Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Who am I?

Well, my birthday has arrived...it's officially the 18th anniversary of my 21st birthday.  It has been a wonderful birthday season.  I am one truly blessed lady!!!  Sometimes it takes a conscious effort to stop and take the time to truly count your blessings.  I've tried to do that this month.  Last night as I was downloading more pics to fb for this month, I took a moment to take in all that we've done and enjoyed so far this month and it brought tears to my eyes.  I say "so far" because as I type this my birthday has only started minutes ago...there's 23 hours and some odd minutes left to enjoy!
Not only am I thankful for the past month of little everyday blessings, but also for the moments when God has shown Himself so real, so powerful...yet, so gently amazing.  I was reading in 2 Samuel this week and a verse that speaks volumes to me everytime I read it, leapt off the page again as my eyes took them in...
"Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said: 'Who am I, Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?'" (chapter 7 verse 18).  Indeed, who am I that God has sought me to be his own?  That He has chosen me for such a time as this in my life...oh, the magnitude of it all.  The highs and the lows that He allows in my life, bringing me ever closer to Himself.  I am so undeserving.  Yet, He still calls me His child.  Amazing love indeed.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

L.E.N.S photo challenge: comfort


These hammocks were the epitome of comfort after a day of deep sea fishing and snorkeling in Key West.


I can still feel the breeze and taste the salty air as I look at these photos and remember our trip through the Keys.....awesomeness!

Home Is Where You Start From

Friday, May 27, 2011

3 in 30: May wrap up...June goals!

3in30 I'm In!!

May goals...
1. Clean out junk drawers...well, some have been tackled and some remain.  Life goes on. 
2. Boys' clothes gone through...did this a couple of weeks ago and had fun with it.
3. Proverbs 31 challenge to myself about reaching out to the needy...let me just say that I'm thankful for those who have reached out to me with encouragement to get me through a somewhat rough week.  Sometimes we have to graciously receive blessings from others in order to get ourselves back together enough to be a blessing to others.

Looking ahead to June's goals...
1. Enjoy vacation!!!
2. Get back into an exercise routine after vacation!!!
3. Pray with purpose!  James 5:16 says, "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."  That's what I desire in my prayer life...powerful and effective prayers!

Hope everyone has had a wonderful month of May!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Alex's Piano Recital



The big event in the life of our new pianist, Alex, was Tuesday, May 24th...recital night!  Yes, after 9 months of lessons, it was time to perform for an audience of family, friends, and some unfamiliar faces.  He did so well!  And, in his words, "I didn't make any mistakes!" you find the best way to sum up how he felt about his performance.
This recital almost didn't take place. 
He had other plans.  
Alex has always wanted to play the drums. 
He wanted drum lessons. 
I am not against drum lessons. 
But, I, looking at a bigger picture, had a different goal in mind for my then 7 year old son.  I wanted him to take piano lessons. 
We had to compromise.
Our agreement was that he had to take at least one year of piano lessons then he could choose drums if he wanted.  My reasoning was that, this way, he'd learn to read music and have a good foundation in music before just banging away on drums like there was no tomorrow.  
He knew his piano teacher from church, so going in he was comfortable with his teacher.  That was a wonderful thing for starters!  He went willingly, but only had the idea of one year in mind...drumsticks never far from his mind.
However, I can honestly say that after one lesson he was hooked and hasn't looked back since!  He never had to be reminded to practice.  He'd go and sit at our keyboard on his own off and on throughout the day almost everyday of the week. 
His confidence grew with each lesson.  Even the tougher pieces that initially brought some frustration, he worked on and eventually learned with seemingly no effort.  He enjoyed playing for friends and family members that came to visit.
He's not perfect. 
He's probably not the next Beethoven.  
But, he's confident and he's dedicated to doing his best.  He looks very natual behind a set of black and white keys.  His playing brings smiles.  He's blessing others with his new skill.  And, in my book, he's good.
As the recital date approached, we went about things as usual.  Practice.  Pep talks about what to do if something went "wrong".  Encouragement to do his best.  He was pretty excited about getting to play in a recital.  More excited, I think, than nervous.  In fact, I think I was more nervous than he was.
He was able to practice before the recital began, which was a blessing.  His first attempt at his first song was less than perfect.  He looked at me.  I smiled back and told him to try again from the beginning.  He started over and played through both his pieces without a mistake.  His confidence was at a new high and he went on through to play both his pieces, The Kangarooster and Snake Dance without any glitches in the recital.  As he would near the end of his pieces, a little smile appeared on his face. 
He had overcome any nervousness he might have had in the beginning. 
He was happy and enjoying his moment in the spotlight.
What more could I hope for than that!
He's already looking forward to piano practice beginning again this fall...with no mention of drum lessons lately.  My eardrums are safe for now.    

