Monday, November 29, 2010

Recap and Revived!

It feels like it has been forever since I have been here! It feels like weeks since I've wanted to be here. I know, it sounds terrible, but sometimes you just need a break. It was a great blogging break. Steve was home for almost 2 weeks, just a few one nighters away scattered in there. We loved having him around although on our way to church my first born did look at him and say  "When exactly are you heading back to Nebraska?!" Made me laugh out loud, not my hubby so much. ;) Although I think he was ready to head back for the week also. You would think that with all that time together I would have managed to get our family picture done for Christmas cards, but no. Still not. I don't know why we just can't get it together this year! Oh well, we have time... right?! Maybe we will just photoshop him into a picture.

What did happen this week? Well, we had a much missed family game night- we are used to a few a week and now its been many weeks or months. I still hold the trophy, so I consider it a success.

During the game I decided to try out some new rollers on Miss Maicy. This is what happened...

 It is impossible to take a picture of curlers and not make a silly face. It just is. (She also said that I canNOT use this for Christmas cards. She ruins all my best plans. )

This was the result- umm... we weren't going for a Shirley Temple look.... not that they knew who that was anyways...
Again, silly face is required.
( pics take on my cell phone simply for convenience purposes, just in case you are worried that my camera is broken again.)

Another exciting part of the week was dog sitting. The kids (and I) have very much enjoyed opening our home up to a super well behaved Shi-Tzu named Tucker for a few days. At least, I think they're coming back for him... We'd be quite content to keep him though.
So yes, we are not only a foster home to children, but also to dogs. We seem to have better luck with the dogs.

We had a great time with FAMILY this past week. A long day of Thanksgiving eating and laughing and game playing. Plenty of shopping and more eating. We don't do Black Friday, but we do do the local small town businesses. Some great deals are to be found!

One of the most enjoyable moments was getting to read my Grandma's diary from 1981. We had some of her things to look through the other night and, while Grandma still resides on this earth, her mind isn't always residing as we'd like. So this was a special treat to read her days activities in her hand writing. It was made even more special when she announced in her book, not once, but twice, that her dear Alicia had diarrhea. Remember, 1981 folks, I was just a babe. And I got dumped on Grandma lots. Evidently she got dumped on also. Sorry, I had to do it.

So, this was a random recap of my week off, kudos to you if you made it through!
Now I feel so energized and ready to get back to this world. I need to make the time, yet limit my computer time. I'm working on that balance.
What did you do with your Thanksgiving holiday?
Are you moving on to the advent season?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

From Whom All Blessings Flow

I love this week. Yes, it gets busy, and yes, we often rush through it. But truly, Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite times of the year. I have always loved this holiday. I think that it is because it doesn't have the pressure of Christmas, yet has the God centered-ness that it deserves. 
I am so thankful this year. God has blessed me and my family beyond measure. We have had quality time with each other, opened doors to friends and family, entered homes of friends and family, and just truly, been blessed.

Ups and downs are a part of our lives, yet God is steadfast, strong, and unchanging. And that is why I praise Him. That is what makes me want to jump up and shout "Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!!"

I want to wish you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving. May your time be blessed, may Uncle Harry minimize the embarrassing moments, and may God get all of the glory.
I'm taking the week off of blogging to focus on my family and home and my God. Blessings, dear friends.

Psalm 100- the Message (because I love that first verse)

A Thanksgiving Psalm

On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter,
sing yourselves into his presence.
Know this: God is God, and God, God.
He made us; we didn't make him. We're his people, his well-tended sheep. Enter with the password: "Thank you!"
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him.  For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Still Waiting...

Well, I had hoped to come back with all the fabulous scripture our group came up with on waiting, however, I was the only group member there this morning, so, I will share what I alone found. (I didn't go to our evening group which had a better turn out, just in case you think I'm completely making up the fact that I lead an actual Bible study. Though that clearly isn't far from the truth.*ahem* lets move on.)

