Two Tiaras and a Sword

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thankful Thursday

For all these things, which barely scratch the surface, and many more, I am thankful to the Lord...

*For parties at school and fun times with my class

*For half days, and getting out early

*For a husband that is willing to give me up so that I can go to the family Christmas

*For my wonderful Mother-in-law who made the 8 hour trek with me, and even drove most of the way

*For safe travels

*For precious time with my awesome nieces and nephews, and great nephew

*For laughter and love

*For a sweet play that gave the Gospel clearly

*For pictures that I will treasure forever

*For warm fires

*For quiet peaceful moment that allows me to pause in the midst of the business, and sit at His feet, and worship Him for coming as a baby in a manger, knowing already exactly what He would face in the end

*For safety for my prince and Father-in-law as they drove most of the night to join us for Christmas

*For being together again

*For an aunt who went out of her way to make pies and show her love

*For Christmas trees that blow over but do not break

*For Christmas gifts and great memories

*For the smiles that say we bought the right thing

*For playing with my children

*For another year of life marked on the calendar and all of the blessings it brought with it

*For gifts that we would never buy ourselves, but will definitely enjoy

*For a wonderful niece who helped to put together a whole Leggo town

*For a fun day meeting someone I've watched a few times on television

*For a delicious dinner

*For a fun evening playing games and laughing with the family

*For being in the country where I lose track of the days, and almost forget that it is Thursday

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thankful Thursday

So MUCH to be thankful for this week!  But for the sake of time and space, here are a few of the highlights...

*For Emmanuel - God with us - not a dead god, or a man, or a statue, but the one, true, living God who dwelt among us then, and dwells with us still!  I could end Thankful Thursday right there, and it would be enough!  God with us!  God with me.  God with you.  God with us, when we feel His presence and when we don't.  I am extremely thankful that God is with me all the time!

*For tough decisions and how they make us stronger

*For comfort when we hurt

*For peace when we are afraid

*For a three pointer for the young prince

*For a fun game for the youngest princess

*For responsible children

*For a chance to get most of the rest of our Christmas shopping done

*For a fun day with my prince

*For time in the Lord's house worshipping Him with people I love

*For an answer to prayer

*For the chance to meet someone I've had the privilege to pray for

*For fun and laughter with friends

*For precious children who use their talents to glorify the Lord, and the sweet programs they put on

*For the very wonderful adults who organized, and helped with the children's programs

*For someone who was willing to step in at the last second and get a job done

*For a precious gift that I will treasure forever

*For a small gift that made me smile

*For a surprise gift from a friend that totally made my day...week...well, month!

*For a new contact, and the chance to share the Gospel with her

*For a great friend and her small act of kindness that really helped me out

*For a chance to wrap some presents

*For the oldest princess' help in wrapping those presents

*For the chance to hold my baby while she slept

*For a fun, and tasty treat from a sweet church member

*For a new baby to love on and spoil (a friend's, not ours)

*For light at the end of the tunnel

For all of these things and many more, I am thankful to the Lord.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thankful Thursday

*For God's blessings on a sweet family we love - when the story could have ended much differently

*For a great dinner - at home - around the dinner table

*For an evening at home

*For a fun day making memories with our students

*For safety for all traveling to and from the game

*For a great game for the young prince

*For a fun time hanging out with an energetic group of kids

*For a soft comfortable bed at the end of a loooooooong day

*For the soft pitter patter of raindrops as my Saturday morning alarm clock

*For black sweatpants at Dollar General

*For answers to "little prayer requests" proving that God cares about even the smallest details in our lives

*For getting a little more of my to do list done

*For celebrating life with friends we love

*For a good night's rest

*For laughter and fun

*For health when so many are sick

*For a fun night out with my prince and some friends - even if our first choice of restaurants was closed

*For a night of worship

*For the peace that singing together with a room full of fellow believers brings

*For a successful surgery for a friend

*For unexpected good news

*For getting some things done that were weighing heavy on me

*For the opportunity to spend time with some great ladies, and be a blessing to someone at the same time

*For tap dancing wise men who make me smile - as well as make me a little crazy

*For warm beds on cold mornings

*For blankets, jackets, and heaters

*For sweet hugs from the youngest princess

*For mid-day visits from the young prince and the oldest princess

*For friends who were really sick, but are much better now

*For an unexpected, exciting, life changing blessing for a sweet couple we love

*For God's strength, both physical and spiritual, when our strength is totally gone

For these things and many, many more, I am thankful to the Lord.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Youngest Princess Says...

After finishing a puzzle on the iPad, "Look it's a!?...Or fish!...A seahorse!

Singing in the back of the car, "Rocking' around the Christmas Tree, it's a new born holiday..."  Well, it IS a holiday about a newborn...

While playing school with all of her stuffed animals, just like I used to do, "Look mommy!  I'm really teachering!"

After a conversation with someone else about her Granddaddy being a missionary, she turned to me and asked, "So, does that make me half missionary?"

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Psalms 30:12
To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

*The smile on her face and her glance my way to make sure I was watching after she made both shots resulted in baskets

*A great dinner cooked by my wonderful husband

*For the youngest princess' excitement over learning to whistle

*A chance to be a blessing

*A "mix-up" that turned out not to be a "mix-up" after all, and completely worked out

*A sweet spirit in both Sunday services

*The end of a wonderful Bible Study that taught me much about myself and my reactions to others

*The chance of a possibility to make a difference in someone's life

*An extra day to get something done

*Helping hands for my bulletin board

*A lesson learned, even if it was the hard way

*Time at home with my girls

*Our health in the midst of SO MUCH sickness

*The Oldest Princess who is SUCH a blessing to me

*The Young Prince who is growing up and maturing in front of our eyes

*That the Youngest Princess' first ever wiggly tooth hasn't fallen out yet, because I'm just not ready for that

*Christmas decorations, and excitement over all our holiday plans

*An answer to prayer

*The joy of watching someone who has very little share what they do have

*Having time to just love on the Youngest Princess

*Family traditions that will make lifetime memories

*Warmer weather

*For the sound of the Youngest Princess singing praises

*For my crockpot, and dinner that is ready when I get home

*For exciting news for good friends

For all these things, and so many more, I give glory and thanks to God.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 30

Whew!  I laughingly told the prince that I was going to be thankful that the thirty days of thankfulness is is tough to write a blog a day for thirty days!  It take some serious planning ahead when your schedule is almost made me crazy...well, crazier than I already am.  It is much less stressful to wrap it all up in a once a week thankful after today, tune in next Thursday :-)!

