Two Tiaras and a Sword

Monday, January 2, 2017

In 2017 I Want to LOB, I Hope You do, too

Well, I did it.  I didn't always do it well.  But I did it.  I managed to blog a whole year of our lives.  There were days when I really enjoyed it, and days when I was really mad at myself for setting that goal.  There were days when I wanted to share, and there were days when I did not want to share.  But through it all, I am glad that I did it, and hopefully in some small way (those of you who stuck with me through it all) I hope you were encouraged by our ups and downs.  If so, it was worth it.  And we have a whole year's worth of memories forever in print.  Thank you to those of you who took the journey with us.  I hope to blog a lot in the new year, but I don't think that I will try to blog every day.  Maybe not even every week.  But I will try to blog the blog-worthy stuff.

The last week or so, with 2016 ending, and the coming of a new year, I spent a lot of time thinking and praying.  Last year, I chose the word glorify as my word of the year.  I wanted to spend every day with the word glorify in my heart and mind.  I wanted my life and the life of our family to glorify the Lord in some way, big or small, each and every day.  There were days that I feel I/we did well.  There were days that I feel I/we failed miserably.  But I do hope that by keeping that word in my heart that it helped me do a better job of glorifying Him than ever before.  I want to continue to claim that word as one of my words for 2017, because I fully believe that our primary purpose is to glorify God.  So, I can not walk into a new year and leave it behind.  This year, I will strive to glorify Him even more than last year.

With all of that said, I have been thinking and praying for a new word for 2017.  But every time I thought that I had settled on a word, something would happen, that would make me not so sure.  There was not one word that I could choose.

Yesterday morning, as I was getting ready for church, I was thinking about the uncertainties of a coming year.  How that life can change in the blink of an eye and how every new year brings both good and bad.  Happy and sad.  Easy and hard.  Life and death.  Beginnings and endings.

The verse, "That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust." - Matthew 5:45, came to my mind.

Then we went to church, and My Prince preached about The Difference that Makes all the Difference.  He used the parable of the wise man and the foolish man.  There were two houses.  There were two builders.  There were two foundations.  There were two different outcomes.  The rain fell on both houses.  Just like God had brought to my mind earlier that the rain falls on "the just and the unjust."  We all face good and bad.  So, what is the Difference that Makes all the Difference?  Obedience.  Obedience to God and His Word.  Obedience is the foundation that we can build a strong life/home on.  Obedience - "And the rain descended and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon the house: and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock." Matthew 7:25 (emphases mine)  That rock, it's the solid rock of God's Word.  Obey it, and when the rains fall, and the floods come, and the winds blow - WHEN - not IF, your house will stand firm.

The opposite is also true. "And every one that hearth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And when the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." - Matthew 7: 26-27  If we do not obey God's word, when the rains fall, and the floods come, and the winds blow - WHEN - not IF, your house will fall, and not just fall, but "great will be the fall of it."

So, thinking about all of that, I don't want my house to fall.  I want my house to stand firm.  I want to obey God's Word.  And although I have been a student of God's Word my whole life, I feel as though I have not even scratched the surface of everything it holds.  And how can I obey what I don't know.  There is still so much of God's Word that I need to learn, so that I can obey it.  How blessed we are that we have God's Word to study.  How blessed we are that we don't have to "guess" what God wants.  He tells us straight up.  It is our responsibility to learn and obey.

I got a new CD from my niece for Christmas.  There is a song on that CD that really speaks to my heart.  I have listened to it over and over again in the last few days.  The message of the song is that sometimes we get worried or anxious, but God has got it all taken care of.  Often we want to take matters into our own hands, and try to make things work out, but God just wants us to trust Him and be still.  Be still.  BE. STILL. That phrase simultaneously strikes fear - and brings peace to my heart.  It calls to me.  It calls me to let God be God in ALL areas of my life, not just the comfortable parts.

So, I share all of that to say that I did not pick just one word for 2017.  I have picked several words, and I will use the acronym LOB to keep them fresh in my mind over the year.  I know.  It's not cute or necessarily "catchy" but it is what God has put on my heart, so I am going with it.