May Flowers

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the LORD sees, for man sees what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart." 1 Samuel 16:8 


Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.  Hebrews 4:16


Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you...1 Peter 1:3-4


Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines...
yet I will triumph in the LORD; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!
Habakkuk 3:17a-18 


The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God remains forever.
Isaiah 40:8


Who is wise and understanding among you?
He should show his works by good conduct with wisdom's gentleness.  James 3:13


The LORD your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness.
He will bring quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy.
Zephaniah 3:17


Saturday, May 21, 2011

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


Sunny Saturday + Nana's Pool + 2 Boys = Happiness

Who said math was hard?

Find other great photos @ Home Is Where You Start From!

Friday, May 20, 2011

3 in 30: May {week 3}

3in30 I'm In!!
"'This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time,' declares the Lord.
'I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.'"
Hebrews 8:10-12
I just simply love this passage in Hebrews!  God put his law in my mind and on my heart when I accepted Jesus as my Savior...He is my God and I am His child.  And, as a loving, living God He remembers not my sins.  Now that's encouraging news!  Makes me realize that when my end of the promise fails, He is ever faithful to keep His so I can try again tomorrow and not live life in regret.

Now, for my May progress...
Maybe one of my May goals should be to get my post written and linked up on time. :)  I'm making this week's link up at 3 in 30, so hopefully I'm turning a corner and getting back in the swing of things.
My May goals are:

1. Clean out junk drawers. Yes, we have more than one...and, yes, I want to tackle them all. (What am I thinking???)
One down...a couple more to go.

2. Go through the boys' clothes to figure out what fits, what they still like, what we need for the summer months, etc.
Done!  We had alot of fun doing this together.  We found a few shirts to add to those we're saving for their memory t-shirt quilt I'll make them one day.  And, we went shopping, too, to restock for the summer months already. 

3. Part 3 of 3 for the Proverbs 31 goals comes from verse 20..."Her hands reach out to the poor, and she extends her hands to the needy."
Passed on some gently used clothes that we weeded out of the boys' closet to a friend at church with boys who could wear them.  Sent more handwritten letters to friends.  And made some goodies for friends. 
Your hands can reach out to others in many different ways! ♥
Hope your week has been a great one!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday's Walk: beautiful blooms

As a little girl, I loved springtime flowering weeds in the yard and would go out and pick a handful to put in some water to enjoy inside.  You know...those little yellow and purple flowers that bloom right before the yard needs to be mowed for the first time.  Such little intricate perfect blooms, you have to love them. 
Well, I do anyway. 
Dandelions were (and are) an all time favorite of mine, too, because they are like little yellow smiley faces.
Then there's Queen Anne's Lace...the tall, white beauties along the roadside in the summer months.  I always dreamed of having that in my wedding bouquet.  (This didn't work for a wedding in February...bummer!).
Last year, the DOT wildflower project actually worked along a stretch of the highway by our office, and, every morning, I would start my day by soaking up the beauty of the bright, bold colors of poppies, black eyed susans, and batchelor buttons.    
This morning, the boys went out to ride their bikes before school.  Alex is enjoying a new bigger bike that we were graciously given to us by some friends.  It goes alot faster for him and he likes that alot.  He comes back in after a few minutes to where I was in the kitchen and tells me to look at what he found up by the road.  He hands me a pretty yellow flower, says, "I love you!"  My heart melted as I said, "Thank you!".  He apologized for the wrinkled leaf on one side.  He had carried in his teeth as he rode to the house so that it wouldn't get smushed between his hand and the handlebar.  Just the thought of what that must have looked like made me smile even more.    
Nothing is more beautiful to me than a pretty yellow blooming weed picked with love by one of my boys. Nothing.

Wednesday's Walk @ Get Joy!    

