Tuesday, December 28, 2010

take a walk with me

Thanks so much to Jenilee for hosting "Lazy Wednesday's Walk" over the holidays.  I've really enjoyed reading over my posts looking for one to link up each week.  As the final week approached, I struggled with which one to choose.  Pretty much it was between two in the end, but I decided on this one from last December...enjoy "keep moving forward".
(You won't hurt my feelings if you laugh out loud, either.  I do every time I read it).



Lazy Wednesday's Walk

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow Fun

Although the snow has somewhat disappeared from our yard, there was enough left this morning for a little snow fun here at the house.  They did some sledding while at their Nana and Pawpaw's house when the snow was fresh and had great fun doing it!  They spent the past two nights over there, so this morning was the first chance we got to sled at our house. 
I love how we are able to make the most out of what we have to work with in the moment.  It makes life so fun!
We were even able to get our Mommy & Me photo taken while outside enjoying the fresh, brisk air.







Happy Monday!




Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

White Christmas

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
Psalm 51:7-17
As I was sitting here on Christmas evening, I was thinking about the historical moment I'm a witness to today...snow in metro Atlanta on Christmas Day!  It hasn't happened, so they say, for over a hundred years.  Pondering all this, this passage in Psalms came to mind.  Reading it again, I am reminded of just how great a gift my Lord and Savior, a King at birth, gave to me on that first Christmas.
He came to be the One who can cleanse me from my sins.  He came so that I can rejoice no matter the circumstances of life.  He came so I can have a steadfast and willing spirit within me.  He came to be the One who can restore my joy.  He came to sustain me.
Why?
So I, in return, will tell others about Him, sing of His righteousness, and declare His praise.
Similarly on my mind this Christmas season, is what the shepherds response to being with Jesus was...
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.  Luke 2:16-20       
If I ever wonder what God wants me to do, I need just look to the shepherds example...
Seek out Jesus and spend some time with Him. 
After being with Jesus, tell people about Him.
And, hearing and seeing what God has done and is doing, glorify and praise God for everything.
What a blessed gift this white Christmas has been to my heart!    

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! 
May God's blessings of abundant life, unconditional love and abounding joy
be yours this day and in the New Year!
Scott, Janet, Alex and Tim

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:8-14

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Not Me

I really like those "Not Me Monday" kind of posts.  I find them very entertaining and creatively written.  Never really thought I'd have anything interesting to write about in such a fashion.  No, not me.
It kind of started back on Friday when I was not a homeschool mom that decided to take the day off of school simply because it was Tim's birthday.  It wasn't me who made cinnamon rolls for a midmorning snack for all of us to enjoy while Tim opened some birthday presents.  I was not the one who then took the boys out for a power lunch at Taco Mac at Tim's request.  It wasn't me that used the "I need to go pick up the pork and stew at Cafe Pig anyway." to justify going into Peachtree City for said lunch.  It wasn't me who had to stop at Kroger on the way home...on a Friday afternoon, a week before Christmas.  Also on the way home, it wasn't me who was tempted to stop for a peppermint milkshake at Chick-fil-A.  (Thankfully, it was me who didn't cave in to that one).
On Saturday, it wasn't me who slept in until 9 am.  It wasn't me who then volunteered to take Tim to the store to exchange a gift a week before Christmas.  It wasn't me who then offered to give Tim money in place of his store gift card because he couldn't find anything he wanted and proceeded to buy two sweaters since I had said gift card.  It wasn't me who then agreed to immediately take Tim to another store to find what he was looking for a week before Christmas.  It wasn't me who loved the idea of brunch at IHOP before heading home.  It wasn't me who encouraged Tim to relish the fact that his birthday was turning into a 3+ day event.  No, not me.
Saturday afternoon it wasn't me who went ahead and made a batch of date cookies even though I have a coffee cake and half a cheesecake already in the freezer.  It wasn't me who ate a date cookie straight out of the oven and burned my tongue on it just like I've done countless times before because I can't wait to taste them. 
Saturday night it wasn't me who stayed up late watching "Dances with Wolves" just because it was on even though I have it in my stash of movies and could have watched it anytime I wanted the next day.  Consequently, it wasn't me who got up late and made us late for church on Sunday...nor was it me who was tempted to leave church after Sunday school because I was tired and hungry.  (Again, thankful I didn't cave).
Sunday night it was not me who bent over to find something in the freezer and have pain seize my body.  It wasn't me who was then in constant, searing pain for the next 24 hours with no position offering relief.  It wasn't me who had to literally crawl out of bed because it was too painful to sit up first.  It wasn't me who was wishing for my muscle relaxer to kick into effect more fervently.  And, finally, it wasn't me who was sort of excited to finally have a "Not Me Monday" post to write...and it definitely wasn't me who wrote her post too late in order to link up for such a day, either.
Nope, not me.  

