Thursday, January 31, 2008

labor of love...

It’s my new favorite day of the week, Love Thursday. This photo depicts love in multiple ways. Not only does Goosey “love” the gifts she received for her birthday, but she also “loves” the boy who is the recipient of this thank you note.

...and I just love these sweet, little fingers.

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

old and new...

One of my good friends brought over her Maltipoo puppy, Harper. As I snapped this shot of my dog playing with her new buddy, a familiar saying suddenly popped into my head. “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”

Mrs. Elizabeth, who is now in heaven, was like my second grandmother. Known for her colorful moo-moos, she was a hilarious lady who had the voice of an angel. She had her own special tune for the "friends" saying and sang it to me often when we visited.

I eventually cross-stitched that saying for her, and I treasured the fact that she hung my gift on her wall. So as I wander back through a flood of fond moments of time spent with her, I realize on multiple levels how true those words are.

Misty-eyed from nostalgia, I can still hear her crystal-clear soprano voice sing the beloved hymn:

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
Sweetest Name I know,
Fills my every longing,
Keeps me singing as I go.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

just heavenly...

You would never know that it snowed last weekend. With it almost 60 degrees, we gladly donned our light-weight jackets and headed outdoors. One cleared path in the woods, several ATV rides, and a flat motorcycle tire later, we were ready for a break - and I was ready for my camera.

In the still moment of this shot, it’s hard not to notice the beauty of the background as well. Even in the dead of winter, there is still so much color to enjoy.

Time to shoot up one of those quick, arrow prayers: thank you that my eyes can see the grandeur of Your creation! What a beautiful day!

“This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:24

Saturday, January 26, 2008

birthday thoughts...

Even though I had to battle a slightly fussy five-year-old this morning and again tonight, my day has been full of blessings. Along with a variety of phone calls, cards, and gifts from family and friends, I received an unexpected call from an old high school bud. It warmed my heart, but the day just kept getting better.

My sister-in-law asked to take me shopping at The Loft, our favorite store. I can’t remember the last time we were able to sneak away from the kids for some girl time, so this was definitely a treat. And yes, I did adhere to Resolution #1, making it an even more successful trip. No guilt.

So tonight as I drove home from the restaurant where we celebrated (thanks, Mom!), I reflected on my day. (Blogging causes me to do this.) Despite all of the other wonderful things I was given, my son unknowingly trumped them all with his.

His gift was simply that he wrapped his adult-sized arms around me and with a big teddy bear hug declared, “You’re the best mom in the whole world. Thanks for all you do for us.”

That to me is priceless.

“You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.” Job 10:12

Thursday, January 24, 2008

puppy love...

Let me introduce you to my first Love Thursday post, my new project from now until V-day (or maybe longer). I found this idea at Shutter Sisters which is a fabulous blog for anyone interested in photography. The idea is to share a link to your favorite love themed photo. What a concept!

While the rest of the world is focusing on all that is wrong, corrupt, and evil, let us take a moment to find the good. I now have a new appreciation for Thursdays. Thanks, Karen W., for creating and spreading the love!

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

Monday, January 21, 2008


Being home holds a restorative element for me. When it’s freezing (and snowing?) outside, there is nothing better than doing only what you want to do rather than what you need to do. I enjoy that kind of time at home with the kids and was extremely thankful to have an extra day to do just that.

Here are some of the things we did at home this weekend…just because we wanted to:

1. built a fort (the little one calls it a fork, and I think it’s too cute to correct)
2. made hot cocoa
3. painted picture frames
4. danced to all of the HSM and Hannah Montana songs on TV
5. read silently and aloud
6. played the catch-the-fish game about 72,000 times
7. took pictures
8. snuggled
9. colored and painted in the new coloring books (from the birthday party)
10. slept past 5:30 a.m.
11. wore pajamas past 9:00 a.m.
12. called Nana
13. played tag with Cocoa pups
14. watched it snow
15. took a nap

What healing activities did you get to do at home this weekend? Please share!