Not your typical Tuesday

Yesterday was not your typical Tuesday. 
Yesterday, I was able to spend one on one time with both of my handsome boys. 
In the morning, after dropping off Alex for his second and final day of testing, Tim and I came home and found a birthday present online for Alex that Tim's been wanting to order for him for some time now.  Alex's birthday is in October.  All the way home from the church, Tim and I were discussing places to hide his present until then.  It was so cute...and Tim was so excited.  Tim hasn't decided exactly where he wants to keep it, but I think under my bathroom sink is high on his list of choices.  He's also worried about where it's going to be delivered, so that Alex doesn't see the box.  Tim wants the best for his brother...it's so sweet.
After ordering the gift, Tim went to play for awhile...off in Timmy Land.  His imagination and passion are two of his greatest qualities.  Nothing is unreachable...unthinkable.  He loves life and is out to live it with such gusto.  While he was playing, I spent about an hour going through the house looking for the lost misplaced hopefully only temporarily displaced Lego Ninjas.  One day they were here.  The next...poof! they were gone.  Not a sign of them anywhere.  We were getting ready for his baby cousin to come over and so he carried them to his room on a cookie sheet (they build their Legos on cookie sheets to keep the parts together until they are complete) and after that they seem to have vanished.  I'm not for sure which cookie sheet he was using when he carried them in there; they are all accounted for but the ninjas are not.  I did not find them.  I feel horrible, but am totally clueless as to where they could possibly be.  I keep praying they will appear again. 
After the disappointing hunt, Tim and I decide we'll play a game together.  His choice.  First choice was Toy Story Operation.  His confidence in this game waivers some, so it was nice to play with just the two of us.  He's getting more coordinated...he even beat me fair and square.  Next, we played one of our favorites...Leaping Lizards.  The boys received this game for Christmas many moons ago.  We love it!  Again, Tim comes from behind to win in the last roll of the dice.  Happiness.
After the games, Tim and I take a few moments to watch tv together while waiting on Daddy to come home from work and pick up Tim for lunch.  Our favorite Looney Tunes were on..."my" version, as Tim calls them.  We chuckled at the antics of Wile E. Coyote and Bugs Bunny, snuggled on the couch side by side.  The world was going on around us, but for a moment, neither of us had a care on our minds.
When Daddy and Tim were set to leave for the afternoon, I was off to go and pick up Alex.  He again was feeling good about his testing and was telling me all about the boys at his table that he had gotten to know and play with over the last two days.  He's made such progress in the shyness area...he's not so hesitant to take steps toward meeting new people anymore.  I love seeing him be more confident and open with others. 
When we arrived home, we celebrated Alex's successful testing days with milkshakes and Monopoly.  We had Alex's favorite ice cream in the freezer, Cookies 'n Cream, which made for really good milkshakes!  And, we've been talking about starting a game for about a week, so we took advantage of our time together and did just that.  The time just flew by as we were rolling the dice and buying up properties as fast as we could.  A little over an hour into the game we decided to take a break and would pick up where we left off another night.  It's not unusual for us to have one end of our dining room table covered with the Monopoly game for a few days once a game has begun.
Alex finished off our time together by practicing his piano...especially his recital pieces.  One week from the recital!  He's been doing so well with his lessons, I am excited to see how the recital goes.  Just this week, Alex has taken on the task of teaching me some basics about where to place my fingers on the keys...I can read music thanks to my years playing the flute, but needed some help with finger placement.  He likes the role reversal of him being the teacher.
Today things get back to normal as we work toward the last day of school (and our upcoming vacation!!!).  Somehow, today seems better because of yesterday. 
I like it when life works that way.