L - Learn - Learn, learn, learn all I can from God's Word. Soak it in.

O - Obey - Obey what I learn from God's Word.  One of my favorite authors uses the phrase "imperfect progress".  I know that this is what this will be.  There will be no perfection here.  So if you are looking for perfection, don't look in my direction.  Progress is my goal.  To learn and obey as much as I can.  And sometimes, our best lessons are learned through mistakes.  I am sure I will make mistakes, but when I do, my prayer is that I learn from them.  Progress is the goal.  To obey God more this year than ever before.

B - Be Still - I really feel like God is telling me to do what I know he wants me to do, and then just Be Still and let Him be God.  To trust Him.  To rest in Him.  To know that He has it all under control and does not need my help at all.  Psalm 46:10.  I want to Be Still and watch God work it all out in His way and in His time.

So, until I blog again...glorify, and LOB


Sunday, January 1, 2017

December 31, 2016

I woke up and watched my First 5 video and did my Bible reading.  I checked in on the eagles and saw that one of the eggs had hatched overnight.  I knew that the Youngest Princess would be thrilled to wake up and find that one of them had hatched.  Pretty soon I heard the pitter patter of little feet flying down the stairs.  It was the Youngest Princess.  She had come down to tell me that one of the babies had hatched.  We talked about it for a minute, and then she was back upstairs.

I got some cleaning and laundry done, while the girls played.  They wanted to play outside so badly, but it was cold and drizzling, so they didn't get to play out much.  It was pretty much an inside sort of day.

My Prince ran the roads getting some things we needed and getting ready for Sunday morning.  Then he did a little studying and watched a little football with the Young Prince.

I made some chocolate covered pretzels to take with us to the get together that we were going to go to that night.

The Young Prince and the Oldest Princess went with My Prince to the church to help him move some bricks and things to the platform, so that he could decorate for our new Foundations series.

I talked to my sister for a few minutes on the telephone.  It was good to catch up with her, and I am glad to hear that she is doing well.

Pretty soon it was time to meet the Youngest Princess's friend's dad, and then go to our friends' house for our New Year's Eve get together.

We stopped and got some pizzas for the kids, and then we went to our friends' house.  We ate some great pork loin, and fixings to go with it.  We enjoyed some good fellowship.  We played cards, and we laughed the New Year in.

There were no fireworks this time.  After one truck fire and one lost dog in past years, we decided that there would be no fireworks to ring in 2017.

After midnight, we headed home.  We got home and My Prince still had a little studying to do, so the Youngest Princess snuggled with me.  She was not sleepy, and wanted to talk.  I was sleepy and did not want to talk.  Plus I knew that it would be hard to get up and get moving in the morning for church.  The Youngest Princess went to her bed, and I fell promptly to sleep.  Such an exciting end to a year full of changes.

Until I blog again...


Saturday, December 31, 2016

December 28 - 30, 2016

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were a whole lot of cleaning, washing, taking breaks to watch a show with my girls from time to time.  Keeping track of the eagle and watching to see if the eggs had hatched yet or not.

My Prince and the Young Prince went to work each day.  The girls and I hung out at the house.

Wednesday night we went to church.  My Wednesday night group went well.  I love those ladies and I love studying the Bible and learning and growing and just "doing life" with them.  It has been an boost in many ways to my spiritual life.  The times in both of my groups are priceless.

Thursday night, we met with some friends for dinner at my new favorite local restaurant.  We used to go to church with these friends and get to see them all the time.  Now we rarely get to spend quality time with them.  Both of our families are very busy, and so we wanted to intentionally schedule some time during our break with them.  We enjoyed our dinner with them.  My sweet friend brought me a birthday present.  Her Mom and Dad also came to eat at the restaurant, and her mom brought me a birthday card and a little note pad as well.  So sweet!  We love their family, and we are so glad that it worked out for us to get together even if for just a  little while.