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Tim!

                                                             
Birthday morning...a great start to his day!

A total surprise of Rudolph characters.

         
He soon had a "set up" ready.

Helping make his white cake...

and never spilled one drop.

 
Voluntary reading break.  Priceless.

Tim helping to chop pulverize the strawberries to have with the cake and ice cream.

Round two of presents...



His white cake with white frosting, candles of his choosing, and his Toy Story 3 friends. 

Tim says it's the best birthday ever.  I've enjoyed all 7 of them, but today was a great day!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

sweet & salty simplicity

A few years ago a friend of mine introduced me to these yummy treats that are crazy simple to make.  I don't have an offical name for them, but they are a pretzel turtle so to speak.  You only need three ingredients:  waffle pretzels, Rolo candies, and pecan halves.
Unwrapping the Rolos are the most time consuming part of the candy making process, so do it first.                     Find whole waffle pretzels (so they look nice) and lay them on a baking sheet.  If you desire to use parchment paper, please do so. (I forgot for this batch).Place a Rolo on each pretzel. 
Now, you place the baking sheet in a low temperature oven (250 degrees) and you don't even have to preheat it if you don't want to. 
Be careful the pretzels slide very easily! 
You'll know the Rolos are soft when they get really shiny and just start to show signs of losing their shape.  You can test one before taking the baking sheet out of the oven if you like to see if they are squishable.                       Once softened, you take them out and place a pecan half on top of the Rolo and press it downward just enough for the Rolo candy goodness to come up around its sides a little. 
If you like sweet and salty, but don't like pecans you can top it with another waffle pretzel.
Once they cool completely you can store them in a tightly sealed container...they won't last long enough to worry about a shelf life. :)           



JOY

It seems this holiday season, beginning back with Thanksgiving, the word that is on my mind is joy.  Joy unspeakable, joy.
It really all began when I overheard a lady talking with her husband in the booth behind the boys and I at Chick-fil-A one afternoon.  Mind you, I don't make a habit of eavesdropping on others' conversations.  She was sitting directly behind me, though, and, wanting to or not, I could hear her words as she spoke.  I don't know what started their conversation, but she simply told her husband that it seemed she was surrounded by women with little or no joy in their lives.  And, it was wearisome.
Her statement struck a heart's string with me.  Could someone I know say that of me?  Was joy evident in my life or was I wearing people down with my countenance?  You and I both know something like this doesn't bother someone unless one is struggling with such an issue.  Yes, even though from the outside looking in, my life may look kind of picture perfect.  It's not.  I am blessed beyond measure and I thank God for everything He has provided.  (John 3:27 NLT..."John replied, 'No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven.'")  Without Him, I would indeed be lost...in more ways than one.  However, as life goes, there are goals unmet, dreams unrealized, questions unanswered.  Existing situations in which I struggle to find joy on a day to day basis.  Satan will use any opportunity he can in order to try and steal my joy.  The KJV says it best in John 10:10..."The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
I was reminded this week of Bible time at Bible Memory Camp this past summer when our Bible teacher led us through "It is written..." passages of scripture and how we can defeat our foe with the Word of God.  Speaking is powerful.  Speaking the very Word of God is awesomely powerful!  A tool I don't always choose as my first defense.  You'd think I would have learned by now...
So you think you can steal my joy, Satan?  Think again.
For it is written...
"For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place."  1 Chronicles 16:26-28

"He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy."  Job 8:21

"You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."  Psalm 16:11

"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever."  Psalm 30:11-12

"Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them."  Psalm 126:5-6

"But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away."  Isaiah 35:9b-10

And, my favorite especially for Christmastime...
"An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord."  Luke 2:9-11

Just a couple of days ago I took notice that alot of Christmas carols/songs sing of joy.  Not that I didn't know it already, but the word just kept being highlighted in my mind as I heard (and sang along with) the carols.  People wish each other a joyous New Year.  Spread joy, we're told.  Be joyful.  Well, honestly, I've come to realize joy has nothing to do with us.  But it has everything to do with Jesus.  You don't have joy until you have Jesus as Savior.  When I am low on joy, it's not because He's not with me; it's because I've left Him and God's Word for something else.  I left joy when I left Jesus out of the number one priority of my moment...day...life.  If joy is hard to find, I must seek Jesus in order to find it. 
Like the carol sings:
Joy to the World , the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.
Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.
The Lord has come...may my heart prepare Him room so that joy, unspeakable joy, is abundant and evident.

