Two Tiaras and a Sword

Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 31, 2016

This morning, I had a Facebook message from a former youth group member of ours who wanted to know service times, so she could visit our church.  I was very excited.  I used to pick her up on Wednesday nights when she was in high school and give her a ride to youth group.  Through those rides, we became close.  I haven't seen her much in the last 4 years.  Just running into her from time to time at various places, so receiving her message made me very happy.  I told her the times and let her know that I would be watching for her.

Getting ready for church went fairly smoothly until the Youngest Princess looked for her shoes.  I truly believe that Satan sends demons to hide one of each pair of Sunday Shoes, just to throw us off our game on Sunday mornings.  More battles have been fought over shoes we can not find on Sunday mornings than anything else in the history of our family.  Even if we lay everything out the night before.  It is very frustrating!  We finally settled the shoe issue and made it to church.

Sunday school was a continuation of our study of Ruth.  I found out during prayer time that one of our older members who is absolutely precious and whom I love very much is not doing well.  It makes me very sad.  I am praying for her and for her family.

My friend (and former youth group member), and her boyfriend stayed true to their word, and showed up for church.  She said she had wanted to come to Sunday School, but she had not been able to get ahold of her boyfriend in time to come.  So they just came to church.  I was thrilled that they were there!  It was wonderful to see her again and to catch up a little.  She said they would probably be back next Sunday!  Totally thrills my heart!

The sermon was great.  My Prince preached about repentance, and believing the gospel.  Many people want to just skip to the believe part, and get a "get out of hell free" pass.  But yet they go on living in their sin.  But God does not take sin lightly.  In fact, "sin is high treason against the King of Kings and Lord of Lords."  Too many people say they believe, but go on living as if they do not.  Repentance, true repentance is not achieved until people realize the seriousness of their sin.  If you think of your sins as no big deal, then you have not experienced true repentance.

When you do experience true repentance, you have a hard time taking sin lightly.  It is offensive and heartbreaking to you.  I have been really bothered by some things that people who claim to be followers of Christ have been doing and even glorifying.  It is like they think of sin as a game, or they find it funny.  I find nothing funny about sin.  I realize that we all sin.  That none of us are perfect.  But I also know that sin is serious, and that we are in a spiritual battle beyond which any of us can imagine.  Sin is not something you play with. Sin is not something that you laugh about or glorify.  It truly grieves my heart to see my fellow professing believers laughing at, glorifying, and even applauding sin.  Grieves my heart.

After church, the Youngest Princess went home with a friend, and the Oldest Princess went on a lunch date.  Once again, living in a small town worked to our advantage.  Chaperones were in abundant supply today.  Also eating at the restaurant where our Oldest Princess and her date went to eat were: Our former pastor and his wife, her volleyball coach (and my co-worker), who is married to her basketball coach, and one of My Prince's buddies and his family.  The Youngest Princess told us all about it when she got home.  We all laughed, but I am glad that she realizes she is being watched wherever she goes.  I know that my mom used to tell people in our church with me standing right there, "If you EVER see my daughter doing ANYTHING she shouldn't do, you better come straight to me and let me know!"  I knew that I didn't just have one mom and dad keeping me straight.  I had a whole church full of folks keeping me accountable.  I want the Oldest Princess to know the same thing.

The Young Prince, being an only child for most of the afternoon, got to pick where we were going to eat.  He picked Mexican food.  As we were driving to the restaurant, we saw a man on the side of the road with a sign asking for work.  We turned around and told him that we didn't have work, but we wanted to give him one of our blessing bags.  He seemed like a really nice man.  He told us how even being down on his luck, the Lord had provided for him.  He allowed us to pray with him, and he thanked us for the bag.  Once again, the Youngest Princess was not with us, and missed giving away a bag.  I'm still praying that she will get to be with us to give one away soon.

We ate lunch and came home.  The Young Prince went to the church to meet the Oldest Princess and her date to film a video for the youth group.  They finished filming at the church and the Young Prince and the Oldest Princess came home and did a little more filming.  I really wanted to yell something funny from the other room while they were filming, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it and mess up their work.  But seriously.  I should have done it.  It would have been great for the blooper reel at the end.

We all did some studying until the kids had to leave to go to drama practice.  My Prince and I talked a little and studied a little until it was time for us to go as well.

One of my Bible Drillers was sick this morning and had to go to the doctor this morning.  On his way home, they stopped and bought a box of doughnuts for him to share with our class tonight.  His mom met me at the door.  That was an awesome surprise.  My small group class before my Bible Drill class was not happy that they weren't for them though.  Want to see adults act like kids again?  Bring out a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

I challenged the church staff, and deacons to do a mini drill after our church drill in about a month and a half.  After my challenge, I headed downstairs to teach my class.  I missed it, but I hear that our music director accepted my challenge.  I hate that I missed it.  I can't wait.  I think it will be a lot of fun. And I know the kids will love it.

We had a good time in Bible Drills as always, and ended on a sweet note with doughnuts.  Whoo hoo!
The youth group, and some of their parents,were going out to eat, and My Prince had a meeting.  So the Youngest Princess and I rode with some friends.  My Prince joined us when his meeting was over.

We came home and I went to work on my blog.  Now that I am done, we are going to have family devotions, over the last chapter in Proverbs, and then the Youngest Princess and I are going to start a new Mandie book, and get some sleep.

Until tomorrow...

Saturday, January 30, 2016

January 30, 2016

I am doing this on my phone, as all of the computers in the house are spoken for, so it will be short and sweet again.

I did not sleep well in the hotel, and several of the girls didn't either, but we up and at 'em bright and early anyway.  We went to breakfast, and then to our first session.  It was a make and take session.  The kids made a pencil holder and wrote the words to a verse on clothes pins, and then clipped the pins on the pencil in the correct order.  Our second session was about key passages, and the kids learned how to apply some of the key passages to their lives (some of the kids went to a different session about books of the Bible).  The Youngest Princess got to do a book call for her Daddy in front of the class.  It was really cute.  We had a short break, and then we went to a really fun session, where the kids were able to play all kinds of fun games to help them learn their verses.  After that, we had worship time, and then lunch.  We gave the kids about fifteen minutes to play poly-pong after lunch before we loaded up to come back home.

We made it safely home and got everyone back with their parents.  The Young Peince came and picked us up.  I pretty much rested the rest of the afternoon/evening.  Visiting with the kids and relaxing.  I have felt better today than I have in several days. But it was good to just relax a little.

The kids came and went as they had several activities through the afternoon.  When they all got home, we had dinner, and then before they all got busy all doing their own things again, we had our family devotions.  Proverbs 30 tonight.  We discussed it a little, and the had prayer time.  We prayed for several friends and loved ones, who have lost loved ones recently.  We have been there.  And our prayers are with them in their time of grief.

After devotions, everyone went their own way to get ready for tomorrow. The Youngest Princess got her shower and had a quick snack, and now it is time to read.

Oh, and the Young Prince did several things that made me laugh was when he was working on something for his dad.  He was in the other room quietly singing, "The B-I-B-L-E, Yes that's the Book for me..."  I chuckled to hear him sing that seemingly out of the blue.  I asked him why he was singing that song, and he said he had just typed the word Bible, and it made him think of the song.

The second thing is that he said his sister was like M, my brother's dog (after she was antagonizing him).  If you know the dog, you will understand. He said she was like the dog because she was sometimes sweet, and sometimes mean, she bites, and she is jealous (she was worming her way up beside me, and trying to get my attention).  If you don't know the dog or the Youngest Princesses, it most likely won't be funny to you.  But if you know them both, well...

And now, it is time for me to go and let her have some of that attention she was vying for.

Until tomorrow...