I will give you a little background into my last few weeks before I start what I have a feeling could be a lengthy post. Go ahead and get comfy. Or run now. :)
I haven't made this public knowledge other that to a few prayer partners and my Bible study- the one that exists, not the other one, but this week we were expecting to receive to foster placements into our home. It has been 15 months since this has happened and we were excited, nervous, and actually peaceful. We received the call when my husband was in China- of course- and therefore I didn't want to talk about it until I was really able to talk to him about it. Their hearing was set for this past Wednesday. I started making the necessary arrangements and purchasing of necesseties and trying to let school know without anyone else knowing. It is hard to tell people this will happen until it actually happens because working with DHS is just not a certain thing. So, the before I am preparing to share news with family and attempting to get ahold of the case worker. FINALLY, she returns my call. "Oh, well, J and O have already been placed in another home. Kids Net should have calle you" At that moment my breath left me and I fought back tears of hurt, frustration and anger. And then I had to go back and join my Coffee Break group- who knew none of this, and still doesn't. I did hold it together up until the moment I had to pick up some lunch for hubs and I at Quizno's. Chris Tomlin's song Sing, Sing, Sing, was on the radio in there and it took me down. I was angry, and I did not want to sing, sing, sing to God right then. Our family had been waiting, and waiting, and waiting. I am so very worn down and tired from waiting. I had come to a point of peace that our family may physically never grow, then the call comes and you gain hope again. Only to have that hope ripped away in an instant. Really, God? Was that very nice? That kinda hurt a lot. And ya hurt my baby girl a lot. She was looking forward to this, has been for years. She prays for them every single day to not miss their mama and dad so much and to keep them safe until they are out of their house. She prays with all of her heart. Really? She is tired of waiting too, God.

Enter in the Bible study topic of the moment- Waiting. I honestly checked out a bit on this one. I made no real effort to go to the evening group even though I knew there would be discussion a plenty and great scripture to back it up. I didn't want to hear it. Until the next morning. I finally sat down with God and said "okay, lets do this. Show me" And then I wished with all of my heart that I had been at Bible study the night before. Lesson learned.

Abraham and Sara, Jonathan and Elizabeth, Esther, Hannah, Moses and the Israelites.... those are the names laid out on paper before me. These people waited. They lost patience, they waited. And God delivered. And when He delivered, He did so in a way that was so much more than these mere mortals could ever have dreamed up. They knew what God promised, they asked for what they could imagine, but God has so much more mighty plans then our minds could ever imagine! Does it make the waiting easier? I don't think it does, unless you cling to Him with every single ounce of your being and don't take your eyes off of Him for a second.
I was sharing this with a friend of mine who lives in her own life of waiting that was recently very painful also, and her question to me was "But what did these people do while they waited? Why doesn't God show us that?"
We know we are called to wait- we know we are blessed in waiting, but HOW to do it? That remains the greatest question.

Psalm 130:5 I wait for the Lord, and my soul waits and in His word I put my hope.
Hope in Him, wait in Him, that's the best I can do right now.

*if you're family and wondering why you still didn't hear about the foster plan, its really hard to bring it up after the fact and say we were going to but now we're not.

**After I wrote this, I headed to school to have lunch with my son. I was looking at his pictures hanging on the walls and they had verses on prayer. Jackson's verse? Psalm 66:20 Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! This is where MY hope lies and this is how I will wait. Amen.

God is good! All the time!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Do you Shutterfly?

No, its not a dance craze, its the photo developing site!
That time of year is upon us where we try to think of creative and thoughtful gifts and even the dreaded family picture for the Christmas card. I myself have attempted to get a family picture on 4 different occasions this fall and have yet to accomplish that. I know.
So, I'm here talking about Shutterfly because they have an offer I just couldn't refuse! To feature them and their unique and inexpensive gift ideas and receive 50 free cards.(Go ahead and check it out here if you're interested)  And really, with all the extra expense of the holidays, who would pass that up, right? I will say, I have used Shutterfly for years and have never been disappointed.

One year I had some photo mugs made up that looked a lot like this... except with my own kids on it of course:

The grandparents loved them and so did my kids when they'd go to their houses and see them using it!