The Youngest Princess had asked if her friend could come and spend the night.  So we made plans for that.  I had the Youngest Princess take a shower

Friday night, we went to the church for the youth New Year's Eve Eve celebration.  The Youngest Princess had asked if her friend could come and spend the night.  So we made plans for that.  I had the Youngest Princess take a shower, before we left, and while she was taking her shower, I read our chapter to her, because I knew we would be in late that night, and her friend would be here.  We finished Anne of Avonlea on Thursday night, so we read the first chapter of  Anne of the Island.

I made two cherry cheesecakes to take, and as we were heading out the door, I was trying to juggle the cheesecakes and put on my jacket, and one of the cheesecakes slipped and landed top down on the floor.  GRRRR!  So we cleaned up the cheesecake mess and headed out the door with only one cheesecake, and some cookies that My Prince had baked.

At the church the teens (and a few adventurous adults) played laser tag.  I wanted to play, but I had a really bad headache, so I knew I had better not play and make it even worse.  I think the kids had a great time.  I took my Dutch Blitz cards and a friend and I helped with the food and then played some Dutch Blitz.  Several of the kids played with us as they got out of the laser tag games.  It was fun.  When it got close to 11:00, we started getting everything all cleaned up.

We came home and got everyone settled and ready to go to bed.  I was very glad to go to bed, and hopefully get rid of my headache.  I snuggled under my new down throw that My Prince bought me for my birthday and went to sleep.

Oh, and I almost forgot!  If you want to watch the eagles with us (spoiler alert, one of the eggs hatched overnight, and there is now a baby eaglet to watch), go to www.swfleaglecam.com.  It is really cool to watch.  And the little bobble headed baby eagle is adorable!

Until I blog again...

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

December 24th - 27th, 2016

Saturday, December 24 - Christmas Eve!  It was finally Christmas Eve!

I decided to do a meal in the crockpot that Aunt T had been trying to get me to fix for a while now.  My Prince braved the store to get the things we needed, and we got it started and cooking in the crock pot.  I cooked my rice, and started a pot of peas.  I was very excited about this meal, and hoping it turned out well.

We had a special Christmas Eve service planned at church, so we did several things throughout the day to get things ready for that.

The girls did a little last minute wrapping of some gifts for me.

Then we got ready and went to the church.  The service was very nice.  I loved being together with my church family on Christmas Eve.  Especially when we live so far away from our family.  It helps to make it not quite so lonely.

After the service, we passed out the hot chocolate ornaments that we had made.  It was fun.

Then we came home.  As we pulled in the driveway, Santa was coming up the street on the firetruck.  We honked for the kids to come out.  They had driven separately from us and had already gone in the house.  They made it out just in time to wave at Santa as he went by and threw them some candy canes.

Then we went in and enjoyed our dinner.  I thought that I had cooked enough for us to have leftovers, but there was barely enough for seconds.  So, I guess it turned out all right.  I know next time that if I want to have leftovers, I will have to cook more. I had two requests to fix it again and soon.  So it was a win.

After dinner, we told the kids that they could each pick one present to open that night.  The Oldest Princess picked her new computer case.  The Youngest Princess picked a snow globe from her brother.  The Young Prince picked a random box.  I told him I was surprised that he picked that one (because there was a HUGE box for him under the tree, and I had figured that he would pick that one).  When I told him that I was surprised that he had picked that one, he changed his mind and picked the big one.  It was a fire pit.  He and My Prince put it together and scrounged up some wood to burn, and we went out and made s'mores around it.  It was just barely cool enough to do it, but we had lots of fun and made some memories.  I'm glad he asked for a fire pit.  I think we all will enjoy that gift.

After that, we came in, and got ready for bed.  The girls watched a movie, and I went to sleep.

Sunday, December 25 - We got up and put out the gifts from "Santa".  I did what I could to get our meal ready, but did not plan to cook anything until AFTER church.  Then I started getting ready for church.  We woke the kids up, and they came down to see what gifts "Santa" had brought.  I think they were all pretty happy with what they got.

Then we finished getting ready for church.  We just had one morning worship service.  It was very good, and we observed the Lord's Supper as well.  We had a good crowd too, so that was nice.