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul.” Psalms 23: 1-3 (King James Version, my favorite translation of this passage)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

birthday party overload...

I’m not sure why I fuss and fret over every little detail of my children’s birthday parties. Maybe it’s the teacher in me that makes me think I’ll be graded on it or something. But I guess since the birthday girl is currently enjoying an unintentional afternoon siesta, I probably scored an A.

"I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety." Psalms 4:8

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I think I can...

I thought today was Friday. All day long I was working toward my three day weekend one day early. Between birthday whatnot on Tuesday, the major state test (no pressure) I had to give yesterday, and a few snow flurries last night, my body began telling my brain that we’ve already reached capacity for the week. Time to shut down for the weekend. Well, it was a nice thought.

So tonight I’m gearing up for one more do-I-really-have-to-get-up-this-early-in-the-freezing-cold day. I know tomorrow that I’ll have to bring the dog and pony (maybe even a sheep and a goat) because from the looks of things, my students were thinking today was Friday too.

What they don’t know is I have a surprise for them, their very own blog. You can almost feel their teenage excitement, can’t you? Okay, so it’s more appealing to me, but here is my thought: reading and writing blogs has evoked a daily reflective thought process that I’ve never had before. I have personally experienced how inspiration and ideas flow more easily into this online world of thought sharing than they would with traditional pen and paper. Couldn’t it do the same for my students?

I shall introduce it tomorrow. Tomorrow is Friday.

"And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; (4) and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;" Romans 5: 3-4

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

a gift...

When I was growing up, I never thought there could be anything better than my birthday. It’s your one day to feel special. Now as an adult and mother of two, I realize that there are two other days that hold much greater meaning and distinction. Today was one.

As we finally reached my daughter’s highly anticipated birthday, I couldn’t decipher who was more excited. Turning five is the first major milestone of life, and I am so delighted for her. It’s like watching your speedometer roll from 4,999 to 5,000. At five you know you’re still young with a lot of life to live, but you’ve also covered a good bit of ground. Is there any other birthday better than number five?

To watch her sweet, sparkling face as various friends and family wished her happy birthday, as she opened her presents – the one that was just what she wanted and the one that was totally unexpected (thanks, Nana), as she blew out the candles on her specially selected vanilla cup cake, I couldn’t help but feel it too. Today was special; it was my daughter’s birthday, and I was allowed to share it with her!

Before we ate dinner, I asked, “Who wants to say the blessing?”

With hand raised high, “Meeeeeeeee,” she bellowed.

The following is her prayer, and because I think it covers everything, it’s my prayer for you:

Dear God,

Make everyone be good and be kind. Let everyone be well, and help everyone have a good time.


“And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11:6

Saturday, January 12, 2008


When you're walking down the street or entering a store, do you make eye contact or smile at the person walking the other way? I'm sorry to say that unless I know the person, I usually don't. I guess this treacherous world in which we live has conditioned me to look straight ahead and mind my own business, to protect my smiles from misinterpretation.

Hmmm...I'm fairly sure that is not, as the bracelet says, what Jesus would do.

So while out and about running errands today, I began an experiment. I smiled at several unsuspecting people. Their response? Almost all of them smiled back.

I love the pay-it-forward concept of passing a good thing to other people, and hopefully in turn, they would pass it on to more people. Maybe it works with smiles.

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:40

Thursday, January 10, 2008

keeping the faith...

Tonight I'm taking a dose of my own medicine. I'll give you the short version. Believe me, this could be much longer.

Pulling out of my garage Sunday morning on the way to church, my car did not shift correctly into drive as it should. Seconds later, the engine light flashed on. As an aside, I have a good car. She has never had any problems in the 6 years that I've had her.

After church and several prayers, I took her to the only place that is open. Bad leak. Almost no transmission fluid or oil. Transmission codes lit up the engine's computer. The helpful gentlemen there didn't do transmission work but were able to recommend a place that could, Mr. Transmission. They filled my fluids and wished me well, saying it could be just a patch job. I continued to pray with no worries.