Friday, January 29, 2016

January 29, 2016

*Thanks to My Prince for writing our blog yesterday.

*Woke up feeling a little better

*Started feeling worse around noon

*It got better

*School was good

*After school ran home to get bags

*Met up with 5 of my favorite little people at church and headed to Bible Drills Retreat

*Had a blast with them while learning new ways to hide God's Word in our hearts

*Had family devotions by ourselves (since we are spread to the four winds

*It is 10 minutes past lights out now, so

*Until tomorrow...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

January 28, 2016

Guest Post: By "My Prince" 

     This is my Chance.  It may be the only chance I ever get so I am going to make the most of it.  My Princess that usually posts on this blog has not been feeling well for a couple of days, and is actually feeling worse today.  So she said, "I guess there will not be a blog today."  I asked her if I could post for her, to which she agreed.  I told her that it might be short and sweet and she said, "Go for it!"

So here we go...

     Since the beginning of the year, we have spoken frequently about this theme: "ALL IN"

My question for you is this:

    Do you love Jesus with all of your heart?  I mean is there anything more important to you than spending time with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  Jesus said the greatest commandment is to Love God with everything. (Matthew 22:37:38)   Are you "All In" with your relationship with God?

     Do you love others as you do yourself?  Do you put yourself first?  Do you hang on to your preferences?  Do you fight to get your way?  In Matthew 22, Jesus went on to say that the second part of the great commandment is to love other people the way we love ourselves.  Are you obeying this command? Are you "All In" with your relationship to others?

     Are you a fully devoted follower of Jesus who is pouring your life into someone else?  Again, the words of Jesus recorded in the Gospel of Matthew; this is the Great Commission.  "Go and make disciples of all nations..."  Are you closely following Christ?  Are you learning his Word and then obeying His commands.  Are you sharing with others what you have learned?  Are you "All In" as a disciple of Jesus who is making disciples?

     Are you "All In" or are you sitting on the sidelines?  Have you considered that anything less than being fully devoted to Jesus Christ and His Cause is sin.  Check that, it's treason!

     By the way, most of us had a pretty good day; except My Princess, of course.  Please pray for her!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

January 27, 2016

I woke up this morning and did my First 5 devotion.  It was about how Moses's father-in-law, Jethro, told Moses to get help in helping the people.  Moses was wearing himself out trying to do it all alone. He knew that Moses was not made to carry the weight of all of that on his own shoulders. He told Moses to share the work with others. To put others in charge of the things that they could handle.  It worked out wonderfully.  A good reminder to be careful not to overload ourselves with responsibilities to the detriment of our relationships.

My stomach was upset again this morning.  That is different.  It has just been being upset in the afternoon and evening.  So, I took medicine and carried on.  Still feeling yucky.

Being sick this morning, had me running a little late to school.  And when I got there, I walked into several boys arguing, and one of them in tears.  It all happened before I got there, so I did not know for sure what had happened.  One of the other teachers had come in on it, and had calmed them down a little and told me what she knew of what had happened. I read something the other day that said to have the students write down their account of what happened.  So, I had them all get out a piece of paper and write down what had happened in their own words.  MUCH better than having them tell me, and having to hear, "NO!  That's not what happened!"  "That's not what I said!" "You were the one who started it!" etc.  It was silent as they wrote their part of the story for me. Then, when they brought me their papers, I read them.  I would ask them to go back and write more about any of the parts that were still unclear to me.

It was a chapel day, so as soon as they were all through writing out what happened, we went to chapel.  Our speaker could not have picked a better topic.  What he said was perfect for what my class needed to hear.  And they knew it.  When we got back from chapel, they even commented on how that was right to them.  Yes.  It was.  And the speaker had no idea what all had happened that morning. I love how God works like that!

All during chapel, I was praying for wisdom to know how to handle the situation properly.  I thought that since the writing of the incident went so well, I would give them a little guided writing to do.  I typed out a few questions to make them think about their actions, and what they could have or should have done differently.  I had them fill the paper out for me.  The last thing I asked them to do was to write the name of their enemy on the bottom of the paper.  They thought that was a little strange, but I had a purpose in asking.

It was finally time to move on.  Overall, they did really good on their Bible verse, and their Bible test. Then we did math. Today's lesson was a devision review. Oh, division. It felt like it took forever to do a whole page of division. That, plus chapel, put us a little behind schedule.  We pushed through to get back on schedule.

When it was time for music class, I sent everyone except my boys that were involved in the early morning argument. We talked about whether or not their individual actions pleased the Lord.  We talked about what they did right, and what went wrong, and what it would be best to do next time. Then we discussed who the real enemy was, and how we are all on the same side.  We are not enemies of one another.  We all have a common enemy, and that enemy is Satan.  We talked about how he wants them to fight against each other, and when they do, Satan wins.  We do not want to let Satan win. We talked about who needed to apologize.  I was very pleased to see that some of them had already apologized on their own. I told them that it was all over now.  We had taken care of it. Then I told them to stand up and go out and fight Satan together. I think it was a much better way of handling today's situation than giving them all conduct marks and telling them not do it again. Time will tell.

We did manage to get everything done, and even had a few minutes left over for them to get some homework finished.

After school, I came home all by myself. When I pulled in the driveway, the Young Prince's car was already here.  I was surprised that he beat me home.  But when I got in the house, he was not home. About that time my phone buzzed. It was the Young Prince.  He had ridden with his sister, after I left that morning, and I did not know.  Anyway, he was still at the school.  I texted My Prince and he had not left to come home yet, so he said he would go by and pick up the Young Prince.

My Prince cooked up a pot of chili for this chilly day.

Unfortunately, I was sick again and did not get to eat any.  It is no fun to be sick.  It was really crummy.  I hoped it would get better before church.  I spent the afternoon being sick and studying for my Wed. night small group.  I was hoping that I would not have to take more medicine.  But I ended up having to take more before church.

We went to church.  We had a great time doing our small group study.  I love learning and studying Exodus, and then going to church and meeting with my group and talking about what God taught them through the same passages.  I love how God speaks to us where we are, and I love that we can learn from what God teaches others.

Thankfully my medicine worked and I did not have to leave to come home early.

Meanwhile, over in the youth room, our youth pastor and his wife were making a big announcement. They told the youth what they had stopped by to tell us last night.  They are going to be parents!  I think the kids were quite excited for them. We definitely are excited for them.  I know they will be great parents.

We came home after church, except for My Prince, who had a meeting.  The Youngest Princess studied her spelling words until she was at the point of exhaustion.  The Oldest Princess and I watched a little television, while I worked on my blog.  If you find any mistakes, it is because I was multi-tasking.

We did our family devotion.  Proverbs 27.  Discussed it.  Talked about the verses that stood out to us personally.  Had prayer time, and then went our separate ways to get last minute things done and get ready for tomorrow.

It was a "normal", but a very blessed day.  Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January 26, 2016

It was a normal morning.  All went well getting us ready for school.  We missed the Oldest Princess being with us, but otherwise, it was all routine.

I did my First 5 devotion.  The passage from Exodus 17 reminded me of a sermon I heard in college about Aaron and Hur being "cheerleaders" for Moses and helping him to keep his staff in the air when he was too tired to do it himself. Moses could not do it alone.  He needed their help.  Just like we can't do life alone. We need those around us to cheer us on, and we need to cheer on those around us. That was not the main idea of the devotion this morning, but it was what was on my heart after I read it.

When I got to school as I got to the top of the stairs, I bumped my cup against the door frame, and knocked it out of my hand. Ice and lemon water went everywhere. Thankfully my sweet students were right there and several of them ran to get some paper towels.  The second grade teacher came out of her room with a roll of paper towels to help. One of the little Kindergarten students who was passing by went all the way to the lunchroom and came back with two napkins (bless his heart, he came back with them after I had already cleaned it up) but the gesture was so precious!