After church, we came home and put the turkey, ham and hash brown casserole in the oven.  Then we let the kids open the rest of their presents.  It was a fun, relaxed afternoon.  We ate a late lunch/early dinner when the ham and hash brown casserole got done.

I talked My Prince into watching a couple of movies with us, and we pretty much just ate and watched movies the rest of the afternoon.  That night the Christmas special of When Calls the Heart came on, so we watched it too.  Then we all piled in the car and drove by our friend's house, because My Prince had promised their son that we would drive by and look at the new Christmas blow-ups he had gotten for their yard.  We also drove around in our neighborhood and looked at the lights there too.

We got to FaceTime (wall) with Grammy and Poppy in the Dominican Republic for a few minutes, and that was fun.  I am so thankful for technology that helps us to feel closer on the holidays!

When we got home, we all got ready for bed.  The Youngest Princess and I read a chapter of Anne of Avonlea, and then some of us, went to bed, and some of us watched a movie and then went to bed.

Monday, December 26 - My Birthday!  It was a good day.  We took it easy that morning, and then did a little shopping in the afternoon.  My Prince and the Oldest Princess surprised me with a beautiful tray that I loved.

We tossed around going to see a movie but changed our mind.  We went to eat, and the restaurant where we went was shorthanded.  It turned an experience that should have been about an hour and a half into a three hour experience.

After dinner, the Oldest Princess wanted to go to the mall and get a cookie for dessert.  So we did that  and walked around a little.  A couple of the kids spent a little of their Christmas money.

Then we came home.  The Youngest Princess and I read a chapter of our book, and then we went to bed.

Tuesday, December 27 - The Young Prince and My Prince had to go to work.  The girls and I had a pajama day at home.

I took the ornaments off of the tree, and I got some laundry done.  I also did some general straightening up.  The girls cleaned out some of their drawers to get rid of some clothes that they had outgrown or no longer wear anymore.  The Oldest Princess also culled out some of her shoes.

When My Prince came home, he took the Christmas tree out.  And we did a little more to put away/clean up after Christmas.  The Young Prince cleaned out some of his clothes when he got home from work too.  So, when all three children clean out clothes, it is a good day!

We had a relaxed evening.  Watching a movie and just being together.  The Youngest Princess made cookies.  The Oldest Princess made chocolate covered pretzels.

The Youngest Princess and I read our chapter and then we went to bed.

Just us.  Just a calm, cool, collected, ordinary Christmas.  No frills, no thrills.  Just precious time being together.  And I wouldn't want it any other way.

Until I blog again...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

December 6th - 23rd, 2016

Time has flown by.  We have been busy doing all the stuff that goes along with Christmas.  There were Christmas Programs, and piano recitals, and parties.

My class gave me a new charm for my Pandora bracelet.  It was so cute!  They couldn't wait for me to open it, and when I did, it was a pair of angel wings with a little pearl dangling from them.  They told me that they chose that charm because they are all little angels.  I love it!  And every time I see it, I will think of my class of 9 little angels with a heart of love.  Because they really are a group of little angels.  And I have loved teaching them so far.

Warning.  Complete total openness coming up.  I'm about to tell it like it is (or I guess was now).

It was a more relaxed Christmas this year.  I tried really hard not to get all worked up about everything, and trying to make things perfect.  Because WE are not perfect.  So there are no Pinterest worthy pictures of my home all decorated for Christmas (we did put up a tree in the living room, and the Youngest Princess put up a small tree in her room - and I let her do it ALL BY HERSELF - and I did not worry one bit about what it looked like).  That was about it, as far as decorations go.  We did stick one of those laser lights in the yard that makes red and green dots all over the house.  And yep.  That was it.  And we were happy driving around looking at everyone else's decorated houses.  No stress.  Just walk out, stick the light in the yard, plug it in, and turn on the remote.  We decorated the tree with all of our mismatched ornaments from years gone by.  No balls, no ribbon, not even a tree topper.  But it was done with love and the memories are worth more than a million matching ornaments.  And it was stress free.  I actually got to wrap some presents ahead of time this year (instead of our usual me wrapping them the afternoon of the night we were going to open them).  It was nice to have time to get them done ahead of time.