Let me begin to condense now. According to Mr. Transmission (Satan), I needed new clutches and a new torque converter which together would cost $2,273. It was at that point I panicked and began to question God.

Didn't He read Resolution # 1? How was I supposed to save money with this kind of a bill? How could my feeling inside of "no worries" have been so wrong? I'm a struggling, single mom, so how could going through this make me a better person?

Then my teammate came by on Tuesday. Her dad was having open heart surgery this week, and she asked me to pray for him. I reassured her that I would. I also told her to give it God. She didn't need to worry because God was in control. "He will take care of you," I said to her. Knowing the pain the loss of a parent brings, I began to put things back into perspective. There are worse things than outrageous car bills. I should listen to my own advice.

Condensing even more now...I happened to mention my situation to another good friend at work. A good Christian friend, who later agree that this was devine intervention. She led me to the man who repaired my car for $60. Yes, just $60, and my car, which had never given me problems, continues to run like a dream.

God never abandoned me, yet I questioned his methods and his techniques because I thought He had. As I tried to remain as positive as possible about the situation, I still wondered why it wasn't turning out just as I had planned. Answer: It's not my plan, and it never was.

"Your love, O Lord, reaches to the Heavens! Your faithfulness stretches to the skies!" Psalms 108: 4

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Things that give me that warm fuzzy...

...a spin-off of Stephanie's list

1. Realizing God has answered even the simplest of prayers
2. Sharing a long belly laugh with the kids
3. Scrubbing behind my devoted dog's ears after a long day
4. Sinking into my comfy couch
5. Receiving an unexpected phone call from an old friend
6. Singing the lyrics of a favorite old tune
7. Reaching the I-get-it moment with a student
8. Accomplishing things on my to-do list
9. Doing a favor for a friend
10. Finding God in a song or in nature or in my thoughts
11. Adding to my blog
12. Watching my children sleep
13. Finding what I was looking for
14. Fixing something that was broken
15. Knowing that my friends are visiting my blog

What gives you a warm fuzzy? When you find it, recognize the feeling and savor it for as long as you can!

"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalms 118:24

Sunday, January 6, 2008

assignment pay back...

One of my favorite things about this school year is that my son and I are at the same school. Not only do I get to see him during the day, but I also get to see his teachers.

So far, he has received nothing but rave reviews and has maintained an A average for his first two terms of middle school. I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am of him.

On our way out Friday, we ran into his Language Arts teacher. “How’s he doing?” I asked.

“Well, I’m glad you asked. We worked on a writing assignment on the days he was absent before Christmas. He was supposed to have the rough draft written for me today, but he didn't,” she explained.

I’m fairly sure that my head spun around five times and my eyes bulged as I turned toward my son and exclaimed, “What! Why didn't I know about this?”

Daily I question what his homework assignments are, and if he has completed them. Had I heard anything about the folktale? Umm, no. I feel sure that he thought he could just not say anything, and it would magically disappear. He was absent, so the assignment never really existed for him.

I made it home without causing him any bodily harm, and yes, I even fed him. Knowing that he would rather eat dirt than write anything of length, I sat down with him to discuss his game plan. He spouted off the components of the folktales he had already read, and he selected his topic: the chameleon. Sounding like he had things under control, I shuffled him off to the computer.

After 50 minutes of, “Mom, can you come here?” and, “Mom, I need help,” and, “Mom, I don’t know what to write,” my head began to spin again. By golly, he was going to do this writing assignment on his own. I wasn't going to write it for him.

Eyes bulging, I laid down the law, “If you don’t get anything written in the next 10 minutes, you’re going to bed.” Exactly 10 minutes later he walked towards his room, head hung and defeated.

“Night, Mom.”

“You didn’t get anything written?”

“Just four words.”

After giving him the ask-God-for-help/get-a-good-night’s-sleep/pep talk, I checked the computer. Bless his heart. “Once upon a time” was all he had written.