School went well. It was a pretty normal day.  My Prince brought me another glass of lemon water, because he is awesome.  All of the high school students were on a field trip today except for the cheerleaders, because they were doing a cheer camp with some of the elementary students.  So, the Oldest Princess was at the school.  When she had a break, she and a friend came to visit me.  It worked out perfect, because it was when my students were at band.  Their visit made my day.

I found out that a lady who was like a church grandmother to me while I was growing up, passed away today.  My heart hurts for her family, but I know she is at the feet of the Jesus she loved and served.  I know she has been reunited with many of the others who have gone on before her.

After school, the Youngest Princess and I went home.  The Oldest Princess and the Young Prince stayed at school.  The Youngest Princess ate a snack, studied a little and then got ready for the game. We went back to the school.  The Youngest Princess cheered.  The Oldest Princess played ball.  The Young Prince played ball and the Oldest Princess cheered. The Oldest Princess's friend and his friend came to watch her play and cheer.

After the games, we helped the Oldest Princess clean the gym, as it was her turn to clean up.

We came home to fix snacks before family devotions and bedtime.  We got a text from someone we love very much who wanted to come by for a few minutes.  A little unusual for the time of night, but we thought okay...Well, they came by, and shared with us some very exciting news.  We are thrilled for them.

After they left, we ate our snacks and had our family devotions.  Proverbs 26.  We discussed it a little, and shared a few prayer requests, and then the Young Prince prayed.

Everyone scattered to get ready for tomorrow.  The Youngest Princess practiced her piano piece about 1,000 times.  I worked on my blog, and My Prince studied.  Now, I need to read a chapter of Mandie to the Youngest Princess, and do my Exodus reading, and my other small group study, and try to get to bed sometime between now and tomorrow morning.  So I will go.

Until tomorrow...

Monday, January 25, 2016

January 25, 2016

Last night, I had My Prince announce that we needed a few more people to be secret encouragers for my Bible Drillers.  One of the moms who is already an encourager called me to tell me that her daughter wanted to be an encourager as well.  I was thrilled that this young lady wanted to be a part of helping to encourage my drillers.  That alone was very encouraging to me!


It was a normal, good morning.

The First 5 devotion was from Exodus 16.  It was about how God provided manna for the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness.  It was about how God provided manna on a daily basis.  They were to gather what they needed for that day alone, until it came time for the Sabbath.  They were not to gather on the Sabbath, so on the day before the Sabbath, they were to gather for two days.  Every other day of the week, the manna would spoil if they kept it overnight, but not on the day before the Sabbath.

God wanted the Israelites to look to Him for what they needed each day.  And as God wanted the Israelites to look to Him, He wants us to look to Him as well.  He wants us to trust Him to provide for our needs.  On a daily basis.  That is a scary thing.  Unless.  Unless you know God. Unless you know God's character.  Unless you know that God is good, and that He is going to do what is best for you always.  Unless you know have proved God time and time again.  Unless you can look back and see how faithful God always was. Then, you want to trust Him. You want to allow Him to be in control, because you know that He can do a much better job at getting things done and meeting your needs. Then, instead of being scary, it becomes complete comfort and peace. That's good stuff y'all!

This morning, I received a text from another young lady at our church. She told me that she and her mom wanted to be encouragers for some of my Bible drillers.  I told her that I only had one left, but they were welcome to have that driller.  So, not one but two young ladies felt led to be encouragers for my drillers!  That makes me so excited!!!  I would love to give more information and tell you how precious these girls are and just why I am so thrilled, but that might give away their identity, and they are supposed to be secret.  So for now, just know that my heart is thrilled by their willingness to step in and help.

Then, at school in Bible, we have been talking about how Samuel was a man of prayer.  We were looking at I Samuel 7, when the Israelites are fighting against the Philistines.  Samuel prays for the Israelites during the battle, and God sends thunder so loud that it totally confused and rattled the Philistines, and the Israelites end up winning the battle.  My students loved that God won the battle for the Israelites with thunder.  I mean really!  How cool is that!

Then I gave a math quiz.  I was very proud of how well the kids did.  And then we worked on reviewing rounding, and I wanted to cry.  Rounding is a tough concept for fifth graders.  They get rounding to the nearest 10, they get rounding to the nearest 100, but much past that really gets some of them. Practice helps, so the more we do it, usually the more they understand it, but we've been at it about a week now, so some of them are still struggling with the whole concept.

In reading, we had a vocabulary/comprehension quiz.  Usually I call out the definitions, and they match the corresponding vocabulary word to the definition.  Today I called out the vocabulary word, and they had to match the corresponding definition to the word.  They were nervous when I started putting the definitions on the board, but they all did great on the quiz!  On the days when we have vocab./comp. quizzes, we have a Bible passage to read, instead of reading out of our reading books. Today our passage was Joshua 7:1 - 8:24.  The story of Achan and how his disobedience led to the defeat at Ai.  We had already studied this story in Bible, so the students were familiar with it.  Our reading today went a little farther than we went in Bible, so they learned that after God took care of Achan for his sin, that He blessed the Israelites with a win against the Philistines.  How they won that battle was a pretty cool story as well.  You might want to check it out.  My students loved it.  Two great battles, one great God, two great victories.

In language, we covered writing post cards and thank you notes.  It was a quick and easy lesson today.

Then we went over our spelling list.  This week the theme is Government. Words like House of Representatives, citizenship, unanimous, and judicial.  We talked a little about the three branches of government, because they are some of our vocabulary words.

In history, we are studying Ancient Rome.  Exciting, I know!  To start off, they had a "pop" quiz over the pages they were supposed to read for homework.  Then we were neck deep in crossing the Rubicon with Julius Caesar. If you are the parent of a student in my class, ask them what "crossing the Rubicon" means.  My fingers are crossed that they will remember and be able to tell you.

Science found us unraveling the mysteries of why there is dew on the ground in the morning, and why a lemonade glass has water on the outside of it on a hot summer day.  Condensation, dew points, and relative humidity: just some of the cool wonders of God's creation, and just how marvelous He was to create it all in just the perfect way that it all works together. He thought of everything, and the more I study it, and teach it, the more I have to praise Him for how great He is!

In penmanship, it was only fitting that they copied this verse written by John Milton:
Let us with a joyful mind
Praise the Lord, for He is kind,
For His mercies shall endure,
Ever faithful, ever true.

After penmanship, while the students worked on their spelling homework, I read the next chapter of our Josiah book.  In this chapter Josiah and his friend hear Argamore (Satan) plotting how he will win the hearts of King Emmanuel's loyal subjects by using a "spellavision" (television).  It was the perfect chance to talk to the kids about what they watch.  And how that Satan does use television to steal the hearts of Christians away from being totally surrendered to God. We discussed how we should not just watch television and not think about the things we are watching.  How we need to think as we watch, and ask ourselves if what we are watching is pleasing to the Lord.  I challenged them to reevaluate what they watch and what they listen to, and consider if it is pleasing to the Lord or not.  If not, they should probably not be listening to it, or watching it.

After school, a couple of other moms and I did the cheerleader shuffle.  We had to get our girls to a local church who was allowing them to use their gym to practice.  The basketball teams had our school gym, so we had to have a different place for the girls to practice.  We are at the two week mark before competition, so time is tight, and they need to get in all the practice that they can.  We managed to get them all there, and we are thankful to the church for allowing us to borrow their gym.

I dropped the girls off and came home.  When I walked in the door, My wonderful Prince was folding clothes.  Oh, yeah.  I dig a man who will fold clothes.  Especially without even being asked!  He is a keeper! For that and for many other reasons as well.