It will be nice not to have the pressures of a daily blog, but that is not really what I'm thankful for.  Today I am thankful for people who encourage others.  Life can be hard sometimes, and things sometimes just don't go the way we had planned.  But I am thankful when God sends just the right person along with just the right words to say, or thing to do that really helps.  I love it when it happens out of the blue.  God sent someone to encourage us a few days ago, and that person may never know how timely her words were, but they were precious to me.  A while back a friend heard that we were going to have an especially busy week, so she fixed dinner for us one night, and that meant more than the world to me.  Over the past few months, a friend called to see if we were home and dropped off a plate of cookies with a hug and a smile.  A student dropped by with a six pack of bottled cokes.  Someone else went out of their way to bring me a treat.  Another friend dropped by with a gift and a card saying what she couldn't say with words, but could say with a pen.  All small gestures that speak volumes of love to our souls.  I am thankful for people who listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and then follow through to be an encouragement to others.  And just as we have been encouraged and blessed, I pray that our family can encourage and bless others.  I pray that we spread the thankfulness, not just in November, but every day of the year!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 29

Today I am thankful for my children's coaches.  They are a great group of people.  They make schedules, they drive children all over the state for games.  They encourage, they council, they doctor, and they even fuss when needed.  They give of their time, and talents to help our children have a good time while learning teamwork and self discipline.  They have way more patience than I could ever muster.  Our kids love you, and I am extremely thankful for you!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 28

Today, I am thankful for our wonderful Youth Pastor and his amazing wife.  We were so excited when God worked it all out for them to come to our church.  And they have done a phenomenal job!  They love our teens, and do everything they can to show them that love.  They work hard to come up with fun activities, coreograph dramas, go on outings, organize garage sales for missions, take our teens on outreach events, plan get togethers, and attend sporting events.  They call and text and encourage.  They show concern, pray and visit.  They teach God's Word to our teens without excuse.  They challenge our teens to be more Godly.  And most importantly, they practice what they preach in their own lives.  I am thankful for them, and their godly influence in the lives of my own children, as well as in the lives of our church teens and those in our community.  We are blessed beyond measure to have them!  And I am VERY thankful for their servant's heart and willingness to do one of the toughest jobs ever.  You two are the best!  We love and appreciate you for ALL you do and for your sweet spirits!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 27

Today I am thankful for the time I have each night to snuggle with and read to the youngest princess. I love reading to her, and she loves to be read to.  I love how excited she gets.  I love that she talks about the characters as if they are close friends.  I love that when we watched the movie based on the book, she continued to say, "That's not what happened in the book!"

She always reminds me, because she doesn't want me to forget.  We try to read one chapter a night, but she often begs for more.  She wants to include others in our story time as well, and she often begs for her Daddy to stay and listen while we read.  She remembers what we have read in great detail, and loves to tell the story to anyone who will listen.

 I love it on the weekends when she brings the book to me during the day and asks to read.  Often the chapters end in cliffhangers, and it is hard to wait until the next night to find out the resolution.  I love that she enjoys it as much as I do.

I hope she continues to have a great love for reading.  I am thankful for our special time together, and for the memories I have of reading to my older children as well.  I am thankful for simple pleasures that bring us closer, make sweet memories, and add joy to our lives.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 26

Today I am thankful for a holiday at home.  Living away from family means that on holidays we often have to travel and be away from our own home.  And we love traveling and spending time with our families. But this Thanksgiving, my in-laws were gracious enough to come to us.  It was very nice not to have to worry about packing us all up and traveling somewhere else.  It was wonderful to be able to stay home for a holiday, and still be able to spend it with our family.  I am very thankful for our Thanksgiving at home.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 25

Today I am thankful for holidays.  I am thankful for my favorite holiday which is Thanksgiving, because for a while at least, most people give some thought to how blessed they are, and give God the credit for it.   I am also thankful for Thanksgiving, because it is the only holiday where we focus on what we already have, instead of what we want.  I also love Thanksgiving, because we get to eat one of my favorite things...turkey!  If you are what you eat, I'm a big turkey, because I've eaten plenty of it this year!

I'm thankful for holidays because they bring families together.  We get to see, and spend time with family members who may normally live far away.  I love the joking and laughter that goes on when we get together.

I love holiday music.  I love holiday decorations.  I love that it is cold outside, but warm and cozy inside. I love the memories holiday evoke.  I love that my wonderful mother and father-in-law were here and helped us with our decorating this year.  I love the excitement in the children's eyes.

I am thankful for having a reason to celebrate.  If Jesus had never come to earth, there would be no Christmas.  But He did come, because He loves us so.  He wanted to do His Father's will, and make a way for us to go to heaven.  And THAT is something we can all be thankful for!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 24

Psalms 127:3
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord:
and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Fourteen years ago.  It is hard to wrap my mind around that number.  14.  I know they told me that I would blink, and it would pass, but I could not believe it then.  I believe it now.  Because I have blinked, and it has passed.

He used to be such a little thing.  And now, today, he is 14.  A young man.  Not a little boy any more.