Monday, May 16, 2011

a high-five and a smile

Another milestone reached today...standardized testing for my 2nd grade wonder!  I am guessing that maybe I was as nervous as Alex...if not more so.  He was testing with complete strangers, so to speak, as he was being tested with those in our co-op that we signed up with only for the testing purposes this year. 
Trusting those in charge with his well being was easy...believing they'd understand him if something came up, not so much.  They didn't know him.  He didn't know them.  That was the hard part for Mama today.  But, nevertheless, I walked him in, registered him, and found his room with the other second graders.  Then, I left.  And prayed...and then prayed some more. 
Although my eyes teared up, I kept the tears from falling.  I didn't want to upset Tim or get all emotional over silly things like my boys growing up and such.  I do my best to teach them confidence, independence, and coping skills for when things go wrong...and for a level headed response to when they go right as well.  In my head, I know a day like today is them putting that learning into practice.  In my heart, I so wanted to be there...just in case.
Tim and I had some errands to run today.  I purposefully had a list of places to go to keep my mind occupied on tasks so I wouldn't be lost in thought over how Alex was doing.  We accomplished our tasks, which felt good to have them off the "to do" list, and made our way back to pick Alex up 3 hours later.
My heart pounded as I saw his classmates for the day coming into the room.  How was he going to be?  How'd it go?  Any tears?  Any hint that something was bothering him? 
He walked in casually confident, a smile on his face when he caught sight of us waiting on him.  He told me that there was only one question he left blank and asked me what I thought the answer to it was.  I assured him that one question blank was awesome and that I'm proud of him and how well he handled his first day of testing!
Thinking back over the day, maybe the tears are due to how blessed I am to be Alex's mom and how proud of him I am!  He's come so far from the little guy I would leave at preschool crying every morning.  I am thankful that we worked our way through that milestone so that on a day like today we parted ways with a high-five and a smile!

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



Remember that the LORD your God led you on the entire journey these 40 years in the wilderness, so that He might humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands.
He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then He gave you manna to eat, which you and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
Your clothing did not wear out, and your feet did not swell these 40 years.
Keep in mind that the LORD your God has been disciplining you
 just as a man disciplines his son.
So keep the commands of the LORD your God by walking in His ways and fearing Him.
For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with streams of water, springs, and deep water sources, flowing in both valleys and hills; a land of wheat, barley, vines, figs, and pomegranates; a land of olive oil and honey; a land where you will eat food without shortage, where you will lack nothing;
a land whose rocks are iron and from whose hills you will mine copper.
When you eat and are full, you will praise the LORD your God
for the good land He has given you.
Deuteronomy 8:2-10
A photo from Alaska had to be chosen for the "remember" challenge.  No second thought necessary.  And, there wasn't any doubt, really, as to which one I wanted to post, either.  It was just a matter of getting it to post.  For almost a year now, one of my favorite photos from Alaska 2010 has consistently rotated 90 degrees every time I downloaded it to a blog post.  Thanks to a friend's advice, I searched Blogger's "Help" and found the solution I needed...just in time for the "remember" challenge.

What I remember when I see this photo...
God is good...no matter what!
Sunshine is sweeter after the rain.
How thankful I am for where I am now...spiritually, mentally, and physically...compared to where I was prior to "WOW '08".
Sometimes the answer is just a question away.
Alaska is amazing!
Patience develops over time and trials.
Memories, friends, and memories of friends are treasures for a lifetime.
God gives you what you need exactly when you need it.

I am forever thankful that I have a God who remembers me...and that He gives me reminders of Who He is and how He's working in my life for His glory!
 
L.E.N.S. button #2
Home Is Where You Start From


Monday, May 9, 2011

3 in 30: May Goals

3in30 I'm In!!
May goals have escaped me thus far...so many things I want to list, I've just gone without listing any.  After a great 4 months of 3 in 30ing, I feel I'm just one month away (always) from inevitable failure. 
What if I pick unachievable goals?  What if life gets in the way?  What if....?
Just being honest.
However, nine days in, I'm ready to list my goals.  I'm ready to face this month with a defined purpose.  Last week hasn't been without focus...I continued April's goals into May...and brought in a few things from previous months as well, but I'm ready for something new to work toward.
So, without further adieu....I present to you my May goals. 
Drum roll, please.
1. Clean out junk drawers.  Yes, we have more than one...and, yes, I want to tackle them all. (What am I thinking???)
2. Go through boys' clothes to figure out what fits, what they still like, what we need for the summer months, etc.
3. Part 3 of 3 for the Proverbs 31 goals comes from verse 20..."Her hands reach out to the poor, and she extends her hands to the needy."  I'm not confining myself to the direct definition of "poor" and "needy"...there are other ways "poor" and "needy" can be defined aside from financial means.  However, with so many tornado victims and (and soon to be flood victims), reaching out to the needy is just a few minutes drive from the house.

