Tuesday, June 30, 2009

a day at the beach

It was a day at the beach...and a wonderful one at that! Bill, Terri, and Daniel invited me and the boys to spend the day at Callaway Gardens beach with them and we were finally able to go! It was a fun filled day to say the least.

Swimming, train rides, and mini golf...a little boy's dream day if you ask either of mine.

Sunshine, sand, and smiles all around. Spontaneity does have its benefits.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ken & Anna Day

Alex and Tim get so excited when our friends Ken and Anna come over to visit...and play. :) We all became friends during the time of being Youth Advance leaders together. Ever since then...and we've been through alot together...we've become the best of friends.
Friends like them I hope to have around through the ages. Friendship can endure alot I have found out. And it usually gets better through the tough times...but here's to better times to come.

(((HUGS))) to my friends...both near and far.

my little fishies

Alex and Tim have been in the water since they were both itty bitty tykes. It used to seem like they had swim diapers on more than regular ones...and from May til October I'd say that was just about true. They've always loved being in water...buckets, rain puddles, bathtub, pool, ocean...if it has to do with water they love it! I'm glad, too...it makes hot summer days so much fun.
Just this past week alone we/they were swimming 5 days out of 7. It helps that Nana and Pawpaw have a pool...and, that our neighbor does too. We haven't been to the neighbor's pool yet this year due to mechanical issues, but I'm sure we'll get there soon. We hope so anyway.

Alex and Tim can both swim without floats which makes being around the water alot more relaxing than their younger days. I've had my share of gasps sitting on the edge watching my babes in the water...but they always came back up. I so enjoy the water more now myself than when I was younger. Having not grown up with easy access to the water, it took years for me to find a comfort level in deep water.

Being a people person, I enjoy watching the faces of people as they observe my boys in the water. Especially at pools when we travel, I'll see a look of horror come over their faces as the boys skip the shallow end and head straight for the edge of the deep end to jump in with no hesitation. Some frantically look around for the parent "who must not be watching" and when they find me watching with a smile they are taken quite by surprise. Then most proceed to compliment the boys on how well they swim.

Alex and Tim are enjoying coming up with creative ways to jump off the diving board. The past two years it has been cannon balls and spin jumps. This summer it's what we call "kung fu" jumps. They are so funny to watch...arms and legs flailing in different directions with a "hi-ya" sound to accompany the jumps. Alex did this Karate Kid style pose into the water the other day. Hilariously funny.
I love my boys.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

all about me

There's a running joke between my best friend and me that I can make everything all about me and most times without anyone ever noticing until it's all said and done...it's a phenomenon I don't understand and don't realize even myself at times, but it does happen. I tried to teach her how to do it, but you've either got it or you don't...she is getting better at it, though. :)

I've said all that to say this: we are living in a society that is focusing on an "all about me" attitude. Self this and self that...this isn't a new concept. However, I started to take notice lately that alot of the songs being played on Christian radio stations are even "self" oriented. (Now, even the worst of these songs can be better than other options to listen to, don't misunderstand me). But, in a way, even Christian artists have started singing "self help" songs...songs to make you feel like someone else is suffering with issues just like you..."you are not alone" kinds of songs.

What's so bad with that, one may ask. It's not that it's all bad...it's just that it's becoming more of the routine to be thinking about who I am and what I can do instead of who God is and what God can do even within otherwise good Christian songs. Everyone needs a little encouragement along the way. Music can do that. Everyone needs to feel like someone understands and music can relay that message. It's just that too much of a good thing can be harmful.

Too many moments of thinking of self becomes selfishness and self-pity. It's time we get back to the basics and when we're down, confused or even angry take time to focus on God first and foremost. God is so much more than we give Him credit for...or even give Him a chance to be. And, when we're happy and full of bubbling over joy give God the spotlight He deserves.