He is thoughtful.  He worries about others, and their feelings.  He would never do anything that would hurt someone's feelings on purpose.  He takes the side of the underdog.  He has strong convictions.  He believes that right is right and wrong is wrong, and he does not give in to peer pressure.

He loves to kid with others.  He is rarely serious.  He is full of energy, and always has been.  He knows how to have fun and to make other people smile.

He has a heart for the things of the Lord, and is sensitive to Him and His Word.  He deeply wants those who do not know Christ to have the same personal relationship with Him as he does.  He weeps for those who are not saved.

He loves to be outside.  He loves to hunt and fish.  He loves guns and knives and all things manly.

He enjoys playing sports, and gives it his all.  When he is not playing, he is on the sideline fully supporting those on the field or court with encouragement and prayers.

He is a great brother.  He often has patience and does the things his sisters want to do, or watches the things they want to watch.

He is funny, creative, tenderhearted and witty.  He is sensitive and caring.  He is talented musically.  He can do anything that he puts his mind to.  He is smart, and usually does great in school.

He loves his family, and he is not ashamed to show it.  Even more important than that, he loves the Lord and is not ashamed to show it.  I am thankful for the young man that he has grown to be, and for the way he stands strong for the Lord.  I love to watch how the Lord uses him now, and I look forward to what the Lord has in store for him in the future!

Knowing how close we came to losing him, he is definitely a blessing to our family and I am VERY thankful for him...Today, on his 14th birthday, as well as EVERY day of the year!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 23

Psalms 127:3
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord:
and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

She is one of the greatest blessings I've ever received.  She is strong.  She works hard.  She is determined.  She gives us many reasons to smile and she is dangerous with a straw.  So watch out!

She cares about others, and wants to be a friend to everyone.  She will give up things she really wants for the sake of others.

She is nurturing.  She takes care of others who need help.

She is girly, but not afraid to be a tom boy too.  She is not afraid to try new things.  She is humble and godly.

She is an awesome athlete.  Check out that hustle!

She is a great big sister.  She is responsible.  She looks out for her brother and sister, and she doesn't mind bossing them around.

She wants to do her very  best in all she ever does.  She works hard, and is a great example for those who will follow in her shoes.

She is mature beyond her years.  She is respectful and obedient.

She is beautiful inside and out, and I am proud to be her Mom.  I am so thankful for her!  She is our oldest princess, and we love her to the moon and back.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 22

Psalms 127:3
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord:
and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

She was greatly anticipated and dearly loved before she was ever born.  She arrived packed full of TONS of personality.  She loves people and loves to be the center of attention.  She loves to get her way, and being the baby of the family, she often does (did I just hear an AMEN from her older brother and sister?).

She can talk non-stop from the moment she wakes up until the time she falls asleep, and sometimes even while she sleeps.  She loves to perform for anyone who will watch.  She loves to boss people around.  She is smart as a whip.  She doesn't like to go to sleep at night, and she really doesn't like to wake up in the morning.

She has a quick wit that keeps us all on the edge of laughter.  She is as sweet as possible one minute, and practically impossible the next.  She is 6 going on 15.  She has started having her own fashion sense.  She is rough and tumble and loves wrestling, playing legos, and climbing trees with her brother.  She loves playing volleyball with her sister.

She is girly, and loves playing kitchen, baby doll and dress up.  She loves teasing her Daddy.  She loves reading with me.  She loves her cat.  She loves playing the piano.

She tries very hard at all she does, and she gets very upset with herself when she makes a mistake.  She adds MUCH life into our family.  God blessed us greatly when He gave her to us.

He has also taught us many lessons by giving her to us.  I can't imagine life without her.

Today on the day that corresponds with her birthday date, I am thankful for the child that probably would have been an only child if she had been born first instead of last.  Today, as every day, I am thankful for the youngest princess!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 21

They are an awesome group!  They are smart, funny, inquisitive, and full of potential.  They are hardworking and eager to please.  They are full of energy.

They have been together for years, except for one who is new, and she fits right in.

They have parents who are teachers, health care workers, stay-at-home moms, and social workers.  Some have more than enough, some struggle to make it all work.

They wear uniforms, but add their own unique style.

They love to play games, but hate to lose.

They love Bible, History, and Science.  If you ask them, lunch and P.E. are their favorites.  But they grumble and groan like the Israelites we are learning about when it comes time for Language or Penmanship.

They are tough on each other, but stand together like a mighty army when outside forces come against any of them.

They laugh at one another.  They encourage one another.  They are jealous of each other.  They will go out of their way to help one another out.

We have been through two fractured wrists, one broken finger, and a possible fractured foot...and that's just the first half of the year!  I might just need to bubble wrap everything in sight for the second semester!

They are singers, musicians, actors and actresses, artists, scientists, educators, athletes, Bible scholars, builders, dancers and clowns.

And I am the blessed one who gets to spend every school day with them...makes me smile just thinking about it!  Today, I am VERY thankful for my job, which allows me to spend my days with this great group of kids.  A group that God has sewn together like a patchwork quilt.  Each block  extremely unique and special in its own way, but, working all together...a fifth grade "family"... a masterpiece!

And I am thankful!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 20

Today I am thankful for lots of things that I often take for in random order here they are:

Water.  I can go a few feet in my home, and have running water at the turn of a knob.

The sunshine that streams in my window and brings warmth and cheer.

Electricity.  For many reasons.

Space heaters.  Just about couldn't live without mine.

Music on my iPod.

Feather pillows.

Tennis shoes that I love.

Our dogs.

Our cats.

Kitchen appliances.

My comfy chair.

Flannel sheets.

Washing machines and dryers.

Hair dryers.

Mail service.

Garbage service.


Leaves that turn colors.

Birds that chirp their praises to the Lord.

Nature in general...animals, plants, rocks, oceans, mountains, lakes, sunsets, stars...all of it points to a creative loving Father.

Hugs from my children.

Calls from my family.