Time to get busy!  I've got some goals to reach before my birthday on the 31st!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

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

Meringue baked until perfectly golden brown.

Don't miss your golden opportunity to see other great photos

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

laughters

One of my favorite times of the day is prayer time with my boys before bed.  I never know what they're going to say during those prayers...or just what is going through their minds as we take turns praying.
Many times, Tim's prayers are about the same things every night...school, family, thanking God for something, missionaries, etc.  One night, though, when he started to pray, he said a prayer that included "and thank You for this food..."  Though smiling, his brother and I didn't say anything after he said, "Amen!" and it only took a second for what he had said to sink in and then we all had a good laugh with him.
Alex's prayers often remind me of what the faith of a child is all about...ask and you shall receive.  He has that much faith.  His prayers include asking protection and courage for missionaries around the world...every night.  He doesn't miss a night.  He prays about things that I sometimes forget over the day's time and activites.  I learn alot from his prayers.
Last night, Alex was praying and thanking God for all the "laughters" of the day.  This blessed my heart.  We did have alot of fun yesterday with friends and as a family, both.  Alex is sometimes my serious one...the one always thinking, planning, and yes, scheming, at times, too.  He loves to laugh, though, and to know he had a day where the laughter reigned over everything else, was just a great way to end my day.
Right before prayer time, last night, Alex and Tim were retelling the events that led to Tim almost running over Alex with the 4 wheeler.  Yesterday was day 2 of us having a dirt bike and 4 wheeler...still wet behind the ears, the two of them, but getting braver and bolder with every minute riding.  I had already told Tim to keep all four wheels on the ground when turning. (yikes!)  He had been riding all over our property singing "She'll be comin' around the mountain..." at the top of his lungs.  Although trees line both property lines between us and our neighbors, I know they could hear him.  It was so cute...loud, but cute!  The louder he sang, the faster he drove.  He is loving the 4 wheeler, but he can get in his own little world at times, so I have to bring him back to reality now and then.
Anyway, as the story goes, Tim "accidentally" hit the gas while Alex was sitting on his dirt bike near him.  Tim hit the bike, but Alex was able to get out of the way.  Nothing major happened.  Tim's first reply was, "I thought you'd move!"  "Really, Tim? Really?" was Alex's reply (sounded just like me when he said, it, too).  Having just heard the story (I had been at the Y when this all took place), during my prayer, I thanked God for His protection and that He would give us discernment when riding.
Apparently, my prayer brought back the memory of the evening's events, so upon my "Amen.", the boys both burst with laughter.  Belly laughs from both beds brought laughter from me as well.  Adding to it all, still laughing until tears came, Alex looks at Tim and asks, "What are we laughing at anyway?"  Barely able to speak because of his own laughter, Tim looks back at him and says, "I'm not sure!"  And we all laugh some more.
Prayers finished, laughter subsided, I walked out of their room considerably more thankful for all the "laughters" of the day, too.    

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Birthday Season

Happy May Day! 
I had been counting down the last few days of April in great anticipation for the 1st day of May to be here.  What a beautiful day today was to begin May!  But, the good news is that it's only the beginning.  There's a full month of beautiful days ahead, too.

May, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways...
May Day
Cinco de Mayo
Mother's Day
Last Day of School
Memorial Day
and...
31 glorious days of my Birthday Season.

Yes, my Birthday Season.  I've adopted this concept from a friend of mine, where in their family each of them has a birthday season during the month of their birthday.  Any little thing can contribute to the celebration of one's birthday during the season...it makes for a great month! 
Think, with me, of all the things that get seasons.  Weather.  Deer. Turkeys.  Salmon.  Tornadoes.  Hurricanes.  Holidays.  Why not birthdays?  Why not celebrate in all sorts of ways the month of your birth?  Am I not just as deserving of a season as a turkey?  a tornado? 
I thought so, too.
During your birthday month...or whoever's is next...go ahead and declare a month long celebration.  Do family things together in honor of the birthday season upon you.  Make favorite meals.  Play favorite games.  Spend a little extra snuggle time together.  Watch a favorite movie.  (Decorate your blog for you birthday!) :) Go on bike rides.  Plant flowers.  And, as it is sensible, enjoy a little something only money can buy. 
Spoil others with love and attention because you can...it's time to celebrate your life!