We went to join our family for our annual "Christmas in the Country" the week before Christmas.  The trip there was good.  We made it there earlier than we usually do, so that was nice.  Aunt T had a great meal fixed for us to eat when we got there.  We stayed up late and waited on everyone else that was coming in that night to arrive.  Baby H is adorable and growing like a weed.  We had fun playing with him and getting to know him a little better.  We learned that baby H has a favorite person, and everyone must acknowledge it.  It is Unka, in case there was ANY doubt.  We also got to meet Miss E.  She is J.A.'s girlfriend. We like her a lot.  She was very sweet - but of course, we expected nothing less.  She fits right in, and I still like her, even if she did beat me in a game of Pictionary.  I'm not bitter or anything.  Really.  I'm not.  We were very glad that she was able to come and that we were able to get to know her.  Hopefully we were not so crazy that we scared her off.  Hopefully she likes us too, and we will have more fun times in the future.  But next time we play Pictionary, we need to be on the same team.

We played a crazy game.  Aunt T and Lid built this huge ball of prizes, candy and money all wrapped up in saran wrap.  We could unwrap and keep any prize we were able to get to before the person next to us rolled a double with the dice.  As soon as they rolled a double, our turn was over, and we had to pass the ball of prizes to the person next to us for their turn.  It was a lot of fun, and it was pretty messy too.  I unwrapped two sticky notes which I got to turn in at the end for two gift cards.  One was to a restaurant that we don't have were we live, so I traded it with my nephew for one he had.  Now we are set for dessert the next couple of times we go out to eat.  It was fun watching how everyone is different and had different strategies for getting to the prizes.

J and M and baby H, along with J.A. and Miss E, all had to leave on Sunday afternoon.  We hated to see them all go.  Sunday evening was quiet without them all there.

Monday, P.J. and his girlfriend Miss J drove over to visit for the day.  We give them a hard time because P. J. goes by his middle name, and his girlfriend has the same name.  She said her family just calls him by his last name.  It can get a little confusing at times.  We had met her briefly earlier this year when we found out that they were going to be in Gatlinburg at the same time we were there.  We liked her then, and we like her even more now.  We had a good time visiting with them for the day.  And of course, the time flew by and all too soon it was time for them to head home.

We went to eat Crawfish one night.  The Young Prince had made many not so subtle hints that that is one of the things he wanted to do.  We were joined by our friends Mr. M, Mrs. S, and S.  It was a fun night filled with great food.  The Oldest Princess ate all 4 pounds of her Crawfish all by herself.  The Youngest Princess helped me with mine, but we still had a few left over.  The Young Prince put a pretty good dent in his as well.  My Prince opted for the shrimp, and they were delicious too.  After the Crawfish, we went and got ice cream.  I honestly don't know how any of us had any room for ice cream, but somehow we managed.  S and the Youngest Princess were very excited about the ice cream part of the evening.  After ice cream, Mrs. S drove us by a really cool Christmas light display.  It was a great evening.  We stopped by Mr. M and Mrs. S's house for a few minutes, and the kids and Aunt T played a game.  Then we headed back to Aunt T and Unka's house.

The next day Aunt T and Lid had to leave to go back home.  We hated to see them go.  Unka grilled chicken for dinner that night.  I made a couple of sides to go with it, and the Youngest Princess asked if we could eat outside next to the pool.  Unka built a fire in the outdoor fireplace, and we indulged the Youngest Princess.  Then we listened to Christmas music on Pandora and sat around the outdoor fire to stay warm.  The Oldest Princess picked on me by intentionally messing up a video I was trying to take of the fire.  But now I have a great video of her being silly and a great memory.  And she behaved for the second video take, so I also have a lovely video of the fire and Christmas music playing in the background.  The Oldest Princess also tried to scare her sister, but I happened to walk by first.  So she scared me instead.  She (the Oldest Princess) has a video of that, and we have that memory as well.