I also think that this desk organizer would make a great gift for my husband so he can have some familiar faces staring at him each time he grabs a pen....

 And these are my latest favorite creation:
How cool is that to decorate your kids' rooms with?!

So if you are stumped as to what to get the one who has everything, check out Shutterfly. You will find lots of practical products made just a lot cuter with those familiar faces on it than you'll find in the stores.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Today's Topic:Waiting

I feel like a broken record. I look back and see that I have had plenty of posts on WAITING and here I am again.

Last week you all were so very passionate about the Bible Study topic I shared and let me tell you, us study leaders get pretty excited to see such passion surrounding the Word. So, if you all will continue to participate, we will continue to ask.  Let me first introduce you to our study set up. This year when talking about a new plan we discussed the typical studies- Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, Dave Ramsey, Ray VanderLaan, and more. But. We always listen to these AMAZING leaders- please don't get me wrong, we have only the utmost of respect for these awesome speakers/writers- however, we just take what they say and go "okay, well this is what so and so says, so this is what I should do". But God doesn't call us to just take someone's word for it. He wants us to write the Word upon our own hearts. And the only way to do that is by searching and pulling it all apart for yourself. Yes, guides and commentaries are great tools, and we encourage those as well.  However, those are man written, we want to rely on the God written Word.

So, this year, we asked something a little different, a little bit scary, and entered into unknown terrritory of our ladies Bible study group. Each meeting we brainstorm to come up with a topic, and then in two weeks we use all resources available to us to search the Word of God. To find all that He has to say on those topics. To see it for our own eyes, read it in context, and get the full picture. Do we always agree with each other's interpretations? No. But it prompts discussion, it makes us all think, and we are all in it together.

Make sense? So, this weeks topic is Waiting on God.  I'm not going to lie, my first response was "crap" when I knew that's what we decided on. But I know that God wants me to GET IT. So, I am working on it.

Instead of giving you what I've found just yet, I want to hear from YOU! You are all so brilliant and genuine and real, that I want your thoughts. (yes, this post is me NOT talking- why do you ask... *ahem*)

Waiting on God- Are we simply called to wait? Is God calling us to act while we wait?
Do you have a particular issue you are waiting to hear God’s answer to? Is His answer wait? Is the answer No? How do you wait on God through the tough times. What scripture encourages you to wait on Him and His timing?
So, share your thoughts... I'd LOVE to hear! And if some of you answer questions with questions, that's great too! (you know who you are...) We want questions, we want to think, we want to be challenged!

Okay, I promise that's all. I do want to leave you a link to Michelle's blog from last week- she spoke of waiting in a different way. Check that out if you'd like!

Now, share your wisdom dear readers!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

With Thanksgiving in your Hearts

First off, I can't thank y'all enough for weighing in on my last post! You are all so amazing! If you missed it or if you just needed to think longer, feel free to check it out and leave your thoughts. I can tell you that others in the Bible study have really enjoyed hearing from you all as well! So much so in fact that we've decided to share our topics with you every other week to get your feedback. So, stay tuned- on Monday I'll hope to hear from you on the subject "Waiting on God". More on that on Monday.

Today, I need to get back to my blessings. I was planning to do a weekly post on blessings on the week, and then let it go last week. Not because I didn't have any, I was just being lazy if you really must know. :)

So, this week I knew I had to do it. I challenged myself and I think its an important challenge. Little did I know that I would be handed some circumstances that really made me not want to come up with a gratitude list. But then I remember a sermon a few years back on Thanksgiving. Praise God from Whom ALL Blessings flow.
All Blessings- even those we don't want to count as blessings. We need to praise Him.
So, here I am.

