Thursday, July 31, 2008

This CRACKS Me Up!



I know this video has been circulating the blog world, so you may have seen it already, but I just had to post it today. It CRACKS me up!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

God Sent Me a Memo This Morning : )

Last night, I got a phone call from the head of Women's Ministry at church wondering if I would be interested in being a part of a new ministry she was developing. It was a great ministry opportunity, but I had to say no. It was the fifth time this summer alone I've been invited to lead or be a part of ministry opportunities and this was my fifth "no." She was gracious and understanding, but I was discouraged.

I have so much on my plate already...enough that I am having to drop out of many commitments just to be ready for our baby to be born. Three years earlier, I asked God to allow me to minister to women, yet here I was saying no to every opportunity I was given. I went to bed feeling guilty and confused.

My first instinct was to call a friend, but I was reminded of something Zoe Elmore wrote in a devotion I read awhile back. She said, "Run to the throne, not the phone." So I prayed. I knew God was the only one who would "get" what I was feeling. He alone understood my dreams and my guilt. It was a rambling prayer, but I fell asleep with peace.

Then this morning I picked up one of the books I'm reading and came across this quote:


"People will always ask you to do more than God asks. She quotes Alan Redpath, who said, 'Say yes to the burden that God puts on your heart and say no to everything else.' A whole lot of things can wait for a different season in your life or even for just a different time of year."

(From "An Interview With Carol Kent" in For the Write Reason: 31 Writers, Editors, and Agents Share Their Experiences With Christian Publishing edited by Marybeth Whalen.)

I couldn't believe how relevant it was for me right then. It was as if God sent me a personal memo. I was instantly released from the guilt of saying no, and excited to answer this question, "What burden has God put on my heart?"

Here's what I came up with:

- Being a good mom and wife. This is my current season of life, and I have to say no to many things in order to keep Pat and the kids first. After Benjamin is born and our adoption is complete, my home life is going to require even more attention and time. This is my top priority.
- I also reaffirmed my burden for encouraging women who have gone through pregnancy loss. That's where my heart is right now. That is what my book is about. God's little memo to me confirmed it is OK to want to focus on that area of ministry, and it is OK to protect my time so I can do what is necessary to get my book published and my message into the hands of the women I know it can help.

As the seasons change, so will be my ability to say "yes."

I was so thankful for God's personal touch in my life this morning and I just wanted to share it and thank Him for it.

Monday, July 28, 2008

My CREATIVE Friend


OK...At this point in my blogging career, I'm sure many of you are tired of hearing about my wonderful, talented, and creative friend Daiquiri. But this time she has truly outdone herself. I never knew just how CREATIVE she really is, but boy did she get me good this weekend. : )

Before I focus on the beautiful shower she threw for me and all of the special things she did FOR me that day, I first have to tell you what she did TO me. (You can click here to see her blog post and pictures of the special day. It was so sweet, and I was blessed by my friends' generosity and love)

After a delicious lunch and many, many desserts : ) she had me open my gifts. I thought my friend, Michele, was writing down my gifts so I'd be able to do thank you cards later. She was actually writing down every word that came out of my mouth as I opened the gifts. (You can see her leaning up against the wall in the photo below...she's the one with the smile on her face, trying to hold back laughter)

When I thought we were all done and ready to move on to the next activity, Daiquiri made an announcement:

Before we go on to the next thing I had planned, I wanted to share an old wives tale I've heard about. It is tradition that the phrases an expectant mom utters as she opens her shower gifts are ACTUALLY the words she uttered when her baby was conceived.

"Oh no, I'm in TROUBLE!" I thought as my mind began to count back all of the times I had used words like "cute" "soft" and "tiny"

Then she handed me the list and made me READ IT OUT LOUD in front of my GRANDMA, MY MOM, AND SOME OF THE LADIES FROM THE BIBLE STUDY I LEAD ON MONDAY MORNINGS!!!!!!

Old wives tale my foot! She just made it up! : )

I was beat red, but it was FUNNY. I haven't laughed like that in sooooo long. It was great medicine.

So if you promise you won't be offended, (I'm innocent, remember?) the video of me reading my list is posted below. I hope you can make out what I'm saying through all of my tears and laughter.