We all got a little chilly, so we went back inside to snuggle under Aunt T's big blankets and watch Christmas movies.  Before long, all nice and cozy and warm, My Prince and I could not keep our eyes open.  So we called it a night and went to get some sleep.

The next morning, we got up and started getting ready to come home.  As always, it was amazing how My Prince was able to get everything packed back in the car.  We crammed in like sardines, and with Unka doing the wave by himself, we headed off for home.  We made it as far as the corner before the Youngest Princess realized that she did not have her pillow.  So we had to turn around and go back before Unka even made it back inside.  We found the pillow and set off again.

We have made it a tradition the past few years to make a slight detour by the Duck Commander warehouse.  This year we almost decided not to go.  But the Littlest Princess really wanted to go, so we decided we would.  We found out that we could take a tour of the duck call room, and make a duck call ourselves.  So, we decided to do that.  I am glad that we did, because we met Brian.  He was the man who led our "tour".  He shared with us his testimony, and what a testimony it was.  He was living a really rough life, before he met the Robertsons.  And by meeting them and going to work with them, they introduced him to Christ.  Brian then gave his life to Christ, and became a Christian.  He turned his life around and now lives for Christ.  It was really cool to meet him and hear his story.  That was even better than the tour and the duck call for me.

We took our annual picture by the Duck Commander sign on the building, and then we continued our journey home.  We got home late and pretty much unloaded the car and went straight to bed.  I am glad that we were able to go and spend time with our family.  I wish we lived closer so that we could see them all more often, but we are thankful for the time that we do get to spend together, because it is more precious than anything else I can thank of, so I will take it any time I can get it.

Until I blog again...


Monday, December 5, 2016

November 23 - December 5th, 2016

I don't know if it is blogger, or our computer, or our wi-fi, or what, but I have had a time trying to post my last blog, and I've fallen behind on keeping up with everything since then.  So, the last two weeks or so in a quick whirl-wind blog.  Definitely not day by day, because there is no way I can remember everything, and it would be way too long of a blog if I did.

We left on the 23rd to visit the Oldest Princess at college.  It was wonderful to see her and her friends the Crazy One and the Quiet One.  We stayed very busy the whole time we were there.  There were Church Services, and volleyball playoffs (we got to watch the Oldest Princess play again!), and birthday celebrations (with a very interestingly decorated cookie cake), and  Praise Services, and Soccer Championships (the team that I cheered for back in college was actually in the championship - just like old times - so it was really cool!), and Thanksgiving Day lunch, and Fine Arts (A Christmas Carol), and meeting up with precious friends, and Alumni Basketball games, and Alumni gatherings, and  family fun and silliness and selfies in-between.  It was a fun, busy time.  And it passed by all too fast.  It was time to come home, way too soon.  We left our girl yelling out how many days until she would see us again.

Church was wonderful on Sunday the 27th, and after church, we went and picked out a Christmas tree.  That night we had our very first Hanging of the Greens.  It was very interesting.  I enjoyed the service.  If you have ever heard of the book, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, you will understand when I say that I deemed this year's Hanging of the Greens, The Best Hanging of the Greens Ever.  But it was absolutely precious and memorable, and I look forward to doing it again next year.

The school week went by pretty much as much as usual.  Monday afternoon we decorated our Christmas tree.  We decided to forgo the fancy tree this year and use all of the family ornaments.  It was fun hanging them on the tree and remembering Christmases past.  The Youngest Princess cheered at games on Tuesday night and Thursday night.  The Young Prince was voted in as a Volunteer Firefighter at a local Fire Station on Tuesday night.  He also worked his first full week in the afternoons after school.  We had church on Wednesday night.  Friday night we bought the Youngest Princess an early Christmas present (navy converse shoes), so she can wear them in the school Christmas play, and then we went out to eat to celebrate the Young Prince's birthday.  He wanted to go to a hibachi restaurant, so we went, and ate until we couldn't eat any more, and then we even brought home leftovers.