1 Peter 1:7-9..."That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Gingerbread House

This year the boys and I took on a new project.  Ta-da!  The first ever built by us, gingerbread house.  On Friday afternoon we began our project...and completed it tonight just in time to snap a picture for Mommy & Me Monday.  We had a busy weekend, so the house and sleigh had a good time to solidify before we loaded on the icing and candy.  It was alot of fun watching the boys work together, reading the directions and making plans for what went where.
A few hours, spread over two afternoons, turned into some wonderful memories.




  




Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

L.E.N.S. photo challenge: our lettered days

This week's photo challenge at "Home Is Where You Start From" has me pulling out a photo from a few months ago.  We were out enjoying the opporutnity to ride our bikes and play on our new driveway when Tim grabbed a handful of pinestraw and proceeded to spell out his name with it. 
With snow flurries today, most of me is longing for the warmer days again (or at least enough snow to go sledding)...but everybody needs Winter to appreciate Spring.  It's a good time for some hot chocolate...enjoy the photo challenge!   

Friday, December 10, 2010

Laughter...it really is the best medicine!

We have had alot of great memory making moments this week.  Just ordinary days being transformed into extraordinary ones moment by moment.  No great plan.  No strategy.  Nothing needed aside from time with each other to make them happen.  I like times like these.  They bring warmth to otherwise chilly, winterlike days.
Take Monday, for example.  The boys both had their yearly wellness checks.  We got right in and things were going smoothly.  Then, our nurse (who has seen/known the boys since birth) hands them their specimen containers.  Deer in headlights look on both boys' faces.  It was all I could do to not simply burst into uncontrollable laughter.  I muster enough of something God given in the moment to simply smile and assure the boys it will be okay.  I kind of think they first thought they'd have to provide their samples right then and there in front of her.  One could hear the sighs of relief when I further reminded them that they've done this before and ushered them to the restroom.
As Tim had completed his task first, the nurse took him down for his vision test while I waited at the other end of the hall for Alex.  When we arrived at the vision screening area, there were about 6 or 7 people (Tim and our nurse being two of them) all standing/sitting around with huge smiles and bursts of laughter occuring now and then.  My questions were soon answered as I realized that Tim was providing a great sourse of entertainment as he was attempting to read the eye chart.  He made it through one eye's reading (barely) without losing out to uncontrolable laughing, but the second round was proving to be a strong competitor.  When Tim gets tickled by something, he starts laughing so hard he can't hear or think straight.  (Yes, I can hear some of you saying "I know where he gets that from!").  He was getting so tickled he couldn't even say his letters correctly.  We love our nurse for a number of reasons, but especially for being a great sport through times like these.  After it was all said and done, I wondered if he was really 30/20 or if the testing was skewed a bit by his laughing so hard he couldn't focus.  Our doctor isn't concerned as of yet, so we'll see how things go next time.
Wedensday afternoon, Alex and I spent some time together experimenting with bubbles.  We put food coloring in bubble solution and then made bubble prints on white printer paper.  Alot of hot air being blown around for the sake of science. :)  Nothing makes this mama happier than when one of my boys exclaim, "Thanks, Mom.  That was alot of fun!" like Alex did as we were cleaning up our bubble mess.
The boys are getting to the point where they are really understanding what is "real" and what is not.  I do occasionally still get questions whether or not something is real, but for the most part they can comprehend live things versus pretend/cartoonish/fake things.  After a brief discussion on whether something or not was real, Tim boldly declared to me, "I'm the real thing, Mama!"  Then proceeded to dance around singing one of his familiar made up tunes.  Yes, Baby, indeed you are the real thing...a one of a kind, priceless real thing.
Other funny moments from our week...
The boys turning down "Charlie Brown Christmas" to watch Billy the Exterminator.
Thinking we had tickets to the Thrashers game tonight, but found out they are tickets to next week's game.  (Thankfully, we noticed before leaving the house, even though we were all dressed and ready to load into the car).
Me talking in my sleep...again.
Tim coming and waking me up in the middle of the night and scaring me so much I screamed and jumped as I woke up.  Hi.lar.i.ous!  I ended up scaring him so badly he started crying...and then I did too because I felt so bad.  It was one of those crying/laughing kind of moments where both happen at the same time, with laughter winning out in the end.
Playing Wii together as a family...so glad they love me for things other than my Wii abilities. :)
And, finally, watching some family videos from when the boys were little.  Watching the boys see themselves when they were little is priceless.  We were all belly laughing at one point just from hearing each other laugh as we watched the boys drive their battery operated golf cart.


video

video



   "He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy." 
Job 8:21


               

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesday's Walk...Alaska: Then and Now