Fill our ears and mouths with words about God and there's less room for self pity or self praise. I'm a working model for this concept...catch me later to find out how I'm doing with it. :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

the kitchen table

This past Saturday night I found myself once again in Grandma Miller's kitchen, surrounded by my family, listening to all the stories and laughter that resulted from them. There were more comfortable seats just feet away in the family room...but there we were after dinner just sitting and enjoying the time together as a family...around the kitchen table.

Today, in the middle of my kitchen, I was thinking that something was lost once the "formal" dining room fad caught on in American homes...especially those with walls all around and only one little door to connect to the heart of the home (aka: the kitchen). Growing up everything that was happening was happening at/on/around the kitchen table. There was always room for one more somehow. Playing games, cleaning garden veggies, making/eating food, visiting, homework, folding laundry, and loads of other things as well...I learned how to cook at Grandma's and Mom's kitchen tables.

In the Happy House, my new life in GA seemed like normal because our dining room was also the kitchen...just like Grandma's and Mom's. It felt like home. It was a hub of activity day and night and I loved it. The kitchen/dinging room was a rectangle and my little portable island was what separated the two spaces...and, at the same time, connected them. It was a nice way to transition to a new life...a little of the familiar in the new.

With all of today's new ways of communicating, I still like the old fashioned table talk.
Life's load gets a little lighter around the kitchen table.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bible Memory Camp Ohio 2009

My week of camp is over for the summer, but what memories I have of an awesome time once again at BMC. It's always fun to look back over the week and see how God put into place the right people at the right time to make Himself real among His children. It was evident God had his hand on who would be speaking at different times throughout the week. Well before any of us knew what was in store for the week He did. Everything fell into place and almost led into each other as if we had sat down and planned it to happen. The awesome thing about God is that none of us had done that, so Him bringing us all together for the same week was so cool. Also, the leadership for the week was phenomenal. Everyone did their part and did it well. After 22 years of being involved I can honestly say that doesn't always happen, but it's wonderful when it does.
We had an eventful Wednesday with first rain and then tornado warnings and 2 stays in the bathouses with the campers. Times that could have been very tramatic turned into praise for God who's in charge of both the wind and the rain. Some of the campers even said that their favorite moment of camp was the singing in the bathouses during the storms. Those counselors held it together even better than myself, I'd have to admit. But we all used the strength that Christ gave us to get through the scary moments...focusing on God and not the Goliath of a storm outside made all the difference.
When it's all said and done, no matter the storm going on around us or in us there's only One in whom we can find our strength. That same God who calmed the storm helped me find peace in another area of my life while at camp. Like most people coming off of a mountain top experience, it's been hard on me to find myself in the valley again of everyday, ordinary life. Once you get a taste for the extraordinary, ordinary just isn't enough. Now that I'm understanding my extraordinary Alaska trip has me spoiled, I understand better my struggles with the ordinary. It used to satisfy, but no more. I desire more than just existing and making it through...and I'm better because of that. I shouldn't settle for okay, when great is where God wants me to be.
On the lookout for the extraordinary...in ordinary things.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

out of the mouth of babes

Saturday was a day for comical statements from my boys. First, we wake up Saturday and decide to all snuggle in the king size bed for awhile...this always is a treat for the boys and we get to have family talks that are unlike any others that happen during the day. We were chatting about how well we slept through the night. Alex so matter of factly stated, "I stayed awake until I fell asleep last night. It mostly works that way." Now, imagine the giggles that followed that one...how funny and how great of a start it made to my day.

Now, fast forward to about 7 pm that night...we're all outside; boys riding bikes and playing here and there, Scott working on the VW Bug he's restoring, and I'm working in the flower gardens. Tim's close by so I ask him to help me with holding some flowers back so I can get the shovel underneath them...he does it once and I ask him to do it again in another spot. He stops and looks at me and so cleverly states, "That's not going to happen, Cupcake." We were laughing so hard...he was so cute and funny I didn't even ask him to help anymore. It was hilarious and a great way to bring an end to my day.

From beginning to end...my boys and many laughs...can't believe I've been so blessed.

