Saturday, May 31, 2014

blue eyes

Tuesday, May 27th
The gift today had for me came in the presence of an almost 5 year old and watching my boys play with him.
So much preciousness!

blue eyes

long road home

workout complete; swim timeMonday, May 26th
Happy Memorial Day!
Roadtripping it home this day.  
Thankful for the gifts of safety, great traveling boys, and home!
Got in my workout not too long after we unloaded the van (which was a workout in and of itself).

all in the family

Sunday, May 25th
This afternoon after church and the Indy 500, the fam went fishing together.  So. much. fun!
These are some of the catches of the day...

all in the family

Today's gifts: family, fish, and fun!

Graduation Day

My niece, Bethany, graduated today.  I am so proud of her!
The gift of family is priceless and precious.

Bethany's Graduation

on the road again

Friday, May 23rd
Awoke early and hit the road headed North this morning...Indiana, here we come!
A gift today was the motivation to keep up with my workout even on the road.  While it was difficult to balance at times, I got my workout in and felt better for doing it!  Yay for the spacious van with a dvd player!
More gifts...
My mom!  Love her so much!
Strawberries!  Helped picked strawberries this afternoon at my sister's house.  So yummy!
Rest!  Bedtime is always welcome after an 8 hour drive.

a little pampering never hurt

Thursday, May 22nd
Some days a person just has to take a moment and sit down and breathe.
That was my gift today.
Time sitting, breathing, with my feet in the water...
pedi time
Pedi time! :)

day 1 of summer vacation

Wednesday, May 21st
Word pictures of today's gifts...

love me some DQsunshine selfie gift of health

last day of school 2014

finals of 2014
Tuesday, May 20th
With these two final tests, the boys have completed coursework for 4th and 5th grades.  So proud of them!
Today's gifts...
Final day of school.
Ice cream with Nana.
Physical therapy ended and knee feels much better.

happy day

Monday, May 19th
Today the gift is that this is the final Monday of school!  Yay for summer vacation that is so close now!  My boys deserve a blue ribbon of excellence for all their hard work this year!  With my appointments and down days, they persevered like the best students ever!  A huge thank you to everyone who helped them keep on going when I could not!  
Love my boys' work effort!  They are the best!  A true gift from God, Himself!

Sunday

May 18th
When you have a supportive and very giving church, people are blessed. In order to help raise funds for our youth, we held a cake auction.  26 cakes were donated by our congregation to be sold on the auction block after the evening service.  Laughter and bids filled the room as each cake was auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Although Scott made a valiant effort to bring home the cake I made, he had to let it go to the highest bidder of $225.  I will have to make another cake for him. :)
This day's gift...the church raising over $1700 for our youth.


Saturday

May 17th
After Alex's baseball game and lunch at Johnny's Pizza, we went to Delta's Family Day.
We had a lot of fun in the museum.

my favorite airline
selfie under an airplane
retro flight attendant dress
Family is a wonderful gift.

Friday

I am so behind on my Birthday Season posts...sigh...
May 16th
Today's gift came as the closing awards program of our Upward football season were happening.  Seeing hundreds of people gathered to celebrate our children's efforts in both football and cheerleading was a blessing.
These weeks...days...hours of coaching and mentoring children during any Upward season are difficult in one major respect:  Satan is at you 100% of the time while you are performing your duties as coach, on and off the field.
How do I know?
I have been there.  Experienced it.  Got the spiritual war wounds.
This year I sought refuge in the concession stand.  It was a mighty wonderful break for me at a very fitting time in my life.  Still serving my church and my community; just on the back lines and not the front.
Sometimes we have to take a back lines approach.  We need rest.  We need time to heal.  We need to allow others the opportunity to be stretched and taught how to endure on the forefront of the battlefield.
There is a time and a place for battles and for rest.  The following passage from Exodus always comes to mind when I think about such things...
The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the Israelites, who were going out triumphantly. The Egyptians—all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, his horsemen, and his army—chased after them and caught up with them as they camped by the sea beside Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.
As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw the Egyptians coming after them. Then the Israelites were terrified and cried out to the Lord for help. They said to Moses: “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you took us to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Isn’t this what we told you in Egypt: Leave us alone so that we may serve the Egyptians? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
But Moses said to the people, “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and see the Lord’s salvation He will provide for you today; for the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you must be quiet.”
The Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the Israelites to break camp. As for you, lift up your staff, stretch out your hand over the sea, and divide it so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. I am going to harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them, and I will receive glory by means of Pharaoh, all his army, and his chariots and horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am Yahweh when I receive glory through Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
Then the Angel of God, who was going in front of the Israelite forces, moved and went behind them. The pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and stood behind them. It came between the Egyptian and Israelite forces. The cloud was there in the darkness, yet it lit up the night. So neither group came near the other all night long.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back with a powerful east wind all that night and turned the sea into dry land. So the waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with the waters like a wall to them on their right and their left.
The Egyptians set out in pursuit—all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen—and went into the sea after them. Then during the morning watch, the Lord looked down on the Egyptian forces from the pillar of fire and cloud, and threw them into confusion. He caused their chariot wheels to swerve and made them drive with difficulty. “Let’s get away from Israel,” the Egyptians said, “because Yahweh is fighting for them against Egypt!”  Exodus 14:8-25 
Resting does not mean do nothing.  Sometimes you just get a better view of God at work because you are on the sidelines and not in the trenches with arrows flying directly at you.  The key is listening for and to God's direction and being and doing what He wants when He wants.  He cares for us enough to fight for us.