All afternoon, I battled an upset stomach.  I have had trouble off an on for several days now.  I battled this a while back, and had been doing pretty good for a while, but it looks like I may have issues again.  And, on top of that I am dealing with sinus/head cold issues.  I know.  Maybe too much information.  But, I'm striving to keep it real.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  The bad is that sometimes I feel crummy.  And this afternoon, I have felt crummy.

The Youngest Princess found a piece of a broken yardstick.  She said, "Oh look!  It's a broken footstick!"  In her defense.  The broken piece was twelve inches long.

I worked on my blog for a little while before the Youngest Princess was done with cheer practice. Then My Prince cooked dinner (did I mention that he is a KEEPER?!?) so that I could rest and study, while the Youngest Princess played on the trampoline.

The Oldest Princess breezed in to change clothes and ran back out.  Today is a day that she has looked forward to for a long time.  Every year the cheerleaders go together to Build a Bear, and the Senior cheerleaders each get a cheer bear.  It is a fun little way of honoring the Seniors and letting the girls have a fun time together before the season is over and they are done cheering for the year. They usually spend the night with the cheer coach, but she has a sick little one, so they are going to spend the night at one of the cheerleader's house.

The Youngest Princess came in from the trampoline, and I sent her straight to the shower.  They Young Prince came home from practice about that time.  They were both able to get their showers before dinner was done.  We ate dinner and then the boys watched some ballgame on TV, while the Youngest Princess and I worked on her history vocabulary words.  I introduced her to the wonderful world of Quizlet.  She love it.  I loved that she loved it. She studied and made three 100's in a row.  Things look good for tomorrow's quiz.  Woo hoo!

The Oldest Princess text me from bath and body works to see if I needed a new cartridge for my car air freshener. Yay! I told her absolutely.  That was a very nice surprise.

The Youngest Princess practiced her piano. I worked on my Exodus study.

The Young Prince came down, and we did our family devotions minus the Oldest Princess.  We read Proverbs 25, and then discussed it, and then had prayer.  The Young Prince went to his room to play a soccer game and listen to music.  My Prince and the Youngest Princess went to snuggle while I finished up my blog.  I have a few things to do to get ready for tomorrow, and then the Youngest Princess and I have a date with chapter nine in a Mandie book.

It has been a wonderful day, filled with the things I love: God, family, and school. I am blessed beyond measure!

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, January 24, 2016

January 24, 2016

Last night, the Youngest Princess laid down with me, because My Prince was still studying.  She asked me to read some of my blogs to her.  She often laments that she can't read them, because she does not really have access to them.  So a while back, she asked to read my blog on my phone.  She started at the beginning, and only got through 2 before it was time for her to go to bed.  So while we were laying there talking, she asked me to read some of my blogs to her.  I think we read about five (we had already read Mandie earlier that evening).  She said, "I like your blogs, Mommy!"  At one point when I read something I had posted from a First 5 devotion, she said, "I really like what that said!"  It was very sweet and encouraging.  She fell asleep with me, and My Prince moved her to her bed when he finished studying and came to bed himself.


I woke up feeling yucky this morning.  I am battling some sinus/head cold issues and had some tummy trouble as well.  But I decided to fight through it, and get ready for church.  I did not want to miss church today.  The further along I got into getting ready, I did begin to feel a little better.  Not great, but better.

I was excited to see a good friend at Sunday School today.  Her father has been really sick, and she has had to miss a lot lately to help take care of him.  I was glad that she was able to be there.  I was able to get a few minutes to talk to her about an issue another friend of mine is having.  She was able through her expertise to help shed some light on it, and now I have something that I can pass on to my other friend that hopefully will help her.

Our Sunday School teacher went on the youth conference last weekend as a chaperone. He shared something that he had heard from the conference that had stuck with him.  It was an illustration about the church being a vaccination.  People often go to church to get "just enough" to keep them from getting the "full blown" disease.  So, if you went to the doctor today, could you give him enough symptoms for him to be able to give you the diagnoses of "Christianity"?  Or, have you been vaccinated, and show no signs at all of "Christianity"?  I have often heard it explained using another example: that of a courtroom.  If someone accused you of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence in your life for that accusation to prove accurate beyond a shadow of a doubt?  

After we talked about that, he introduced the new study we will begin next week on the book of Ruth. I love the story of Ruth, and I am looking forward to getting started.

In church, My Prince preached on being All In.  It was a good sermon.  A convicting sermon.  How many of us are truly All In.  It is a daily process as he pointed out.  We must submit to God daily, sometimes even hourly.  It is easy to say, hard to do.  But the dividends are absolutely the very best. There is no substitute for living a life that is totally surrendered to God.

At the end of the service, one of the teens that went to the youth conference came forward with his mom and dad.  He had gotten saved at the conference, and wanted to make a public profession of his faith.  I love this kid! He was one of my Bible Drill students. An awesome young man.  I could not be more excited for him, and his parents.  And, on top of that, one of the ladies in my small group who also attended the youth conference as a chaperone went forward.  She had written it out, because she was afraid that she would cry if she tried to talk (but she cried anyway, as My Prince pointed out), that she realized that she had accepted Jesus as her Savior, but not as her Lord.  She wanted Him to be not just her Savior, but also her Lord!  Good stuff!  My cup was overflowing!  It was a great way to end a great morning! 

The Youngest Princess asked to go home with a friend.  I told her that she could.  The rest of us went to a local restaurant to have lunch.  Then we came home.  The kids and My Prince all went upstairs, and I stayed downstairs to study and get started on my blog.

The Oldest Princess and the Young Prince had to be at church extra early for some type of meeting or practice (I'm not even really sure what was the reason, but I know it had to do with youth group).

My Prince and I spent some time talking over some upcoming ministry opportunities.  I like it when we are able to have uninterrupted time to discuss things and weigh the pros and cons. In true Sunday afternoon fashion, the afternoon flew by, and it was time for My Prince and I to head back to church.

My Prince and I started a new and growing believers class tonight.  I think it will be good.  I am excited to get to know some of our members that I may not have a chance to be around much otherwise, as well as grow in the Lord with some I already know and love.  I am a little worried about being able to keep up with both small group's study loads.  I will do my best and see how it goes. Tonight's class was really good.

After that, during the church service, the youth praise band led the worship, and some of the kids in the youth group and some of the chaperones, gave testimonies about their time at the youth conference last weekend.  Many told how God spoke to them through the different speakers.  It was a good service.  I always love to hear how God is moving in the lives of others, and especially teens.
We have a wonderful group of young people and I am very thankful for each and every one of them.

We made our daily stop by Dollar General on the way home.  At home, we fixed some snacks for dinner.  The Youngest Princess went up to get ready for bed.  My sister called to tell me that she is going to be a grandma again (which will make me a great aunt again).  So exciting!

My Prince got a text from a younger member of our congregation telling him that he hopes he will be able to see Christ in his children the way he can see Christ in our kids.  Wow.  Praise the Lord!  That as very encouraging. I like to say that so far, they have turned out to be great kids, in spite of us.  We have looked to God to lead us in parenting every step of the way.  We have prayed for wisdom many times when we didn't know what to do. We have always tried to be consistent and present a united front. We have made our share of mistakes, and we haven't done everything perfectly by any means, but God has definitely blessed us with great kids.  At least they have been great so far. It is by God's grace that they have turned out as they have. I also have to give a shout out to my mother-in-law and my father-in-law, because they have always been wonderful to give us great parenting advice, but have never been overbearing in doing so.  They have been great examples to us, and I love and appreciate them for it.  My Prince called the kids in and read the text to them.  We want them to know that others are watching them, and that their testimonies are such that they are encouraging to others. Praising the Lord tonight, for the blessing of our children!