This past week in blessings:
  1.  Steve made it home safely from China. That was a long week, despite me being used to him being gone, I didn't like him being that far gone with that little communication.
  2. Parent Teacher conferences are this week- I won't have ours until tonight, but I'm going to go ahead and assume that they will be a blessing. Our school is such a blessing to our family, I can't help but be grateful.
  3. Due to number 2, NO SCHOOL on FRIDAY! YEAH for long weekends! Especially when we get to go away and therefore we will ....
  4. Skip hockey Saturday morning! I know, I shouldn't be so happy, but when you have to be leave home by 7:30 on Saturday mornings, you cherish a day to just sleep in or hang out in your pj's drinking coffee until lunch time. (no, that won't happen, but its a lovely thought...)
  5. Friends to have lunch with, talk on the phone with, email, and text until our thumbs hurt. I don't really know what I'd do without them. Its only a small handful, but what I lack in quantity, I make up for in quality.
  6. Veterans. I can't even express properly the gratitude to all of our veterans and their families. Theirs is a sacrafice that I can't repay. Many blessings to those fine men and women.
I know there should be more, and I'm certain there are, this is a start for today.
What blessings have you experienced this week?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Okay dear readers,
Today I want to hear from YOU.
In Bible study last week we had a very interesting topic. One that didn't involve closure of any kind and ignited some pretty strong feelings.

The topic: What is our role as WOMEN?
We invited ladies to look at their lives, search the Bible and use any resources available. Apply it to their life- whether it be their role in church, at home, in business, etc. I do not mean just the unattainable Proverbs 31 woman- the one who's passage alone makes women everywhere shudder and groan.Though verses were used from this chapter- and much can be relevant today as well- but look at some new verses.

The question was brought up, are the things we view as the social norm actually Biblical? Or have we interpretted the words to fit our lives? Is it part of our feel good society? Are men supposed to be higher in the church, home and office?

So, share with me your views. What do you believe to be true? I'd love to hear from the men on this one, too!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Too Good to Be True

The room quickly filled with rambunctious 2nd graders. Each bouncing off their seat in their own way. Impatience was high. For both Sunday School teachers and students. 30 minutes each week we attempt to grab the attention of these faces. 30 minutes each week we try to hurriedly explain how great God is and how much He loves them. All while trying to get these 8 kids to oh-for-the-love-of-pete-would-you-just-sit-down-and-stop-talking-don't-touch-your-neighbor-and-listen?! *ahem* Or something like that.

We tried something different.

We set the jar on the table. A plain old mason jar, half full with clean water.

This was what God created. Pure. Clean. Unpolluted. Without Sin

 Adam & Eve sinned...
The Israelites sinned...
 You and I sinned...
 The world was dark. No light was shining.

God sent His Son. The cleaning agent...
 He died on the cross...
 He washes away our sin....

 We are new creations. Clean. White as snow.
We have been washed by the blood of the Lamb. Fully. Completely.

Our water was pretty dark that first day. We each put a drop of sin in the jar. We had a lot of washing to do. We promised to leave the jar at church in our classroom until the next week.
The next week, they gathered around. Eager. Yes, eager.
"What happened to our black water?!"

Eyes grew wide as we pulled the jar out to show them: "You switched it!" "There's no way! That water was black, it couldn't be that clear now!"

"Isn't that what Christ did for us? Didn't He turn our black hearts into something pure?"

"Yeah... but...I just don't believe it could be true..."

Do YOU believe it? Do you believe that Christ could take your very blackest heart, the very deepest darkest sin you've committed, and wash it away completely?
It really does sound too good to be true.
But it isn't.

By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 1Corinthians 15:2-4

Monday, November 1, 2010

What makes me... me

This morning I am off visiting with my friend Diane Estrella. She was brave (or foolish) and asked me an innocent question that she had no idea would stir up so very much emotion for me. She decided to use the verbal vomit placed on her lap and turn it into a positive- isn't that awesome how God uses friends to take what we feel is our worst moment and turn it into something like "awesomeness personified"?! (her words, not mine)
So, while I have yet to forgive her for hijacking the photo of  me that she did (truly, its hijacked from Facebook- or maybe Bina willingly supplied it to her- they are both evil like that) I would love for you to go check out her site today... Diane Estrella: That's What I'm Here For. She has been an amazing friend, and she is the greatest encourager that I have ever meant. Now go!

And if you're visiting from Diane's place, Welcome! Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and let's get to know each other. I hope you'll feel comfortable here.