With a fresh mind he tried again yesterday, and by the grace of God he eventually cranked out a clever tale. More importantly, he knows God helped him.

I asked for and received permission to post HIS WRITING. Enjoy!

“The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for him, to those who seek him.” Lamentations 3:25

Why chameleons change color...

...original composition by my son, age 11

Once upon a time there was a chameleon that lived in the jungle. He was a trickster that always got away with everything. The other animals never knew he was responsible because he was never around at the crime scene, but the animals still wondered who did mischief all the time. Still, they waited to catch the animal that was responsible.

One day there was a contest that king lion was holding, he said whoever can hold their breath under water for 30 minutes shall win a potion that will grant you the ability change color. Chameleon thought that he could win this easily.

At the contest Monkey, Hippo, and Bobcat were at the pond. “I can easily win this contest,” said Monkey.

“Oh please,” exclaimed Hippo, “you can’t hold your breath for that long. I’m a shoe in for the contest.”

“You’re both wrong, I will win the contest,” said Bobcat proudly.

Then chameleon quickly stumbled upon them and quietly took a sip of the potion then went back in line. King Lion explained, ”The contest will now begin!”

“Here I go,” said Monkey. He suddenly dipped his head into the water for about 50 seconds, then Monkey gasped and flopped on the grass and panted.

“Next!” king lion shouted. Then Hippo tried it, but he did the same thing as Monkey. So did Bobcat. Soon it was Chameleon’s turn.

Chameleon rushed up to lion and asked, “May I put my whole body in the water?”

“Yes you may,” mumbled King Lion. So he strolled up to the water and dove in there. Little did they know that he changed his color and silently crawled out and crept into the bush beside it, but Monkey saw rustling in the bush and then he pounced in it and threw out Chameleon.

” Hey!” shouted Monkey, ”He is cheating.” Then Chameleon dashed over to the potion and drank the whole glass.

King Lion got very angry and shouted,” Get him, get him! He stole my potion!” Every one surrounded Chameleon, but then he changed his color and climbed up the tree. Because the animals did not see Chameleon, they searched the jungle but did not find head or tail of him. They finally gave up.

That is why chameleons change their color.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

life according to Spongebob...

As I lazily performed my Saturday morning bathroom routine of hair, make-up, and what-not, my daughter, as usual, entered to help. She selected my shoes (for herself), borrowed my eye shadow, and found some dog toys that had been MIA for weeks.

Because it is Saturday morning, I didn’t mind the entertaining, Grand Central-like atmosphere that she and the dog provided. But then suddenly it stopped, and she sat on the bathroom floor, fussing as only a four-year-old girl can.

Rubbing her finger angrily she cried, “I have sleaze and it’s itchy!”

“Your sleeves are itchy?” I questioned, chuckling to myself that she had confused the words.

“No!” she wailed, “Sleaze. I have sleaze!”

I stopped what I was doing. Watching her continue to struggle, I wondered if this was the beginning of low self-esteem issues. My otherwise undaunted social butterfly seemed adamant that she was infected with sleaze. How could this be? Determined to prevent a life-time of therapy, I tried again, “Are you talking about your sleeves?”


“Then I don’t know what you’re saying.”

“On Spongebob Squarepants,” she sniffed, “Sandy had sleaze and she was itchy and now I have it too!”

The light bulb turned on because, hallelujah, I have seen that episode. “Sweetheart,” I explained, “Sandy had FLEAS. You don’t have fleas, baby. You probably have dry skin. Let’s go get you some lotion.”

Magically the tears disappeared and an enthusiastic tone replaced the wine. “Okay, Mommy.”

I sighed with relief as I clasped her had in mine and walked to her room. She skipped.

"I can do all things through Christ who strenthens me." Phillipians 4:13

Thursday, January 3, 2008

more than that...

Resolution #2: read more

After picking up my daughter from school today, I noticed that her pink, Hello Kitty backpack was quite full. Once in the car and buckled, it took her a mere 2.5 seconds to unload the contents. Like a magpie, she gave me the 411 on her day and her apparent gifts.