Saturday, the Young Prince went to work, and the rest of us hung out here at home getting various things done.  I worked on getting some of our winter clothes out of storage, and putting up some of our warmer clothes.  I also spent some time shelling pecans that one of our precious church members left as a surprise on our porch.

Sunday morning was the Children's Breakfast.  Then it was my turn to teach in extended care.  I had a fun time with the little ones teaching them about Jesus' birth.  After church, we came home and ate lunch, and then took the Youngest Princess to her Christmas Piano recital.  She did great.  I was a very proud mommy.  From the piano recital, it was straight to the church to drop My Prince and the Youngest Princess off at choir practice.  The Young Prince and I came home for about an hour and then we went back to the church also.  My small group went well.  It was our first week of doing our HEAR journals, and I loved seeing how God spoke to each of us through our Bible studies during the week.  After small group, the Children's Choir sang during the service.  It was a precious service.  I was very proud of all of the students who sang.  They all did a great job.

Today was a good day at school.  The girls are excited and giggly and their attentions spans are short, but we get as much done as possible.  After school we had our teacher's meeting, and then it was home to work on homework.  We ate dinner.  My Prince and the Young Prince left to go to prayer meeting at church, and the Youngest Princess finished up her homework and got ready for bed.

We watched Eloise at Christmastime (one of the Youngest Princess's favorite Christmas movies).  Now we are going to go read our chapter of Anne of Avonlea, and then get some rest so we will be ready for tomorrow.

And I think that catches you up on the main things that happened.

Until I blog again...


November 19 - 22, 2016

Saturday, November 19 - I woke up early and enjoyed the peace and quiet around the house. I watched the First 5 weekend wrap-up, and read my chapter in Proverbs and then did my daily Bible reading. It was good to be able to do all of those things without distractions. It is a rare morning that I get to do that.

The girls woke up, and had cereal for breakfast. They played and had a great time for several hours before one of them had to go home, and we had to start getting ready to go and volunteer for the Compassion Experience. We got ready to go, and left to meet our youth pastor and his wife, who were going to ride with us. We also met my friend, and handed her daughter back over to her.

We arrived early for our volunteer shifts. We thought it would take us longer than it did to get there. But that was good, because we had time to change into our Compassion shirts and be "trained" by the volunteers about to turn over their spots to us. The Youngest Princess and I worked together. It was our job to clean the iPods, and earphones after each group finished the experience. We were also to send them away kindly and offer them stickers. And keep a count of all the headphones that came back to us. By counting headphones, we counted heads, and knew how many people went through. It was very busy at times, and very slow at times. But we were all in close proximity, and we had fun teasing and cutting up with one another.

There were two guys who work for Compassion (not volunteers), who were working in the room at the end where people could sponsor children if they wanted to. As the sun went down, and it got pretty chilly where we were working, the Youngest Princess left me and hung out just up the stairs in the room with E and D. They taught her what to say to people as they finished, and let her do some of their job. She thought that was fantastic. And when it was slow going, they taught her how to shoot a rubber band, and various other tricks with rubber bands.

At one point I stepped up the stairs to check on her, and the Young Prince, our youth pastor and his wife decided to go through a story, leaving only my Prince and the Compassion worker at their stations. When I came back, they were discussing how My Prince was "Volunteer of the Night". The Compassion worker even gave him a "Volunteer of the Night" special name tag. But just a few minutes later, we had two groups come in, and My Prince forgot to do something, and so he lost his "Volunteer of the Night" status, and it was then bestowed upon me (the only other volunteer working at that point). It wasn't long before I forgot something and lost my status as well. The Compassion worker kept sneaking stickers to our youth pastor's wife, so that she could sneak and stick them on My Prince's back. She in turn involved our youth pastor and the Young Prince. So My Prince had quite a few stickers stuck all over his back by the time we were done. We had a great
time. We made some new friends, and we helped new children find sponsors, so we helped "change the story" as our shirts said.

We left tired, cold and hungry. We went with the Young Prince's suggestion for dinner. When we got there and ordered, they had changed their meat, and I (because I have a texture thing about biting into peppers and onions) could not eat my tacos. We ran through Chick-fil-A drive through, and I ate a Chick-fil-A sandwich on the way home.