We ate our snacks and then had our family devotion and prayer time. Then everyone headed to get ready for tomorrow and for bed.  It has been a wonderful day all the way around.  It is good to serve the Lord!  Now it's time to read a chapter of Mandie, and get some rest.  We have a busy week coming up.

Until tomorrow...

Saturday, January 23, 2016

January 23, 2016

It has pretty much been just a regular Saturday at home.  Full of regular Saturday stuff.  Resting up and  catching up on the house a little.  I got up before everyone else and used the quiet time to watch the First 5 weekend wrap up (which brought out some really interesting facts about hyssop) and to get my Exodus study done.  

The Youngest Princess came home from her sleepover and promptly fell fast asleep.  We woke her up in time to go to cheer practice. 

The Oldest Princess had a date with her friend D and another couple.  They went to eat and then went bowling.  

The Young Prince went outside with his camera and got several really good shots.

My Prince left to take the Young Prince to a birthday party at the bowling alley.  

The Youngest Princess got home and she and I had some time to snuggle.  I suggested that we go ahead and read Mandie before everyone else got home.  So we did.  Then she continued reading Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.  At one point she said, "I"  Woo Hoo!!!  Yes!  That makes me happy! She also let me know that her tummy was NOT happy with her.  I am praying it is just something she ate, and not a stomach bug.  

One of the Young Princes's friend's dad said he would bring him home from the bowling Birthday party.  We were very thankful for that. Other than that, not much that was noteworthy happened today.  So, in place of words, I give you a few pictures from the week.

The Young Prince warming up before a game.

                                               The pre-game fist bump with the officials.

A few pictures of our shoe box book reports.




Some of our girls after a win in a very close game.

Cheering for our boys as they come out for their game.

Now My Prince is studying for tomorrow, and the Youngest Princess is reading poems.  The Young Prince just walked in the door.  I thought I would type this up while we are waiting on the Oldest Princess to get home.  When she gets home, we will have our family devotions and prayer time, and then get some sleep.

Until tomorrow...

Friday, January 22, 2016

January 22, 2016

Some good points from my First 5 devotions this morning:

"Often after a miraculous experience we encounter a time of testing."

"God demonstrates His faithfulness in the desert just as He does on the mountaintop.  He is more than worthy of our commitment."

Good thoughts to start my day off!

It was a normal morning.  My Prince drove me to work because it was raining, and he spoils me. If he drives us, he can drop us off under the metal overhang.  If I drive, I have to get out in the rain after I park.  I have a good man.  He makes my heart smile!

School was pretty normal too.  Lessons were learned.  Tests were taken.  Papers were graded.  We finished early (maybe because I was secretly hoping the snow would come a little farther south than predicted and that we would be able to go home a little early, and I wanted to have everything finished if that should be the case).  But I brought along our brand spanking new DVD of Woodlawn to watch if we did finish early.  So we filled the extra time watching Woodlawn.  Of course we did not get to see the whole thing, as it is two hours and three minutes long, and we didn't finish THAT early.   But we did get to see some of it.  And, we were interrupted when someone opened the door and announced, "It's snowing!!!"  Although snow flurries would be a better way to describe it. But then of course the kids were all excited and antsy.  And almost as soon as it started, it ended. Then by the time we left, it was sputtering snow again.  Exciting times for kids in the south.  On the way home, My Prince and I discussed how we are glad that God has us in the South.  I don't think I would be very good at living where they have serious snow that lasts longer than a day or two.

We got home and our first order of business was to get warm.  The Young Prince got home shortly after we did.  The Youngest Princess had cheer practice and the Oldest Princess went with a couple of friends and their volleyball/cheer coach to get some ice cream. I know. It is WAY TOO COLD for ice cream.  I'm guessing it was much more about the fellowship than it was the ice cream.

We got home and the Young Prince went out to feed the dogs.  He came back in afterward and said,"Aye, Lassie! The tempest is upon us!"  Crazy kid!  Then he got under his electric blanket with his stash of beef jerky and watched a couple of episodes of Finding Bigfoot, while he could, before his sisters got home.

At one point he asked me to come there.  He wanted me to watch a commercial.  It is now my favorite commercial.  It totally made my day.  It is about moms, and squirrels in the attic.  And if you really know me, you know that is "where I live" right now.  Our squirrel saga continues.  One day, hopefully very soon, I will be able to say we are squirrel free.  But that day is unfortunately not today. When that day does come, believe me, you will know, because I will be proclaiming it for all to hear.

I used the quiet time to study my Exodus study.

My Prince braved the cold to go and get the Youngest Princess from cheer practice.  She came home all excited about the snow, and running around to get packed for the sleepover that she was going to about an hour later.

My Prince left to pick up pizza (I opted for soup instead) for our cold, snowy, winter evening at home, movie night.  And he had to go to Walmart to buy a television for one of the Sunday School classes to use.

I did some things around the house.  The Young Prince and the Youngest Princess ventured outside to play for a few minutes.  They didn't stay out long.  It was way too cold out there.

The Oldest Princess came home and was home for about five minutes before the Youngest Princess was picked up by her friend's mom to go to the sleepover.  The Oldest Princess had a good time of fellowship, and eating ice cream.  Her coach has been a huge blessing and encouragement in her life. I am very thankful for her, and her heart for the Oldest Princess and her friends.

My Prince returned with the Pizza, and we ate in the living room and watched American Idol. Grammy and Poppy face timed us for a little while.  It was good to get to talk to them.  We finished watching American Idol.

We laughed and talked and picked on each other a little.  We discussed the Junior/Senior banquet plans. We will have a Junior and a Senior attending this year.  Yikes!!! We talked about their plans, and their friend's plans.

Then we watched our movie.  The movie we watched was Captive.  It is about a guy who escapes from the courthouse in Atlanta after killing a judge and a court reporter. He ends up taking a drug addict hostage.  Someone had given her Rick Warren's book The Purpose Driven Life earlier that day. She picks it up to read it, and the guy holding her hostage asks her to read it out loud.  Maybe you know the story from the news.  Maybe you don't.  But I hate spoilers.  So, you won't find out the end of the story from me.  You will have to check it out yourself.

After the movie, we read Proverbs 22, and discussed it a little. My Prince led us in prayer, and then we figured as late as it was, that it was time to call it a day.

So, until tomorrow...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

January 21, 2016

It is late and I am tired, so I will make this quick.

-It was a great morning.

-It was a good day at school today.

-After school the Youngest Princess and her friend came home, studied a little, and changed clothes to get ready for tumbling class.

-My prince and I took them to tumbling.

-After tumbling we drove an hour away to see the Oldest Princess and the Young Prince play basketball.

-On the way, there had been a terrible wreck, and we were re-routed and sat in traffic for about 45 min. to an hour making us miss the first half of the Oldest Princess's last away game.

-The world's greatest youth pastor drove through the rain and traffic to an away game to watch our kids play.

-Our kids played their hearts out.

-We drove home through some heavy rain.  I am very thankful to God for His protection and safety.

-We got home and did our family devotions and prayer time

-Now to get ready for tomorrow and get some rest.

-Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January 20, 2016

One of the main ideas of the First 5 devotion this morning, was "Don't Forget to Remember". Exodus 13 is about God telling Moses how the people of Israel should remember and celebrate the fact that God delivered them from slavery in Egypt.