Friday, May 16, 2014

routine?

You tell me.
Six months ago today a "routine" mammogram found my otherwise undetectable cancer.
Around a year ago as the boys were finishing school, we were in the midst of packing/moving/building, and I was preparing to be away for three weeks, I began to make phone calls.  It was time to get all sorts of routine appointments made...eye exam, physical, etc.
One of those was for a mammogram.
I had one when I was 38 and, although I had to have two then to rule out questionable areas, I was given the all clear and told to come back when I was 40.
Do the math.
I went back at 41.
This is the awesome God part of my procrastination...I asked my surgeon her best expert guess at how long my cancer had been there at the time it was discovered.
She said 6 months to a year, max.
Do the math again.
Had I gone at 40 there is a grand chance my cancer could have gone undetected then...or it may not have even existed depending upon the month of my appointment.  I could have gone for another year, most likely two, without knowing cancer had invaded my system.
My routine exam became a divine appointment.
Not too early; not too late.
Exactly on time.
Make the phone call.
God is good...no matter what!

Thursday

“As we grow up, we realize it becomes less important to have more friends
and more important to have real ones.” -Unknown

There are times when I sit back and say, "God is so good to have given me ......" and fill in the blank with any number of things.
This day it was for a friend who marked her calendar to have ice cream with me.
It was celebratory ice cream; it just took a bit for us both to find a date that worked.
The gift of today is friendship.  
You are treasured, Heather, and I thank God for you!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wednesday

“The cure for anything is salt water - tears, sweat, or the sea.” 

Or a salt water pool.
Today, the perfect way to end an afternoon workout (that drew sweat and tears from me) was my first plunge of the year into the pool.
I so needed this.

taking the plunge

Today's gifts were indeed sweat, tears, and my concrete "sea".


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tuesday

“[A] quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business."  ~A.A. Milne

I had to laugh.  
Just the other day Alex comes to me and tells me the many interesting things he has learned about Romania.  Earlier today the boys were discussing facts about Tanzania.  I am always impressed with what they hold onto with their sponge-like brains.  They both love history and can remember dates and names so much better than I ever could.  
So, why did I laugh?
Tonight, as we were discussing different people's quotes, their favorite funny quote was from Daffy Duck.
Looking at the bright side...Daffy's better than SpongeBob.
Love the quirkiness of my boys!  One just never knows what they will come up with next.
my happy placeOther gifts of today include...
More healing of my bum knee...PT is helping me tremendously.


Dunkin Donuts coffee after physical therapy.





family game nightFamily game of Monopoly, NASCAR version.


Monday

a good game
Today's gift may seem unusual to some, but there are days when the little things are huge!
For example, dirty knees on a baseball uniform.
Laundry does not always make me smile, but tonight it did.
You see, this is no ordinary dirt.
This is a reminder of my Alex's slide into home plate tonight.
The story begins with his first base hit of the season.  #yay
He stole second.
Was advanced to third by a teammate's base hit.
When on third, Alex ran toward home on a play being made at first base.  He slid in to the base as the ball was making its way to the catcher's glove.
The umpire called him safe.
It was our team's go-ahead run.
The crowd went wild.
You should have seen A's smile...and mine.
Today's laundry holds more than dirt.
Memories were made here.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Better Than Barbie Dolls

Between the innocence of babyhood and the dignity of manhood, we find a delightful creature of a boy.