Books.  Books.  Books.

Front porch swings.




Sunflower Seeds.

Freckles scattered across the noses of my children.

Cars that get us where we need to go.

For all of these things, and many more, both small and great, I am thankful!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 19

What a totally awesome day in the Lord's house today!!  (Yesterday to those of you reading this tomorrow when I actually post it.)

As a Pastor's wife, I am thankful for a "front row" seat into the way God is moving in the lives of people.  I love it more than anything for someone to catch me before or after the service and let me know how God has worked in their life that week.  It thrills my heart to know that God is winning victories every day.  It makes me excited to see His people yielding to Him in obedience over pride.    I love that we added a new member this morning, that we delivered boxes to folks who otherwise would not have had a Thanksgiving dinner this afternoon, that two men gave testimonies and were baptized tonight, and that we even had one impromptu baptism!  I am also thankful to be a part of a church that has a huge heart for others, and is willing to be His hands and feet.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Youngest Princess Says

After explaining to her why she couldn't do something that she wanted to do, by giving her examples of what she would do in said situation, she conceded by saying, "Okay, okay, you know my brain!"

Telling me about skating at a friend's house, "Well, you know how they have concreek..."

It's that time of the year when lady bugs are everywhere, so she says, "We have a lady bug infection!"  I really should tell her that the correct word is infestation, but it is just so cute when she says infection in the place of infestation.

Telling me a story about how they color so much in school that they are constantly having to ask the teacher to peel back the paper on their crayons...she said that she asked the teacher if they could all just peel all of the papers off of their crayons.  The teacher said they could, so they all got in the floor and peeled their crayons.  Then she giggled and said, "Now all of our crayons are naked!"

The oldest princess is learning how to drive.  While we were all in the car, I was talking to her and telling her to pay attention to how her Daddy made turns.  We came up to a stop sign, and the youngest princess said, "See, here's a stop sign.  You stop at a stop sign."  This from the six year old...Then when he made the turn, I told the oldest princess to notice how nice and smooth her Daddy turned.  He commented something about how he was smooth (all of this happened while we were turning onto the bumpiest road in our neighborhood).  The youngest princess then sarcastically said, "And you call THIS smooth!?!"

It was the first day of Upward basketball practice, and the youngest princess was having a tough time getting out of bed.  I told her if she didn't get out of bed, she wasn't going to be able to go.  So she asked her Daddy, "Could you just drive the bed there?"  Oh, there are some mornings when I feel the same way...

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 18

Today, as we preparing to go out after church to take Thanksgiving dinners in boxes to families who would otherwise not have a Thanksgiving dinner, I can't help but be thankful for having enough, and then some to share.  God has not only met our needs, but has given us more than we need, and from that overflow, we, and other families in our church are able to share those blessings and be a blessing to others.  And, in being able to be a blessing, we ourselves are blessed!  So, we are doubly blessed!  I can't wait to go out today and share the love of Christ!  We are praying that those who receive a box, but do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, might come to know Him, or come closer to knowing Him through this ministry.

Today I am thankful that we are blessed with more than enough, so that we can share with those who do not have enough.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness -Day 17

The battle was raging, and as long as the leader held his staff up in the air, his army was winning.  But a person can only stand with their arms lifted for so long, before they tire out and need to rest them.  So the leader would get tired, and drop his arms.  When he did, the battle would turn, and the enemy would begin to win.  I am sure the leader gave it all he had, and kept his arms raised as long as he possibly could, but he was only human, and human strength only goes so far...

It's a good thing the leader had friends.  Two very good friends in this case.  They saw their leader's plight, and came in as reinforcements.  First they found him a rock so he could sit and rest.  Then they stood beside him.  One on one side, one on the other, and they lended their support.  Each one helped him keep an arm raised.  With the help of his two friends, the leader was able to keep his arms raised long enough for his army to win the battle.

The army: The Israelites

The enemy: The Amalekites

The leader: Moses

The friends: Aaron and Hur

The lessons God spoke to my heart while reading this story in Exodus 17 this morning:

Moses had a serious situation on his hands, but he was not fighting the battle.  He was simply appealing to God for help, and giving God the glory.  The Lord was the one doing the actual fighting. 
God doesn't expect us to fight our battles.  He only expects us to obey and give Him the glory, so He can fight for us.  I don't know about you, but that is pretty comforting to me!

When Moses' human strength to obey was gone, his friends came in as reinforcements.  Moses was willing to obey and give God the glory,  he was just humanly exhausted with the effort, and physically could not obey and point to the Lord any longer.  It was at that time that his two great friends stepped in and helped him out.  
There have been times in my life, when I have been willing to obey and want to give God the glory, but my human strength has been exhausted, and I have had friends step up to the plate and encourage me, and strengthen me.  There have been other times, when I have been able to step in and be that friend who encourages or lends strength to a person who is struggling.  I thank God for both situations...friends who help, and friends who I can help.

Moses alone would not have been able to keep his arms up long enough for the Israelites to defeat the Amalekites.  So God sent Aaron and Hur to strengthen and encourage him.  
God did not design us to do life totally alone.  He has provided friends and family members to walk through life with us, and to be there to strengthen and encourage us along the way.