It also said, "Remembering God's faithfulness in the past lets us embrace the difficulties of the present and the uncertainties of the future with hope and confidence.  Our faith falters when we forget.  And remembering the specific ways He's been faithful in the past, trains us to look for evidences of His goodness, might, faithfulness, love, mercy and protection in the future." - Whitney Capps

When I am prompted to "remember lest I forget"  I always think of several specific times in my life when God proved to be good, mighty, faithful, loving, merciful, and a protector.  I am transported back in time to when I was expecting our Young Prince, and I found myself in the maternity ward. Three months early - due to being in pre-term labor.  I could hear the cries of babies in other rooms.  Babies who were born full term and healthy.  And I could only cry with them and pray that my baby would not be born early. By God's grace, and my doctor's wisdom and technology I had no idea even existed, three months later, the Young Prince was born...after they induced my labor.  He was unhealthy and struggled for a while, but God was with us every step of the way, and we have had a very healthy young man for years now.

I think of the time right after my daddy died, and my mother was diagnosed with cancer.  My father-in-law resigned as the pastor of our church, the house we were renting to own had become, "buy it or we are selling it".  We could not commit to buying it, as My Princes's job situation was up in the air, because we did not know if the new pastor (when the church found a new pastor) would want us to stay, or if he would want to bring in his own staff.  Within a week of the for sale sign being put in the yard, there was a contract on our house. I was packing boxes and we had no where to go.  We had two small children, and my whole world had been rocked.  Seriously, it was all happening at one time.  There were days that I thought I would completely loose my mind.  A friend called to say that her mom knew of a house that "might be" what we were looking for. Long story short...And I would love to share the details with you, so if you want to know just ask...the house turned out to be perfect. Sent from God.  At the perfect time. The little blue house will FOREVER be a beacon of God's faithfulness and love for our family.

And then there was the storm/car/tree story that also happened at the little blue house.  It too is a story for another day, and one that I don't want to forget to remember.

Of course, there are more recent moments. Some still too sensitive and not far enough removed to share.  And there are, of course, everyday examples of God's goodness and faithfulness.  Which is huge reason that I am taking the time to write each day.  So that we don't forget to remember.  So we can look back and remember the great and mighty things, but also the everyday things that God does in our lives.

School went great today.  My students brought in their shoebox book reports, as they were due today. I love this project.  I love seeing all of the creative things that my kids come up with.  As I was starting class, I received a text from a friend who has a son in kindergarten.  She also has a nephew in my class.  She said her son had watched her nephew make his shoebox, and had wanted to do one himself.  He did it, and brought it to turn in to his kindergarten teacher that morning.  I thought that was absolutely precious!  And of course, I had to stop by the kindergarten room and check it out.  It was great!  I told him he made an A.

But, I also took the opportunity to share with my class how much the little ones look up to them. How they see them doing things, and how they want to be just like "the big kids." I told them that they are role models and that they need to be sure to be the right kind of role models.  That they need to behave in ways that encourage those little ones to want to love and serve God.

After school I had my dentist appointment.  I was very nervous, because I had to have a different lady do my cleaning, and I knew there was a problem with one of my teeth.  I had been praying about it all day.  I do not enjoy going to the dentist.  But, of course, God worked it all out.  The girl that cleaned my teeth was very sweet, and extra gentle, I had no reason at all to worry.  She grew up with one of our church members, and said she and her husband might even visit our church soon.  I have a precious old friend who would have said that that was a "divine appointment." I would have to agree.

My problem tooth is a broken molar, and the dentist said he thinks he can fix it with just a filling (that is definitely what I am praying for!), and if not, a crown.

At home I got to spend a few minutes with the oldest two before they left for praise team practice at church.

I spent some time studying for my small group.  Finishing up through Exodus 6, and a little into Exodus 7.  Focusing mainly on Moses insistence that he could not speak well enough to do the job God wanted him to do.  And how that God told Moses that He would be with him and tell him what to say.  But still Moses resisted, and God sent Aaron to help Moses.  How we need to have enough faith to just trust God, and that He already has everything worked out (whether or not we can see or understand it).  God would have done what He needed to do through Moses, despite his speaking difficulties, but since Moses did not have enough faith, God had a plan. It definitely challenged me to look closely at my faith, or lack thereof.  I am praying  that God will help my faith to grow.

After I finished studying, I helped the Youngest Princess with a little of her studying. Mainly spelling.  And then it was time to go to church.

At church, all of the members of our small group were there.  It was very nice.  It has been while due to the holidays and things since we have all been together.  It felt right again.

After church the Youngest Princess and I talked about life and how things are hard sometimes.  She needed a little extra loving, and thankfully, I had the time to be able to do that before everyone else got home.

We heated up some pizza rolls, and waited for My Prince to get home from his meeting after church. I started working on my blog while the kids watched a little television.  My Prince came home, and we did our family devotions.  Proverbs 20.  Full of wisdom.  Verse 7 stood out to me tonight.  I told the children that it made me think of their daddy.  He is a righteous man who walks in integrity, and whether they realize it now or not, they are blessed because of it.  We discussed several other verses that spoke to us, and then had our prayer time together.

As I finish this up, the Oldest Princess is trying to figure out what song she wants to use for her Senior video for the Junior/Senior banquet, and the other two are getting ready for bed.  It has been a good day, full of blessings.  God is good!

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January 19, 2015

From my devotion this morning: "and when I see the blood, I will pass over you." - from Exodus 12:13

That my friends, is enough said.  I could stop right there, and that would be enough for the whole day.  When God sees the blood of the spotless lamb (His Son in our case), when we apply it to our lives, He will not cast His judgment on us. We are free to live. We are free from a life of sin.  Free to enter into the "Promised Land".  Good stuff!  I meditated on that truth while I got ready for school this morning.  Praising God for sacrificing His Son, for me. Glory be to God Who made a way for a sinner like me to spend eternity with Him!

School for the most part went well.  The kids had a couple of small projects due today, and everyone had them done.  They all presented their projects as well.  It was a successful day. We accomplished everything I had planned.  It was nice.

One of my own children had a little bit of a stressful morning, but we all worked together, and it ended up being okay.

I finally made a call to the dentist to make an appointment for my cleaning that was cancelled. I have been putting off rescheduling it because I am having trouble with a tooth, and I completely dread dental procedures. But I know it has to be done.  So, I will go tomorrow. And I will dread it until it is completely over.  Please pray with me that it is an easy fix.

After school, the Youngest Princess and I came home.  She got ready to go and cheer at the ball game.  She had everything laid out the night before, so all she had to do was change clothes and let me fix her hair.  It made for a smooth afternoon.  We barely had time to get that done, before we had to head back to the school for the games.

The Youngest Princess cheered for the first game.  The Oldest Princess played in the second game, and the Young Prince played in the third game. They all did well, and we are very proud of them.

We came home and My Prince ran to McDonalds to get the kids something to eat.  They are always hungry after they play and cheer.  The kids ate, and then we called Unka to wish him a Happy Birthday.  We talked to him and Aunt T for a few minutes.

Then we had our family devotions from Proverbs 19, and our prayer time.  The Young Prince told us about a specific persecuted Christian group that he is praying for today, so he led in prayer, and prayed for that group again.  It makes me thankful to hear my children pray for others.  It helps to know that they are praying for someone or something that is bigger than themselves.

After devotions, everyone quickly scattered to get showers and prepare for tomorrow.  We decided that since it is so late tonight, we would skip reading Mandie, so the Youngest Princess could go ahead and get to sleep.

I think I will join her.  Until tomorrow...

Monday, January 18, 2016

January 18, 2016

It sure was nice to have an extra day off.  It meant that we got to have a slow morning.  I woke a little later than I do for school days.  I took my time and read my First 5 devotion.  The Youngest Princess slept with me last night because she begged her daddy to let her.  So after I finished my devotion, I just laid and looked at my baby, and spent some time thanking God for her and for what a blessing she is.  I love to pray for my children while they sleep.