Welcome to my lazy Wednesday's walk down memory lane to Alaska.  There are so many posts I could link to about Alaska, but today's tells a long story in a short kind of way. 
There are a number of reasons that Alaska is on my mind for today's post...
I had a dream last night that took me back to my very first visit to The Last Frontier.  Did that ever seem real!  The places and faces of AK are never far from my heart.  Never.
I'm preparing to share about my mission trips to AK with a group of children in January.  I've gone over alot of my info again, not to mention 100's of pictures, in preparation for next month's meeting.  I do not tire of sharing about God's work in AK...it's for His glory that I do it.
And, finally, maybe the main reason is the fact that I have purchased my ticket to return again next summer, if the Lord so wills.  There's a story to this ticket that is another testimony to how good God is all the time! 
I've been watching ticket prices for a couple of months now.  Wanting to travel this year with Delta, for miles purposes among other nice amenities they offer over the other airlines, I've been focusing my attention on their prices and flight times.  I was watching for the last two weeks in July.  That's basically around the time I've gone the past three summers, and it's the timeline I had spoken about to the missionary who coordinates staff and teams to come up for the summer.
On December 1st I had done my homework, had my timeline all planned out, and my husband's okay to purchase my ticket.  All I had to do was click "Review and Purchase".
I couldn't do it.  There was no peace in making the click happen right then.  So, unbelievably, I walked away from the computer without buying my ticket.  It was on my heart all afternoon and into the evening hours when prayer meeting started.  I asked for those gathered there to pray for God's direction over plans for returning to AK and that I would make them according to His leading. 
A step in obedience takes one a long way, let me tell you.  I pray often about AK...for many different reasons...but always that God would open and close doors to my going as He sees fit.  Going for my own reasons wouldn't be a good thing.  Not going if He wanted me to go wouldn't be good either.  I don't usually ask other people to pray about it, however.  That night I felt led to.  Not sure as to why, really.  But, I believe it was to see if I would be obedient to His prompting (also often referred to as "nudges" in my posts).  And, also to see if I was willing to admit I couldn't do it without help.  Not only help from God, but from my church family. 
Not but a couple of minutes, at most, went by when a thought came to mind to change the dates of my trip to the last week of July through the first week of August.  Perfect peace. 
I couldn't wait to get home and check out my new timeline.  Those seconds it took for the checking on flights thing to do its thing seemed to take forever.  Finally, the results came.
The first listing was not only a nonstop flight, but it was the cheapest fare I had come across in my many weeks of watching...about $100 cheaper than the similar flight I was thinking of choosing just hours earlier.  Click! went my mouse and I found myself with my fourth ticket to the state that holds half my heart.     
More than just for saving some money, I believe God led me to different weeks because those are the dates He wants me to serve in Alaska.  He has had a specific plan for me in Alaska the past three years (but I never knew what they were until I was there), so why would this year be any different?  He has a plan.  That's all I need to know.

"We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction."  1 Thessalonians 1:2-5a
Lazy Wednesday's Walk

Monday, December 6, 2010

Oh, what fun!


Saturday morning we layered up and set off for downtown Atlanta for the annual Christmas parade. We've gone to the big parade several times since the boys were born...we sometimes choose our hometown parade, but going to Atlanta at Christmastime is something special.
This year things went especially smooth...found a parking garage close to the parade route; the parade began at the same moment as when we stepped to the curb; it wasn't too cold (at the beginning at least); we were at the start of the parade route with front row seats and no crowd around us; and leaving was a breeze since we were at the beginning of the parade.
Lunch was at Mary Mac's following the parade...yum!
It was a perfect way to spend a December morning with the family!












Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

L.E.N.S. photo challenge: cropped

 This was my favorite group of the Atlanta parade on Saturday...the Model A Restorers of Georgia.  The cars were so fun to see and hear.  There were so many of them it was hard to take them all in as they rolled by us.  Would love to see these at a car show sometime to enjoy all the hard work put into restoring such grand cars of their day. 
This was the original...I cropped out the first car (that I missed by a second's hesitation) and the person in the dark coat walking down the street. 

Come join in on the fun at Home Is Where You Start From.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

O Christmas Tree





Needless to say, we've had alot of fun making and decorating Christmas trees this week!  Thanks to Jess @ Get Busy Living for the inspiration for the cluster of trees.  
A short cute story from our week of tree trimming...
I cut out Christmas trees of green construction paper for the boys to decorate with markers and glitter pens.  They then got to hang them around the school room.  Tim asked if I could make him an extra one.  He wanted a Christmas tree for his Snoopy and Woodstock friends.  So, now, behind our recliner is the Christmas tree leaning up against the wall with Snoopy, Woodstock, SpongeBob and some other "friends" gathered around it.  
Is that sweet or what!?!