The thing I am thankful for today:  Friends.  Friends near and far.  Friends old and new.  Friends I see everyday.  Friends I only keep in touch with through technology.  Friends who have stepped in an been my Aaron and my Hur.  Friends who have been my Moses.  I am thankful that God has placed each and everyone of you in my life!  I couldn't win the battle without you!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness -Day 16

Today I am thankful for every person who has prayed, studied and sacrificed their time to teach me about God's Word.  From my parents, to Sunday school teachers, to children's church workers, to  AWANA workers, to youth pastors and youth workers, to teachers at San Jacinto Christian School, to teachers at college, to Bible study teachers, to pastors, to friends who shared a verse of scripture or some way God was working in their personal life...each and every person who ever taught me anything about God's Word.  I am thankful for each of you, and the investment you have my in my life: the investment you have made in eternity.  I would not be where I am today without each and every one of you!  I love you all, and appreciate you all very much!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness -Day 15

I remember when the call came.  My mom and dad and I all loaded into the car and headed to the hospital.  We were very excited!  My sister was in labor and I was about to be an aunt.  That is very exciting anytime, but especially if you are still just a kid yourself.  My sister is 12 years older than me, so I was only 12 years old when my first nephew was born.  And a few months later my first niece was born to my brother and sister-in-law.  I loved them at first sight!  They were like little living baby dolls!  I fed them, changed diapers, sang to them, rocked them to sleep, played with them, read to them, and yes, even fought with them.

 A couple of years later, there was another nephew.  Then a couple more years and another nephew.  Then a couple more years, and one more nephew...the last of the bunch until my young'uns came along some seven years later.  And since mine have been born, I've gained a niece by marriage, and another nephew recently got engaged.  My nieces and my nephews are very, very special to me.  In some ways more like little sisters and brothers, than nieces and nephews.  In some ways almost like my own!

I am so thankful for each one of them, and all that they add to our family.  

They make me laugh.  

They make me worry. 

They make me pray.

They make me proud.

They make me feel old.

They teach me things.

They challenge me.

They keep me sharp.  

They ask me tough, gut wrenching, rubber meets the road questions.
They make me wish I could wiggle my nose and make everything okay.  

They make me wish I could click my heels together three times and be back home again.  

They make me wish money (or airplane tickets) grew on trees.  

They make me want to gather them all under my wings like a momma hen.

They make my life fuller and more complete.  

They make Chronicles of Narnia, blanket forts, Shrinky Dinks, Wicked, magnetic bumper stickers, videos of VBS, Christmas programs, elf antics, iPad games, board games,  girlfriend's names, fishing trips and family pictures into special memories.  

From the first breath of the first nephew, who now has his own little one, to the heartfelt talk I just had with one of them, I am thankful beyond measure for my nieces and my nephews, and the love and joy they add to my life!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 14

I was in elementary school when I knew.  I remember sitting in my desk as my teacher Mrs. Miley  taught us about cause and effect.  I knew then.  I wanted to be a teacher.  A teacher just like Mrs. Miley, and Mrs. Palko, and Mrs. Mayberry, and Mrs. Darling, and Mrs. Schilling, and definitely NOT like my third grade teacher.  But in my short school career, I had been blessed with some awesome teachers, and one, well, one who just needed to go ahead and retire.  Anyway, it was the love of learning instilled in me by that wonderful group of ladies that made me know I wanted to teach when I got older.

From then on, through middle school, high school, and college, I have had my fair share of great teachers, as well as a very few who should have joined my third grade teacher in retirement.  I am extremely thankful for every teacher I've ever had.  The good, and the not so good, because I learned many, many lessons from each one of them.

I am also thankful for the teachers who spend their days with my children.  Teachers who study and plan, and go out of their way to make learning fun.  Teachers who do all they can to pass on knowledge to my children to help them achieve their dreams.  Teachers who not only teach character, but also model it.  Teachers who love my children, and treat them as they would their own children.  Teachers who could be making more money at just about any other job, but pass up the money in order to minister and pour themselves out into young lives.

Today, I am thankful for people who love education and choose to spend their lives passing on that love to others.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 13

Today, I am thankful for our Sunday night ladies' Bible study.  I am thankful for the things I have been able to learn.  I am thankful for the ways God has worked in my life, and changed me through it.  I am thankful for the ladies who are going through it with me, and the way they challenge and encourage one another.  I am thankful for the stories of "imperfect progress" that they share with me, about how God is working in their lives.  I am thankful for their willingness to be open about how God is dealing with them, so that they may be an encouragement and blessing to others. I am thankful that my eyes have been opened to some of the reasons why I come Unglued and how I can work to be more godly and honest in my future interactions with others.  I love doing the homework during the week, and then getting together on Sunday nights to compare notes and see how God spoke to our hearts through it.  Yes, even when the homework takes me out of my comfort zone.  I am thankful for our Sunday night Bible study, and for each and every lady that is taking the journey of "imperfect progress" with me.

On a funny note, we've been talking about it so much at our house, that my husband dreamed he met Lysa TerKeurst, the author of the study we are doing.  He said he looked for me everywhere, in order to introduce us, but he couldn't find me, so he just explained to her that the term "unglued" is now a daily part of the language in our home.  I sure do hate it that he couldn't find me, because I really would like to meet her in person!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 12

Today, I am thankful for the men and women who sacrifice everything, and lay their lives on the line so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy today.  I can not imagine being in the military myself, or being married to someone who is in the military.  It is definitely not God's calling on my life.  But I sure am glad that it is the calling on the lives of some, and that they are so great at what they do.  I am thankful that they are brave enough to do what they do for the love of their families, and their country, so that we all may be able to live in freedom.  I am thankful for the families that sacrifice long periods of time away from their loved ones, so that they may serve our country.

My Daddy served in the Air Force.  He was even stationed overseas in France for a while.  It was while he was stationed in France that he received a telegram letting him know that his own father had passed away.  So, in serving our country, he had to find out via telegram that his father had passed away, and he did not get to go home for the funeral.  I am sure tha was a dark time in his life.  Yet he was always the first to make sure that Veterans were recognized, and those who gave their lives were memorialized.  He loved his country deeply, and believed in the principles it was founded upon.  He passed that love of country on to us as his children.  So not only on this day, when I have a day off, and the soldiers who are fighting for us do not have the day off, but on every day, I am thankful for those who selflessly serve in our armed forces.  May God bless them with strength, bravery, and safety!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 11

A year ago on this morning, I was a bundle of nerves.  My prince was preaching in view of a call to be a pastor.  Our family's future hung in the balance.  In a few short (very long, actually) hours, we would have an answer to months of praying, questionaires, and interviews...we would know if my husband would be the next pastor of this awesome church.