I got up while everyone else was asleep and did my Exodus study.

The Youngest Princess was barking like a seal when she woke up.  We stuck her head in the freezer and let her breathe in the cold air to help open up her passageways.  It never fails that she gets croupy when there is a change in the weather.  After just a few minutes she was breathing fine again.

My Prince made pancakes for breakfast.  He got creative this morning, and made the pancakes in the shape of the letters of the Youngest Princess's name.  She thought it was fantastic.

We had a nice relaxing day. I cleaned a little, straightened up a little, watched a little television with the Youngest Princess, graded journals, and just enjoyed hanging out with My Prince and the Youngest Princess.

We started dinner so that it would be ready about the time the oldest kids got home.

Before we knew it, the Oldest Princess and the Young Prince were due home from their conference. So we left to meet them at the church.  It was good to see everyone and to hear some of their stories. It was great to see the Oldest Princess and the Young Prince.  I really missed them while they were gone.

We came home and ate dinner. It was so nice for us all to be back together again.  All of my chickens back in the nest.  Of course they had stories from the weekend that they wanted to share, and we loved hearing all about it.

After dinner, we dug out the old pictures and started trying to pick out pictures for the Oldest Princess's video that they will use during the Junior/Senior banquet.  She needed 15 to 25 pictures. How in the world do you take 18 years of tons of pictures and condense it down into one to two pictures per year? It is hard! Very hard to pick out 15 to 25 favorites when you have hundreds upon hundreds to choose from.  But I think we finally got it done.

While I was neck deep in pictures, my sister called.  I waited until we were done and called her back. We talked for about an hour.  It was good to be able to catch up with her.

We did our family devotions and prayer time. All of us back together again.  It's been several nights since that has happened and it was nice.

Then Oldest Princess and I talked for a few minutes.

Now, the kids are getting everything ready for school tomorrow, and then the Youngest Princess and I have a Mandie date.  Then to get some rest.  Tomorrow is back to our crazy schedule.

Until then...

Sunday, January 17, 2016

January 17, 2016

This morning was a quiet, relaxed morning.  It is amazing the difference that the absence of three people make in the house.  There was no rushing around trying to find things, no waiting for bathrooms, or lines for the iron.  My Prince and I took our time getting ready, and were actually early pretty early to church.  But it was too quiet and too calm.  I am not ready for that quiet and calm all the time yet.

Our Sunday School lesson was about how we are blessed, and why we are blessed.  We are blessed, of course, to bring glory and honor to God.  GLORIFY.

The children's church lesson that I taught was about the Tower of Babel.  The people were building the tower so that they could say, "Look what we have done!"  They were not spreading out and replenishing the earth like God had told them to do.  So God confused their language, and then they had to spread out like He had wanted them to do in the first place.  We talked about how all of our talents are God given, and even when we do something well, God deserves the glory, because He is the one who gifted us with those talents in the first place.  We talked about how everything we do should be for His honor and His glory.  GLORIFY.

I grabbed one of my friends and asked her if she could come and  help me with Children's Church after she finished singing in the choir.  She was a sweetheart and said yes.  I was thankful for her help.

I love it when several things work out together and point to the same message.  Today, the message was loud and clear, glorify God.  And even better, it is one of my two words for the year.  GLORIFY.

And thankfully, all was calm, and there were no security scares today.  Much more like a normal Sunday.

My Prince, the Youngest Princess and I all went to lunch.  It was very cold today, so I wanted to go somewhere where I could get some hot soup.  It was delicious and hit the spot.

We came home and had a quiet, relaxed Sunday afternoon.  A little study, a little rest, a little laundry.

The Youngest Princess came to me with her eyes all swollen.  She was having an allergic reaction to something.  I gave her a Benadryl and a little love, and she was better in about 30 minutes.

She and her daddy went to church, and I finished up getting ready for my Bible Drills class.

I went and had my class.  I still like we have a ton of work to get caught up, but tonight gave me a glimmer of hope.  I have several that are studying at home and it showed in class tonight.  I love my class and my kids.  Bible Drill class is definitely one of the highlights of my week.  The kids work so hard and learn so much.  It is very encouraging.

We came home from church and fixed some snacks for dinner.  The Youngest Princess wanted to watch television together.  So we did that for a little while.

Then we had our family devotions by reading Proverbs 17, and praying for the two oldest kids and all the others who are at the conference.  They are coming home tomorrow.  Yay!  I am ready for them to be home!

Now all that is left is to snuggle with the Youngest Princess, read some Mandie, and get some rest.

Until tomorrow...

Saturday, January 16, 2016

January 16, 2016

We had a lazy morning.  I got up and started another weekend Laundry-A-Thon.  I did some studying in my Exodus study.  My Prince went to work out.  Then he went to the store for me, to get some things I needed to make dinner tonight. I did some things around the house.  I studied for children's church tomorrow.  I will be teaching because our regular teacher is with the youth on the retreat this weekend.  The Youngest Princess went to spend the night with a friend.  So it has been a quiet restful day today.  Not a whole lot to write about, so I thought I'd share a few of the pictures I've taken since the beginning of the year...

This is a picture of an oak tree that my grandfather planted.  His barn used to stand behind it.  Times sure have changed since he used to work and live on this land.  I often wonder what he would think of the way things are today.  The Young Prince took this picture for me.   For some reason, I love that old oak tree.  I usually try to get a picture of it every time we go.

This is a picture that one of my students drew.  Thesaurus was one of our spelling words.  I always tell my students that a thesaurus is NOT a dinosaur, even though it sounds like one.  So, one of my students who loves to draw, and also loves puns, drew this picture.  It made me laugh.

This picture has three of my favorite basketball players in it.  Two from our team, and the other, the only one I will cheer for that is not on our team.

This is the Young Prince as one of the team captains meeting with the refs before the game.

A couple of our Oreo phases of the moon lesson.

The Oldest Princess as one of the team captains meeting with the refs before the game.

A picture of my two sweet girls together.  The Youngest Princess had cheered and then played with her friends.  The Oldest Princess had played a basketball game and now was cheering.

The Young Prince and Poppy putting up my new curtain.

The Oldest Princess being silly.  I thought it was cute that her highlighter matched her hat.

A few pictures from The Compassion Experience.

A little bit of the wonderful stuff that I mentioned was donated to our school by a local business.

The Oldest Princess and the Young Prince before they left for their conference.

The youth pastor briefing some of the group on a few things before they left.

The seniors got first pick of their seats.

And then they were off!  

My Prince and I enjoyed a quiet evening.  We had pork chops and potatoes for dinner. Then we both did some studying in preparation for tomorrow.  My Laundry-A-Thon continued throughout the day. 
My friend called and we had a nice looooooong talk.  It was good to catch up with her.  I hate that we don't live close enough to spend time together on a regular basis.    

We did our family devotions together, just My Prince and I, and now I am going to study my children's church lesson one more time, and then get some rest.

Until tomorrow...

Friday, January 15, 2016

January 15, 2016

This morning was a normal morning.  I woke and did my First 5 as usual.  It was lightly raining outside, and it was hard to get out of bed.  Cold, rainy mornings are always the worst for me, unless I have no where to go.  But of course this morning, I had to get ready and go to work.

I had a great day at school.  The kids were focused, and we were very productive.  We don't have band or music on Fridays, so that gives us an extra 30 to 45 minutes of class time.  Plus many of our high school students were leaving to go on a youth retreat, so our high school dismissed at half day. Because the high school students were not there to eat lunch, the ladies who work in the lunchroom asked us to come to lunch early.  That meant that we switched and had PE 30 minutes later than we normally do.  Anyway, do to all of that, we were finished with all of our classwork, and had even read Josiah by the time we went to lunch.  After lunch, I had them all do their written homework, and I graded and recorded the tests that they had taken the morning.  When that was done, we had about an hour and 15 minutes left.  The fourth grade teacher needed to leave a little early today, so I watched her class as well.  We played with Legos and cards for a little while, and then went down to the gym and played the rest of the time.