She loves books, and she had been given two from her teachers - If You Give a Moose a Muffin and Today I Feel Silly. Nice choices to add to her mammoth collection. But there was more. Evidently the curriculum coordinator is circulating a bright yellow bag full of books through each student’s home, and this is our week. Somebody feels special!

All the way home, book after book, she confidently shared her rendition of each page with everyone in the car. So tonight to celebrate our new gifts, we added an extra book to the night-night ritual. She picked three books instead of just two.

Yesterday as I composed my first resolution, I knew that “read more” would be number two. By that, I originally was thinking more along the lines of finishing the last two Harry Potter books or reading some of the classics that I ignorantly avoided in high school. But as I read I Knew You Could, a poetic addition to the time-honored Little Engine tale, I embraced the full potential of what reading more means.

“But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:16

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

it's time...

Resolution #1: save money

See if you can relate…for as long as I can remember, I have mentally noted areas in my life that deserve to go on the “needs improvement” list. Verbalizing them to specially selected friends and family would always be the next step. There was the I-need-to-lose-five-pounds resolution, regardless of my weight at the time. And, of course, there was the write-more-letters/send-more-cards resolution. Beautiful boxes of fine stationery lay patiently waiting, yet the personalized notes never seem to write themselves like I thought they would. What was that about something being paved with good intentions?


Super excited after my first post, I knew that posting my declarations would increase the likelihood of their actual execution. We’ll see…here I go.

I’ve often said that instead of going to a therapist, I go shopping. Today I calculated how much I spent at Walmart last month; no therapist is worth that amount. Thus, specifically the resolution should and does state that I will no longer shop on Tuesdays. I’ve used the fact that the kids are usually with their other parent for the night as an excuse for too long.

Happily, I will replace my addiction with blogging and reading. Both seem to be free.

Around 5:00ish this afternoon I turned off the t.v. Blessed silence. My son read. My daughter colored, and I, for the first time in weeks, picked up a book as well. It was an amazing feeling, until suddenly I realized that I had fallen asleep and was being awakened to, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” Oops.

Hopefully this post produces a better effect.

Pray for me and my attempt to improve the quality of my life and the lives of my children. What is one of your resolutions? Let me know, and I will pray for you too.

“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” Proverbs 14:1

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

wait for it...

My ongoing mantra: I love technology when I can get it to work.

Yesterday I spent a considerable amount of time formulating what was to be my first post, and, yes, it was nothing less than spectacular. Using carefully crafted phrases and vivid verbs to showcase my step-by-step process of loading, or rather my inability to load the mind-boggling photo that would launch my blogging endeavors, I completed my first self-delegated writing assignment. I felt like such a big girl (mommy lingo).

So I then decided to include a special thanks to Stephanie (amazing, must-see blog) for the inspiration I gained to test the blogging waters. Because I am such a technological genius (ck, ck), I easily navigated my way to the help site to learn how to incorporate the intricate, one-touch-of-a-button link maneuver used above (note that I did actually figure it out).

Intently, I studied the three words of information that showed me the tricky, yet highly visible link button located on my tool bar. Sweet! Not a problem. I must be a technological genius, or something.

Carefully clicking the back button to return to my masterpiece, I experienced minor heart failure to discover that every hand-picked word had been erased. I just love being me. To borrow a phrase recycled from me through my daughter: that was not nice.

I think today is a much better day to begin.

In the centrifuge of life, we always have expectations of what should safely separate to the bottom. In other words, everything should come out exactly as we planned, right? Well, I've come to find out that sometimes the expectations are still swirling around on the sides...and I just can't see them yet.

Yesterday the swirling led to this, my first ever post! (yea, me) Speaking of swirling, thanks to my daughter who is always ready to pose...even on a blustery, cold day. And her picture can easily be mind-boggling.

New blog, new year...and I think it's going to be a good one! I pray blessings for you in 2008.

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalms 37: 4