They had the morning all planned out, and we nervously and prayerfully went through each step.  I remember walking out the door when it was over, and taking a deep breath, as if I had been holdimg my breath for the last 45 minutes.

We drove home in virtual silence, deciding we would wait until we got the results of the vote before going for lunch.  We were too nervous to eat anyway.

We didn't have to wait long.  The head of the pulpit committee called to tell us that the church voted to call my husband as the pastor.  He accepted the call of course, and the rest has been one amazing year.

Today, I am thankful for my church, and my church family.  I am thankful for the things we have seen the Lord do, and the ways we have seen Him move.  I am thankful for the opportunity to serve, along with my husband, one of the greatest groups of the body of Christ.  We have fallen in love with this wonderful group of huge hearted people.  People who have a heart for the Lord, for others, and for their community.  We have laughed and cried with them.  We have celebrated and mourned with them.  We have known most of them only a year, but feel as though we have loved them forever.  I am very thankful that God has given us the privilege to serve, and love such a precious group of gracious, supportive, encouraging people!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thirty Days if Thankfulness - Day 10

Today I am thankful for our home.  It is over 100 years old, and has character from top to bottom (and small closets, because people didn't need big closets that long ago).  It provides safety and shelter.  It is where I "belong".  It is full of life and energy and laughter.  It holds our "earthly treasures", and is the launching pad for our hopes and dreams.  It is one of my most favorite places to be.  And right now, it reminds me of something that happened in college...

Every semester, we had a "White Glove" cleaning inspection.  And everything had to be perfect, or you would receive demerits.  My friend's parents came to visit, on the weekend of White Glove.  Her mother was very impressed at how wonderful the room looked.  That night, we had Fine Arts...where we dressed in formals and got a good dose of culture.  Anyway, after three girls plus several of their friends get ready in a small room for a formal occasion, let's just suffice it to say that the room is no longer in White Glove shape.  After whatever performance we attended that night, my friend's mom came back up to the room with us.  When we opened the door, and she saw the room, she proclaimed, "Oh my word!!  It threw up!!"  And that pretty much accurately described it.

So, why does my house, that I am very thankful for remind me if this college funny?  I wish I could say it is because it is in White Glove condition.  Unfortunately, that is not the reason.  The reason is because right now my house looks like it didn't just throw up, it looks like it has had a full blown case of the flu!

So, I am very thankful for our home, and I am also thankful for a day that I actually have some time to do some serious cleaning,  as well as for several great helpers in order to get the job done.  With that said I'm off to clean!  If you are planning on stopping by, please wait until tonight, so I'll have that much longer to get some things done...unless of course you are the laundry fairy or Mary Poppins, in which case you are welcome to stop by immediately.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 9

Today I am thankful for prayer.  We have a God who loves us, and cares about what is going on in our lives.  Sometimes it is very evident, because He answers right away.  Other times, He may feel distant, because He does not answer right away, or because He answers differently than we want Him to.  But every time when He answers, we can rest assured that He answers according to what is best for us.  As a parent, I absolutely want what is best for my children.  But there are times when I make mistakes, because I am tired, or because I may not know the whole situation.  But God never makes mistakes.  That means that we can trust Him completely...with everything.  Knowing this, takes the pressure off.  I can do my very best, and leave everything else up to the Lord.  And if I keep up a daily conversation with Him, I grow closer to Him, and better understand His heart.  And the better I understand His heart, the more I can trust Him.  It is definitely a win-win situation.  I can't imagine what it would be like to not have prayer!  I can't imagine not being able to go to God at any time for any reason.  Prayer is definitely a blessing, and a privilege from God.  And today, as with every day, I am very thankful for the ability to make my requests known to Him.

I know that many of you reading this have special requests on your hearts.  Some I may know about, some I may not.  But, if I know you personally, and you have asked me to pray for something specific, know that I pray for you often.  And those of you who I may not know personally, you just drop in to read from time to time, I pray for you as well!  I would ask that you also feel free to lift me up in your prayers as often as the Lord brings me to your mind.  One can never pray enough, or be prayed for enough.  What a blessing and privilege it is to pray for one another!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thirty Day of Thankfulness - Day 8

Today I am thankful for my wonderful Mother and Father-in-Law.  I have said it before, and I will say it again, I have been extremely blessed by having some of the greatest people on earth as In-Laws.  They are godly people who love the Lord and serve Him faithfully.  They both have a great sense of humor, and are tons of fun to be around. I know that I can go to them and receive wise godly council any time.  I love these two precious people!  They are very supportive, yet not intrusive.  They are encouragers.  They are prayer warriors.  They are super grandparents and are to be commended for all of the tea parties, fishing trips, games of Pretty, Pretty Princess, garage sale trips, afternoons in the park, lunches at McDonald's, rocking Birthday cards and so much more!  I am very thankful for them, and the examples they are to us and to our children.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 7

Today I am thankful for health.  My health, and the health of my family.  God has blessed us with health, and we do not take it for granted.  We have many friends and acquaintances who are dealing with major health issues.  Heartbreaking health issues.  So, the fact that none of us are on any medications of any kind, none of us have any surgeries scheduled, none of us even have any complaints beyond a sore throat is very positive.  Yes, today I am healthy, my husband is healthy, and my children are healthy.  That is a lot to be thankful for!

And as thankful as I am for our health, for those of you who are facing serious health issues, please know that you are constantly in my prayers.  I love you, and pray for your healing daily!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Maybe We Are in Worse Shape than I Thought...