I have one of my students so hooked on Dutch Blitz that she asked if she could take the cards home. I told her that she could.  So, I am thinking, as many people as I have gotten hooked on Dutch Blitz, and as many sets of cards that I have "sold" for them over time, that maybe they should be paying me some royalties or something.  Or maybe they could just start a friends and family program, and send me a percentage of every deck I get people to buy. Just kidding! But seriously, I have been the reason for them selling quite a few decks of cards.  Go ahead, raise your hand if I got you addicted to Dutch Blitz. I see those hands!

After school I came home and had about an hour to spend with the Oldest Princess and the Youngest Prince before we had to take them to the church to leave for their conference.  The Oldest Princess realized that she would not get to see her sister before she left to be able to tell her goodbye.  So, both she and the Young Prince made videos to tell her goodbye. I thought that was very sweet of them. We had a good time talking and trying to think of anything they might have forgotten to pack.  I didn't want them to forget anything.

We stopped by the store to get them a few snacks for their trip.  Usually they stock up on all kinds of goodies, but this time they hardly wanted anything.  I was surprised.

We took them to the church and visited with everyone as they came and loaded up their luggage.  We prayed with them, took pictures, and then they were off!  The Oldest Princess and her friend C got to pick their seats first, because they are the only Seniors.  Bittersweet.  They staked their claim to their seats and we got a group picture, before we had to leave to go and pick up the Youngest Princess from cheer practice.

I went in to get the Youngest Princess, and was able to watch a few minutes of their practice before they were done.  I took her some jeans and told her to change, because a friend had invited her to go ice skating.  She was very excited as I knew she would be.  I showed her the videos of her brother and sister on the way to her friends.  She realized that they had left, and she was not happy with me. She told me I should have come and picked her up from practice.  But after a few tears, she was distracted by thoughts of ice skating, and was feeling better.  We dropped her off, and decided to go out to eat as we were kidless.

We went to one of our favorite restaurants, and had a wait time of about 40 minutes.  While we were waiting, we saw one of our church members and her daughter with another friend of ours and her daughter.  We waved and said hello.  One of the girls came and gave me a hug.  They finished their dinner and left before we were seated.  The place was packed.  It was finally our time to be seated. As the lady seated us, she said, "Someone left money for you all for your dinner.  I guess now would be a good time to go ahead and give it to you before you order."  She laid the money on the table.  Wow! What a blessing!  We had only seen the couple of ladies that we knew, and so, we are guessing it was one of them.  What a blessing!  And if you are reading this, thank you SO much!  It definitely made our night!  So sweet!  The food was great, and our waiter was wonderful.  It was a great date night.

We came home to watch television and just relax after a long week.  We will wait until the Youngest Princess comes home to do our devotions and go to bed.  My Prince said that he may do some studying while the Youngest Princess and I read our chapter of Mandie.

We just heard from the Oldest Princess that they are about an hour and a half from their destination, and have had a good trip so far.  Please pray that they have safe travels and that God works in a mighty way in our group while they are gone.  I am excited to hear all about it when they get home.

And now, the couch and My Prince are calling my name.  Until tomorrow...

Thursday, January 14, 2016

January 14, 2016

Morning comes early for those who get to bed late and don't sleep well because their husbands don't get in until the wee hours of the morning.  My Prince did finally get home though, and I was glad.

I did my First 5 devotion.  It was good as always.  One of my favorite parts from this morning:
"Don't be a rebel like Pharaoh, giving lip-service to the power of God.  Instead, respond in faith and surrender.  Lay down the fake gods of control and independence.  Acknowledge that He alone is God." - Whitney Capps  I pray that I will respond in faith and surrender.  Some days it is easy.  Some days it is hard.  Some days it is very hard.  But no matter the circumstances, I pray that my default response is faith and surrender.

Several big blessings happened today.  The first was that my friend who works in the office caught me in the hall and asked if the Youngest Princess had a black dress to wear for Fine Arts competition. I told her that she did not.  And guess what?  She had a dress that her daughter could not wear that we could use!  Awesome!  One less thing to worry about looking for or having to buy!  God provided for a need that I did not even know we had yet!

Then...there was a store in a town near ours that was kind of half a teacher supply store, half a Bible bookstore. For some reason, the owner decided to close the store.  Someone else is going to continue to have the Bible bookstore part, but not the teacher supply part.  So, the owner donated. Yes. Eeeek! I said, DONATED, the rest of her inventory to our school.  Oh Happy Day!!!  Some of the hallway and the teacher's supply room was turned into a big shopping spree, only it was all free!!!  I had seen a bulletin board set that I really liked in a teacher supply magazine, but I thought I would be able to make it myself, so I never ordered it.  And of course I never made it either, because that would take time, and well, you know...So, guess what I found!  That very bulletin board!!!  God provided for a want.  He knew that I would not have the time to get that board made, so He just provided!  Plus, there were posters, book, teaching aids, games, pencils, charts, stickers, calendars, stamps, letters, boarders, and many other things.  We had a blast going through them today.  I told my friend that  I had a hard time walking down the hall without getting distracted by the sparkly things.  I would walk by and pick up a couple of things and the next time I walked by I would see something else that I could use. It was fun to find things for other teachers, as well, if we saw something that we knew was good for a certain grade, or that we knew another teacher taught, we would pass it along to them.  It was really fun.

Today in the classroom was a different story.  It was like trying to herd cats.  Literally.  No matter how hard I tried, I felt like I could not get us all going in the same direction at the same time.  It was very frustrating to me.  Some days are just like that, and today was one of those days. On steroids. I am praying that tomorrow will be better.

After school, I came home and changed into a t-shirt and some sweat pants and took the Youngest Princess to her tumbling class.  She picked out her own outfit of a striped tank top, navy blue cheer shorts and gold slip on dress shoes.  I was too tired to put up a fight.  When we got in the car she told me how much she loved those shoes.  So what if they didn't match, and were not right for the occasion.  She loved them and it made her happy to wear them.  I smiled just seeing her happiness over something little like that.  She knew I had had a hard day, so she took her little Lego hedgehog and put it on the steering wheel of the car so I would see it and smile when I got in.  She has such a loving sweet heart.  She did good in tumbling.  Especially considering the fact that we haven't been in over a month due to the holidays.  They practiced some of their cheer stunts at the end of class, and I might have come close to having a heart attack a couple of times.

The rest of the family met us at tumbling, and we left from there to go get something to eat.  We ate at a new little restaurant that we haven't tried yet, but had heard was good.  What we had heard was true.  We took the oldest two to the shoe store afterward, and they both got a pair of shoes.  One pair was needed, one was wanted, and all were happy with the results.

We got home and everyone got to work studying.  The Youngest Princess had a project and studying to do, the oldest two had much studying to do as well.  The oldest two are leaving to go on a youth retreat tomorrow, so we are washing clothes that they need to take, and they are packing and getting ready to go.

We took a break and had our family devotions.  It was nice that after two nights of missing someone, we were able to be all back together again.  We read our chapter in Proverbs (14), and discussed it a little.  Then we strayed a little into telling stories.  The Young Prince was not in the mood for telling stories, so he suggested we pray and THEN tell stories (so he could go back upstairs), which of course led to the telling of more stories just to pick on him a little.  Then we did pray together.  After prayer, everyone again spread to the four winds to get things done that they needed to get done.

And now, I am ready to push the publish button, and call it a day.  Until tomorrow...