We dropped our youth pastor and his wife off at their car, and then we came home and went to bed. The Youngest Princess and I read a chapter of Anne of Avonlea and then we went to sleep.

Sunday, November 20 - I woke up and got ready for church. It was as good a morning as a Sunday morning could be.

My Prince had some items he wanted to put on the remembrance table to use as visuals during his sermon. So we gathered those up after we were ready for church. We took them and set them up as he wanted, and then I went to Sunday school. Sunday school was good. I enjoy the friendship, and catching up with and banter that goes on every week. And I enjoy the solid teaching from God's Word that we receive.

My Prince did a great job preaching, and even though one of his visuals did not work as planned, it worked in a different way, and all was well. At the end of the service we had a "Send Off Celebration" for one of our young men who is going to be an interim youth pastor at another local church. It was a sweet time of memories and prayer.

After church, I was moving our things off the remembrance table, and putting the original decorations back, when one of the candle holders (with birdseed all around the candle) tipped over just as I put it on the table and birdseed went everywhere. We had to move the table and get the vacuum cleaner out. It was a mess! But on the positive side, by the time we got it all cleaned up and got to the restaurant for lunch, there was no wait. Everyone else had already had their lunch and made it home for their Sunday afternoon naps.

We ate and went home too. I studied for my Sunday evening class and for my Bible Drills class. I needed glow in the dark stars for my Bible Drills class, so we left early so that we could run by the store on our way to church. Of course, the store did not have what I needed, so I had to improvise. I bought this really cool flashing wand instead. I'll tell ya how we used it in a minute.

First, my Sunday evening group. One of us had a daughter that was sick, and another one of us was headed out of town, so that left just two of us. But we had a great discussion about our chapter and our week. We also had a discussion about something that has kind of been on both of our hearts. And we both committed to pray about the situation, and what, if anything we should do about it. It was a very sweet time.

Then in Bible Drills class. I had all of my kiddos except one. They were wound up after play practice, but they did fairly well learning our verse. My helper was out of town, so I asked another friend to help me out. She was gracious and did help me. Our verse was Matthew 5:16. After we had gone over it several times, and the kids were pretty familiar with it, I turned out the lights and brought out my cool flashing, glowing wand. They all got to hold the wand and say the verse. They all did a great job!

We came home, ate dinner, read our chapter of Anne, and went to bed.

Monday, November 21 - We slept in a little. The kids slept in a lot. Then we got ready and went to church to meet up with some of the other volunteers to go and help at our local Operation Christmas Child collection center. We helped check some of the boxes that came in and made sure that the labels were taped on correctly and that they had rubber bands on them so that the lids would not come off. The guys helped to load boxes of shoeboxes onto trailers that would take them to Atlanta to then be sent around the world. After helping there, we came home, and then went for a late lunch early dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. Then we came home and relaxed and enjoyed our evening at home.

Tuesday, November 22 - The Young Prince went to work for a local home and farm center. I got up early enough to make sure that he had some Plexus and some breakfast before he left for his day at work. My Prince went to work. The Youngest Princess woke up and came downstairs just about
the time I started my daily Bible reading. I asked her if she wanted to join me. She did, so I read it out loud to her. She stopped me from time to time to ask questions. It was a sweet time together.

My Prince came home and ate lunch with us.

We washed clothes and go ready to go on our trip to see the Oldest Princess.

The Young Prince came home from work. He had a pretty good day, but he was pretty tired. My Prince, the Youngest Princess and I delivered extra Thanksgiving food to a couple of families. Then we came back home and met up with the Young Prince.

We went to church for our mid-week service on Tuesday night this week. It was a very sweet time of sharing what all we were thankful for. It was encouraging to hear people talk about the spiritual blessings that they were thankful for instead of just the material blessings that we are all thankful for. I really enjoyed it.

We came home, did a little packing, and washed some more clothes. We read our chapter of Anne, and went to sleep.