Her big blue eyes looked at me intently as she asked me her very important question, "Mommy, who do I vote for?"   Our school had planned to have a mock election, and my sweet little first grader wanted some serious advice.  I was shocked that this child who lived in my home for the past four years would have to ask such a question.  But she had asked it, and I could tell that she was all business.  So we talked about it in terms that her young mind could understand.

As we walked into the school together this morning, she was nervously saying something under her breath.  When I asked her what she said, she was rehearsing, "Vote for                  ."  putting the name of the candidate she was working on remembering in the blank, so she would vote for the right person.  Bless her precious little heart, she understood the gravity of what she was about to do, and she did not want to mess it up in any way.  It was very important to her, and it should be!

After school, she went with her Daddy and I, who were voting for real.  She stood beside me while I cast my vote.

After voting, we went out to eat, while proudly wearing our I Voted stickers.  We walked in to see our friends, who also proudly wore their I Voted stickers.  We talked to their children about the results of the school's mock election.

Our waitress was lovely young lady in her early twenties.  Maybe not with the greatest circumstances in life, but definitely with quite a bit of potential.  We have been there before.  We have had this same young lady as our waitress before.  She stopped beside our table and said, "I know I can ask you this question.  What are we voting for today?"

My husband sputtered and stammered as to how to answer her...was she really serious?  I began looking around the restaurant for the hidden camera, because we had to be on Candid Camera.

My husband finally said, "the president".  She replied, "Oh, okay, that's what I thought.  I just haven't watched any news lately."  Lately?  As in like the last YEAR?!?  "I'm not going to vote anyway."

When we asked her why she wasn't going to vote she said dismissively, "I don't like either one of them.  And my vote wouldn't really count anyway.  Well, it would, but..."  She shrugged and walked away.  My heart broke as she did.  How is it that she lives in a country where men and women die for her right to vote, and she, with so much potential, didn't get it?  How is it that this is one of the most important elections that has ever taken place in her life and she doesn't even care?  How is it that my fifth grade class understands the gravity of who becomes the next president and how it affects their future, but she doesn't see it?  Where did we fail?  What could we have done differently to help this young lady understand?

She never returned to our table.  I think she was a little embarrassed after asking us.  The owner finished waiting our table for whatever reason.  If she would have come back, I would have said something to try to persuade her to vote after all.  I would have encouraged her to do her civic duty, because she enjoys the rights of being a citizen of the United States.  Yet, she did not return to our table, and I was trying to come to grips with the fact that the young lady REALLY DID NOT EVEN KNOW what we were voting for today.  I don't understand how in the world she could live in this country and be clueless to the fact that we were voting for our President!  And worse than her not knowing, she did not even care.  How in the world?

Maybe we are in worse shape than I thought...

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 6

They didn't live in a mansion.  They didn't have Ivy League educations.  They did not do anything that will be mentioned in history books.  You won't find them in Wikipedia.  They held no world records. They weren't sought after speakers or authors.  They were never on television.  They were not famous.  Nothing they ever owned will be sold in an auction, or put on display in a museum.  They were just average people.  Average people who worked hard all of their lives to provide for their family the best they could.

At least that is probably how most everyone else saw them.  I saw them differently.  I saw them as larger than life.  They were heros to me.  There was nothing that either one of them could not do, if they just put their mind to it.  They worked harder than any two people I know to make sure that we had not only the things we needed, but also most of the things we wanted.

They were honest, and godly.  They loved their country and their Lord, and taught us to do the same. They were faithful to each other, and stayed true to their "'till death do us part" vows.  They were fantastic grandparents, and loved their grandchildren abundantly.

No, they weren't rich, or famous, but I wouldn't have them any other way.  They were not perfect, but they were close, and I am thankful to have had them for as long as I did.  Today, I am thankful for  being blessed two of the greatest people that the world will never Mom and my Dad.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 5

Psalms 119:18
Open thou mine eyes,
that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

Today, I am thankful for God's Word.  I am thankful that I don't have to wonder what God would say to me, because I can open my Bible and know exactly what He wants me to know.  I love studying the great treasures that it holds.  I love learning the heart of my Lord and Savior.  I am thankful that I live in a country in which I am free to own and study my own copy of God's Word.  I know that this is not a freedom that is enjoyed the world over, so I do not take this freedom lightly.  I am thankful that God gave us His Word to lead us and to guide us.  I am thankful that God gave us the Bible!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 4

As I hear more and more about Christians being persecuted around the world, I am reminded to be thankful for something I sometimes take for granted: the freedom of religion.  I am thankful that I live in a country where I can go to church without fear of being persecuted.  I am thankful that this morning, our family will get in the car and go to the church of our choice.  We will worship the Lord without fear of anyone coming in, and arresting us.  There are many people in the world who do not have that wonderful privilege.  Instead, they have to travel under the cover of darkness, and meet secretly, while being in fear of their very lives.  Today.

So, freedom of religion is something I definitely am thankful for.  It is something that I should never take for granted.  And as I head out to enjoy that freedom, I will remember to pray for those who do NOT have it to be thankful for.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Other Side of the Coin - Mom and Dad Boot Camp Part Two

Yesterday I blogged about having Mom and Dad boot camp for one of our children who needed a little, I would like to share a story about the other side of the coin.  When all of that happened, I was upset with my child for slacking in such a way.  I knew the child needed to be disciplined in a way that would help them understand that is not the way our family rolls.

So, as I said in yesterday's blog, I went to talk to the teacher to figure out what the problem was...if my child was goofing off, not paying attention, etc. but before I could ask her about it, she began to tell me a story.  She told me about teaching a certain concept in Bible class, and hitting that concept pretty hard and heavy.  She said later, my child came to her with a repentant heart and attitude letting her know that they were guilty of something she had taught about.  My child, the one I was totally frustrated with over homework issues, listened to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and like an adult stood up and took responsibility for their actions.

Yes!!  THAT is what I'm talking about!  THAT is my child!!  I don't know WHOSE kid that was that didn't do their homework...but I TOTALLY recognize the child she was telling me about!