Friday, June 12, 2009

butterflies and fireflies

Tonight was the VBS program and once again my boys were overcome with butterflies when it was time to stand on stage and sing the songs. I do believe this is the third year in a row that they are perfect in practice...know all the words and motions and have a look of excitement and satisfaction as they do their thing. Bring on the program and it all falls apart and fast. Tim doesn't get through the first song, bless his heart before the tears start to fall...Alex holds it together enough to stand on stage but doesn't sing or do a motion the entire night and is constantly wiping away his tears. Poor guy. Okay, so I know what that's like...I understand for I was the same way, sort of. I got nervous and all that, but not to this extreme. I guess next year I will have to video practice and we'll just skip the evening program...(I remember thinking this last year, but had hopes for a better return on our week's investment this time around). There's always next year...
So, we leave an otherwise wonderful program and head out for dinner and then home. We're greeted in our front yard by hundreds of fireflies. So, to turn an evening around what's better than a good firefly chase? Nothing, actually, could have been more fun at the moment. To watch Alex and Tim dash after little lights so quick to disappear just out of reach...a good way to take away the blues we had all experienced a few hours earlier. The boys didn't actually catch any this night, but they had fun trying. They enjoyed seeing and holding the two that I was able to catch...it's not as easy as it used to be, but just as much fun.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Vacation Bible School

Like many people, I'm finding myself at another week of VBS. The week has gone by quickly I think. Maybe I just have really good help that makes my responsibilities easier this year. Vacation Bible School is far from a vacation for those of us leading a "station" whether it be group leader, music, crafts, snacks, games, or Bible class, but for some reason we always sign up to help again the next year. It's because it's not about us, but about reaching the boys and girls with a message we think is important enough to put our normal schedules aside for one week and entertain kids in a way that is fun and yet filled with basic Biblical principles that will help them to grow in their understanding of God.
According to some on line research, VBS got it's origin back in 1894 by a teacher, Mrs. D. T. Miles. She was a public school teacher until she married and then continued to teach in Sunday School. Feeling the time on Sunday morning was too constrained to teach the children what they needed to know about the Bible, she developed a way to teach Bible stories to the students during the summer months. Mrs. Eliza Hawes furthered the ideas of VBS on 4 years later, adding music and crafts to the agenda. In 1922, the World Assoication of Vacation Daily Bible School was founded by Dr. Robert Boville. A year later, the first printed VBS materials were produced.
VBS was started by a teacher out of her own desire to see the Bible being taught to children. Makes me wonder...do we continue the tradition today to see the Bible come to life for the children or simply to give them something else to do to avoid becoming "bored" during the summer. Either way, God is bigger than our greatest shortcomings and continues to reach children through VBS's across the world...for which I am thankful.
Makes me think about my own reasons for helping out, though, and about the impact my attitude has on the children who come into my station each day. Do they see Jesus in me? Hopefully, they can, but I always have room for improvement.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

prayers and things

I was reading through "A Call to Die" by David Nasser for a second time not that long ago and it was interesting to discover new insights this time around that were there before, but for some reason, hit home hard as I read the words again.
Nothing hit harder than when he went into detail about loving God more even than the things of God. Refering to prayer, praises, Bible reading, etc. We are to love God because He's God. End of sentence. That's all we need to know...and do. All the things of God have their place, of course, in bringing us to a place in our lives where we are closer to God and know more about Him and His unchanging self, but they can't take the place in our hearts and lives that God alone needs to own.
The love of those things can't replace the simplistic notion that God wants us to love Him even more than the things we do for Him, because of Him, and by Him.
Why hasn't that thought crossed my mind before? Maybe in some fashion it has, but I was too busy doing the things I love to do to realize it. :) I am to love God. He can change things because of prayer. He created us to worship Him. His Word is unchanging and sharper than a double edged sword. All those things are true, but even more so is the notion that God is God and I am to love Him.
I found myself realizing that I had a checklist...mentally, so to speak. Prayers said...check. Bible read...check. Sang a song...check. Blessings received because I did all those things.....
Yeah, that's the problem. I had done all those right things with a clause attached. I'll do this because I think God will do this, and this, or maybe even this. My love of God isn't to be on a what can He do for me basis. Yes, I believe we can be blessed by doing all those things...and we will be. That's not supposed to be why I do them, however. I love God...because He's God and not only because of what He can do for me. It's changed my perspective. It's making me check my list at the door as I approach God in prayer, Bible time, worship.
His grace is sufficient.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