Author: - Unknown

God has given me the greatest Mother's Day gift ever possible...two happy, healthy boys. They are a joy!
Today's gifts in pictures...
A's catch of the day!
Alex's first catch of the day.
good fishing day

*bonus*
a large mouth bass and the cricket was still alive for another cast #winwin
boys, toys, and mud
boys riding their toys in the rain
better than Barbies and princesses
My thought as I was hosing off Alex and the go cart...This is better than Barbie Dolls any day!

It's a win!

Thursday evening Alex's ballgame ended 7-1 with us on the winning side!  We were all so excited for the boys.  It was the best they've played as a team yet.
This birthday season just keeps on giving the best gifts for us all.
Now, if I can only get on board with taking pictures at a game before the season ends...

my boys

Today my gifts came during time spent with my boys.

Alex was my p90x workout buddy.
my workout buddy
Then Tim and I took to the kitchen to make Rice Krispie Treats for his football game tomorrow.
my lil chef

Love my boys!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

just one?

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above,
where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
Colossians 3:1-4

There is a meme on facebook these days.  People update their status with their favorite Bible verse and then tag a few people to do the same.  Now, if you know anything about me, you could probably tell me back my favorite verses over time.  They were the same for years and years.  And, I still love to go back and read and remember what was going on in life when the Holy Spirit lifted those passages off the pages and straight into my heart. Passages such as John 3:16-17, Jeremiah 29:11-14, Psalm 40:5, Isaiah 48:17 (really, the entire book...spent years studying it in Sunday School, but that's a story in and of itself), Romans 8:28, and so many, many more.
Yesterday, I was tagged.  One of yesterday's gifts was the joy of trying to figure out which favorite verse to share.  But, because I was a slacker in posting and chose to go to sleep versus writing about my gifts of the day, I am writing about them this morning.  (I was tagged again this morning from another person, so it is now a 2-for-1 post.)
As I thought and thought about verses that have moved me in one way or another in my walk with Christ, God's Word spoke to my heart over and over again with His promises, characteristics, forgiveness, help, joy, and redemption.  What a gift!  
Above is Colossians 3:1-4.  I am drawn to these verses for various reasons at this time in my life.  
Verse 1 reminds me of whose I am and where I stand, so to speak.  I am risen with the resurrected Christ.  My heart is to be centered on Him.
Verse 2 draws my mind upward and off of my current circumstances.
Verse 3 recognizes that my life, and all of its ups and downs, is (as I see it) protected by Christ Himself.  I am no longer on my own.  He has me in the palm of His hand as I endure the pathways of life.  Nothing touches me that is not first seen...felt...allowed...by Christ.  
Verse 4 is my favorite.  It holds my true identity.  Christ is my life.  All that I am or want to become is found in Him.  And, because of this, my life after this life is with Him.  The hope of eternity lies with Him and in Him.
This passage helped me tremendously the past few months in keeping perspective on my circumstances.  God is good to provide such hope and peace when new paths are to be taken.  He lights the way as I need it in the here and now, but also illuminates the distant future which He also ordains.  Most poetically written in  the KJV... 
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Pslam 119:105
No extra charge for the bonus verse.
Blessings!

 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

feeling better

It may seem strange that today's gifts include a trip to physical therapy and homework from said therapist. But, they were great gifts to this gal who has been suffering for a week with a knee that thinks it's almost 42 years old. :)
In addition to feeling better, the pool is warm enough to stick my feet in now. :) Of course, the boys have been swimming off and on for weeks.
2014-02-17 002 342
Another great day of Birthday Season...I am blessed!