On top of that, this morning, when we woke the child up early, to begin the Mom and Dad Boot Camp, they got up with a good attitude, and did everything that was expected with a good attitude as well.  I was afraid that we would be in for a battle.  I really did not look forward to it.  But again, the child took responsibility, and faced the consequences.  Which probably helped us go a little easier on them than if they had acted with a defiant, angry attitude.

As much as I am not a proud parent over the homework shirking incident, I AM proud that my child realizes when they have done wrong, and is bold enough to face the consequences with a repentant heart and a good attitude.

I know my children are not perfect.  I know for sure that we have faced many battles in the past, and I am sure that there will be more battles in the future.  But as long as they are open to the voice of the Holy Spirit and willing to right their wrongs, I know they will be okay.  I love my children dearly.  I count it an honor to be able to help them learn and grow and become a godly young man and godly young women.

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 3

I remember what it was was about him that first caught my attention as I went about my business on campus.  It was the fact that he was always surrounded by a crowd.  And that crowd always seemed to be laughing and having a great time...because of something that he had said or done.  As I watched from a distance, he appeared to be the life of the party.

I liked that.  I had been born to older parents.  Parents who knew how to have a guarded, controled sort of way.  I wanted to have a part of his all out kind of fun.  I watched him, and looked for opportunities to meet him.

I pointed him out to my sister-in-law on one of her visits to campus, and told her that I would like to date him some day.  And just when I thought it was never going to happen...God orchestrated the perfect circumstances, and we met...and then he would speak when we passed each other...and then, he asked me out!

And I have been thankful for him each and every day since!

He is a truly great man.  He loves the Lord.  He loves his family.  He loves his church.  He is a man of integrity.  He is a man of truth.  He is an awesome husband, and a great daddy.  He will go to great lengths to take care of his family.  He is my best friend.  He was handmade by God just for me.  I love him with every fiber of my being, and I am thankful for him today, and everyday.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Mom and Dad Boot Camp

When it comes to grades, we expect our children to do their very best.  We have a child who struggles, and we know that it is not always realistic to expect straight A's on every report card.  We just expect them to do their very best.  We do not pressure them, unless we feel that they are slacking. They know what is expected, and usually live up to the expectation.

So, when I looked at the report card and saw an 88...knowing the child could do MUCH better than an 88, I had a little bit of a problem.  So, said child and I had a discussion that went something like this:

Me: Why do you have an 88 in Bible?

Oh, wait!  Did I forget to mention that it was in BIBLE?!?!?  BIBLE!!!!!  The ONE subject that ALL of our children should be making the BEST grades in...The ONE subject that they have been taught since birth!!!!

Child:  Well, I may have missed a couple of homework assignments.

Me: (thinking...don't come unglued!!!  This child has been extremely busy...extend some grace...)  Okay, well, what do you have to do for homework in...(gritting teeth) Bible?

Child:  We just have to write our Bible verse twice on Monday and Tuesday night.

Me: Okay.  Well, from now on,  you will write them 4 times until your grade comes up.  You don't have to turn in all 4, but you will write them 4 times for me to see.  (Thinking...this child will be glad to write it two times when I am finished with them.)

Child: Yes, ma'am.

The next day, I walk down the hall to talk to the Bible teacher.  I want to see if she has any insight into why this precious child of mine is making a B in a class they should most definitely be making an A in.  The teacher pulled up her grades, and said that my precious child had, yes...six 0's on their homework grades.  Visions of me dressed in a beautiful evening gown, smiling and waving as I step behind the podium to accept the "Loser Mom of the Year" award flash in my head.  SERIOUSLY?!?  SIX?!?!  0's?  How. did. I. not. know. my. child. was. NOT. doing. their. homework?!?

And just when things can't get ANY worse, the teacher explains to me that she even accepts homework in any time up until the day before grades are due...the students can turn in their homework, and get credit for it...Oh. no.  My precious child did not just shirk their homework responsibility.  Surely. not.  Suddenly, four times doesn't seem like nearly enough. 

Please excuse me as I go and think of different and various ways to torture said child to make sure that they NEVER, EVER shirk another responsibility for the rest of their short and sweet as it may be...

Seriously...this child is old enough to get their homework done on their own, and as far as I know, has always done a pretty good job...up until now.

 Parenting can be tough.  It's not always laughs and giggles, hugs and kisses.  Sometimes our children will try us, and we have to show them that we mean business.  We show them that we mean business because we know that they will need certain character traits to succeed.  We show them that we mean business because God has given them to us to "raise up in the way they should go".  Believe me, when the next report cards come home, this child will have raised that Bible grade considerably.  Let the Mom and Dad Boot Camp commence!

Thirty Days of Thankfulness - Day 2

Today,  I am thankful, full to overflowing, for my family.  I am one of the most blessed women on the face of the whole earth!  God has abundantly blessed me, by giving me some of the greatest people EVER to share life with. 

 I love the way God gives us each our own personalities, and strengths and weakness, and how when He mixes us all up, it makes just the right recipe.  I love how we can learn from one another, and how our  individual strengths help the other family members in their weaknesses.  I love that we share inside jokes.  I love that we love one another.  I love that we laugh with one another.  I love that we stand up for each other.  I love that we just enjoy being together.

  I know that because we have resolved to keep God in the center of our family, we have something special.  Something not every family has, and I am VERY thankful for it.  I also know that we can't put our guard down, and allow Satan to have even a foothold in it, because he is daily trying his best to ruin it all.  But we know that is Satan's goal, and we daily ask God, who is much more mighty than anything Satan can throw at us, to protect us and guide us, as we navigate this path called life. 

 If I had the chance to hand pick my family, I would not change a single thing.   

Not. a. single. thing.
Today, I am thankful, full to overflowing, for my precious family.