doesn't carry ANYTHING worthwhile. My sister is a saint, and took my three kid's with her so I could shop in silence. Thanks Sara!!

When we got back home, Paul had everything ready to start making dinner. He decided to fry up some fish he caught on one of his many outings. The weather outside feels SO nice!!! I got a lawnchair and sat outside in the garage with him while the kid's ran and played. There aren't many days where Paul's off of work, I'm not having to run to and fro, and the kid's are out of school all at the same time. It's been so relaxing in fact, I feel like I could go take a nap!

That sounds like a good idea...

"This is the resting place, let the weary rest" Isaiah 28:12

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No, Ben Keating is NOT God!

I was driving around town today running errands, and I noticed a license plate frame that made me think of a funny story. Well, I thought it was funny. You're entitled to your own opinion.

A few years back, when the kids were about 2, 3 & 4, we had eaten dinner with a friend down the road, and when it was time to pray before the meal, they held hands and said this rhyming, sing-song type of prayer. It kind of took my 3 by surprise, because instead of keeping their heads bowed, eyes closed, they lifted their heads ever so slightly, grinning at one another, trying to stifle their giggles. A few days later, my kids were asking why we couldn't pray like their friend did. I didn't want to bash this least they were doing something before eating their dinner, but I also wanted the kid's to understand what praying really was.

So, I explained to them that praying was simply talking with God...carrying on a conversation just the way we were doing in the car. It involves both talking and listening! I used a silly example, but said to Jamie, "No matter what you said or asked for, and I only responded with the same exact phrase, would that make much sense or mean anything special to you? Let's say you woke up in the morning, and said, "I'm hungry! What can I eat for breakfast?" And I responded with, "I really like your hair bow." ??? Later on, if you asked for a drink of water, and I said, "I really like your hair bow." ??? Or if you came inside after playing with a friend and she had really hurt your feelings, and all I had to offer you was, "I really like your hair bow." ??? It doesn't make any sense does it?

So, I then reminded them that God had given us everything we had, and there was so much more to thank him for, praise him for, talk to him about, etc. I asked, "Who gave us our house?" All the kid's chimed in with, "God did!" I asked, "Who gave us our clothes?" Again, "God did!" I asked, "Who gave us our food?" One more time, "God did!" We thought of several more examples, and then I asked, "Where did we get our car?" This time, Ericson shouted out really loudly (you'd have to be from around here to appreciate this one), "PORT LAVACA FORD!!!!"

I laughed and laughed, and then corrected him with, "No, God did!"

And incidentally, we did NOT buy our vehicle at the time from Ben Keating in Port Lavaca. We bought it in Houston.