Cinco de Mayo 2014

My best gift this day was receiving a text out of the blue from a dear friend telling me that she was praying for me. Unknown to her, I was having a very rough day. My knee was hurting and still swollen (after a week), working out was a struggle, and I was just feeling down. Her text came at just the right time. I was reminded that prayer does not necessarily change my circumstances, but it changes my perspective on them. The support I felt at that moment helped me move on through my day with a renewed spirit. God is so good! Other gifts today...
*Tim and I had breakfast together to begin our day. He "made" my breakfast by opening my favorite greek yogurt up for me and serving it to me on a tray. :)
*Great check ups for both boys at the dentist! So thankful!
*Encouragement from my own fitness coach. She's awesome!!!
*Playing tennis in the driveway with my boys. I was moving slowly due to my knee issues, but we had tons of fun.
*Alex's baseball game provided a teachable moment in losing {again}. It breaks my heart to see talented boys struggle so. However, more than physical, the game is mental and there are some boys who cannot handle that aspect of the game. At all. When the boys whom the others look to as their leaders fall apart, there goes the game. Every. single. time. After the very first game I told Alex that baseball is a man's game. If he cannot handle the losses like a man, then he need not play. He has handled it well ever since then because he wants to play. Last night was a hard loss in the final inning. A close play at the plate did not go well for our team. It could have been called either way from where I sat. Our tying run was called out at the plate. We were all disappointed. The difference between us parents and our boys, we saw how much they had done well and correct all evening. All they saw another mark in the loss column. Coach firmly set the boys straight about losing and their attitudes toward it. They play as a team, lose as a team, and one day will win as a team. No one person/play lost the game. The same will hold true when we win one.
*Tucking my boys in bed at night...all the giggles, prayers, and moments shared are priceless!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

going in circles

The gifts of this weekend were....family time, roadtripping to Alabama, and NASCAR.

make a left up ahead talladegabusy pit road
the two Gordon fans
the suite life
my Jr. fan

Saturday, May 3, 2014

a day in pictures

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."
~Robert Brault

yellow roses of GA
Tim's 4 wheeler ride
go carting fun
slow roasting for optimum gooey goodness
gooey goodness


Today's gifts...
sunshine
roses
my boys
family time
fishing
and
s'mores
I am blessed in the little things.

Friday, May 2, 2014

It's May!

The Lord is my strength and my song;
He has become my salvation.
There are shouts of joy and victory
in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand performs valiantly!
The Lord’s right hand is raised.
The Lord’s right hand performs valiantly!”
Psalm 118:14-16
And, with May begins the wonderful 31 days of celebrating the little and big things in life.
Birthday Season is a time to see the beauty in each day given.  I remember being new at this whole season of birthday idea; not sure of how to truly celebrate each day as it happened.  It was inspiring to see how even the rough and tough days held a little bit of joy.  If searched for, even the cloudy days indeed have a silver lining.
So, even though I did not find time to sit and write about May 1 on May 1, it happened to be a great opening day.
Beginning with making homemade waffles for the fam (while I enjoyed my favorite Greek yogurt) and ending with Mexican out with friends, I cannot imagine a better first day of Birthday Season!
This being said, I think the season began a little early this year with me having an opportunity to visit some friends in both Detroit and Houston earlier this week.
I had some skymiles doing nothing but gathering dust, so I put them to good use on Sunday.  Flying to Houston via Detroit (sounds crazy, but so worth it), I was able to spend some time with dear friends whom I do not get to see often enough.
See, one of the flight options to Houston from Atlanta using the same amount of skymiles provided a 3 hour layover in Detroit.  My best friend lives in Detroit.  She tried to fly down to see me during the winter, but the flights never worked out for her to do so.  Flying standby is more complicated these days...more people, fewer flights.  So, being the awesome friend she is, she met up with me at the airport on Sunday morning for  a few hours.  People watching is so much more fun with your best friend!  I have not laughed so hard in a long, long time.  Ask me about cajun fruit and airport clocks sometime...then again, you might have had to be there to truly appreciate how funny both things are. :)  God has blessed me tremendously with my Deb!
It was truly a blessing to see my #bff!

#bff

A few hours later, and a catnap or two on the plane, I arrived in Houston at the house of dear friends I met in 2011 when on a mission trip in Alaska.  To say I love their family is saying too little.  But, how do you put into words effectively how much one treasures another person.  God had such a hand in our paths crossing and He provides an opportunity for us to see each other at just the right time when we need each other time and time again.  Whether for a day or a week, spending time together brings joy, laughter, and life struggle sharing...and I leave refreshed.  Stacey is indeed a sister-friend.  How I left Houston without any photo of us together is simply dumbfounding.  We even talked about how we needed a new photo together when I arrived Sunday, but had not taken one by the time I left Tuesday morning.  One of the last photos of us together is simply hilarious.  Still makes me laugh when I think about it and how much fun we had this day together. 
laughinthefaceofdanger

So, there you have it.  The wonderful beginning to another Birthday Season.  It was an amazing start with a promising outlook for the same kind of middle and end. 
God is so good!