a weekend at home

After seemingly a month of weekends away, the Roth's spent a weekend at the house doing "normal" weekend things. I guess they were normal, relatively speaking. Spent Friday night getting the boys' haircuts, then a bite to eat. This morning I went to Walmart at 7:30 am to beat the masses...then we were all taken out for breakfast by my in-laws for a late birthday present. (I love when my birthday lasts longer than a day). Mike and C's is a great little restaurant. Good service + great food = satisfaction. The boys had a chance to go shopping with G-ma and G-pa Roth by themselves...everyone seemed to have had a good time when we went over to pick them up.
The garden the boys and I planted (with the help of Scott who did the tilling) is doing well. So far nothing too major has been eaten or destroyed. Had to replant some sweet corn in the very beginning due to some creature plucking it out of the ground, and a deer nibbled on some leaves, but left it standing. There are little green tomoatoes growing...how exciting! And, the green beans are blooming which is always a good sign. Things are starting to grow...everything takes time. Life is alot like a garden...but I won't go there today.
After mowing the grass at Dad and Pam's, we headed home to do more of the same at our house. A rainy season does make the grass grow quickly...not been like this in years and it's hard to keep up with the grass. The boys helped Scott with a few tasks...changing the tire on the pontoon boat trailer, putting together the new weed eater, trash run. We played with Navy, the neighbor's dog and found out the pool isn't quite ready to swim in yet this summer - the boys were disappointed to say the least but took the news well. All in all, it was a busy day around the house, but a good one.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


It shouldn't surprise me anymore, but it does. Things going smoothly just does not happen for me as of late...and when they are for a moment, out of nowhere comes the sucker punch. I was left blindsighted tonight. Not for sure what got me the most; what I was hearing or who I was hearing it from (I know, I know. Don't end a sentence with a preposition. Forgive me).
Left asking myself the title of this blog...What?

What happened? What now? What next?

laughter is the best medicine

The boys and I had a nice first day back from vacation yesterday. Quiet morning at home, errands in the afternoon...and some fun in there too. Alex and I were reading/looking at his "I Spy" book from the library and we came down with a good case of the giggles. I so enjoy when this happens. It's as if all is right in the universe for that moment, and truly for us right then it was.

Tim, Alex and I were all lying on the floor in the living room, they each had their books in front of them and I was helping them both spy things on the pages. Tim is getting more interested in books now...for longer periods of time at least. He's more into imaginative play than Alex. Give Tim 5 minutes and he'll have people flying, driving, or whatever-ing all over the place. It's so fun to watch.

We had a lot of laughs together over our vacation, too...like when we went to hug this huge tree in Savannah. How funny it was I'm sure to watch us try to get our arms around that trunk. It's kind of like trying to grasp everything God's doing...there's more there than I can wrap my head around, so I just go with what I know and leave the rest in His hands.

They grow up so fast. I'm thankful I don't have to miss out on many of these moments. Praise God for providing what's best for all of us...in spite of what we think we want.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What's in a blog?

Had this blog page process started awhile ago, but was stumped at a name for it. That part was intimidating to be honest...still is, but since I had nothing to do with choosing my name in the beginning, it's a safe choice, right? I like my name, so I'll go with what works.

The real question is "Why now?" I'm not yet sure of the answer to that question...stay tuned and maybe one will come. I'll let you know. Most of my thoughts these past few years have been posted on fb/myspace/twitter, but now I've opened myself up to yet one more internet time consumer. We'll see how it goes from here.

The nice thing here is that I'm not limited to a certain number of characters. Freedom...maybe I've found the very thing I need right now.