(P.S. I didn't want you to see how round and tubby I've gotten, so if you'd kindly imagine me looking like my sidebar picture instead, I'd be grateful) : )


video

Thank you everyone who was there Saturday for your love. I left the shower with a full heart.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Parenting


Today's topic for STLS is:

How have your Christian beliefs affected your parenting?

Great question, Daiquiri! I'm so thankful I don't have to figure this parenting thing out without real help. I pray all the time for help, wisdom, and discernment about how to be the mom God wants me to be. He knows Karissa, Amy, Benjamin, and our future adopted son better than I can ever know them. He knows what they need from me. So I ask Him for help constantly, and I beg Him to cover where I fail.

When we were writing all of the essays for our adoption home study, we were asked this question:

What are your hopes for your children (such as spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual)?

When I saw today's STLS topic, it reminded me of how I responded to this question on our home study. Here's what I wrote:

It is our prayer that our children will be healthy spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. We hope that they will have fond memories of childhood, knowing that they were loved and cherished.

Every person is born with God-given gifts and purpose. We hope that our children will understand their purpose and develop their gifts and talents to fulfill that purpose. It will be exciting to watch where their interests take them. We hope that they will have healthy relationships. We also pray that they will be people of character, with integrity, and a confidence that comes from a Biblical self-concept.

Intellectually, we hope that they achieve their potential. We also hope to instill in them spiritual virtues including compassion and generosity and a strong work ethic. God has shared these precious gifts with us for a short time, and then we hope to launch them into the world as productive and secure adults who make a positive impact on the world.

Most importantly, we hope that they will grow up to make the personal decision to know Christ as their savior.

As far as spiritual and character development, I've already shared with you my prayer list. But these are the other ways my beliefs have affected my parenting:

- I don't see my kids as "mine" but gifts on loan.
- I want them to choose Jesus for themselves, not because it is our family thing.
- I want to teach that Truth is not relative to what they want it to be. I want them to have a world view that is built on Truth, not what is politically correct or "feels" right.
- I want them to have joyful lives where they achieve their potential.
- I want them to be healthy in every sense of the word, and I know that spiritual health has to come first.
- I want them to have successful and healthy relationships.
- I want them to be aware of God and how we can see Him all around us and in our lives if we just look and listen.
- I want them to know and love the Bible, God's love letter to them
- I want them to know they are loved and significant and have a unique purpose in this life that only they can fulfill.
- I want them to have an eternal perspective and hope.
- I want them to know it is the greatest privilege of my life to be their Mommy.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

We Have a Date!!

My OB appointment went so well today. We did a non-stress test and Monster Truck (I'm having a hard time switching to Benjamin now) passed with flying colors. They were a little worried at first because he was so sleepy, but after the nurse put a buzzer on my belly, he woke up and showed off. : )

Guess what?!!! We have an official induction date. It is so bizarre to know this far in advance his birthday, but we are on the books for Thursday, August 14th! When I think of the journey we've been on- all the loss, the roller coaster adoption process, and then this miracle pregnancy- we now know the date we will finally hold our little boy. I'm overwhelmed with joy. I feel like I'm flying around on Cloud Nine today.

Plus, I just have to share with you how charming my King Charming really is. He gave me the gift of a house cleaner for two hours today. I'm heading out the door to have fun with my girlfriend and get to come home to a clean house. Then tomorrow he's taking my car to be cleaned inside and out. I am so spoiled and so grateful. I feel like this nesting thing has become a family affair as we've watched the time ticking closer and closer to THE DAY. : )

I'll have to change my little widget on the sidebar so the countdown days are more accurate.

Thank you for sharing in our joy!

Love,

Monday, July 21, 2008

Trying To Keep Up With Life

I'm sorry I haven't been updating my blog much lately. It has been such a busy week! All of a sudden, I hit that part of pregnancy where I can't sleep, and I'm moving through my days in slow motion trying to keep up with everything going on.

I have about three weeks and three days before we plan to induce labor. (Around August 15th). The reason we know when I will be induced is because we need to control the timing of my delivery. Every night I give myself a Lovenox shot which is a blood thinner. I need to discontinue those shots 24 hours in advance of labor, and then check into the hospital so they can monitor how the baby is doing without the Lovenox.

Three more weeks feels like forever, but then I look at my to-do list, and it suddenly doesn't seem like that long at all. : )

I can't believe we are so close! Thank you for your prayers and awesome support! I have a doctor visit on Thursday so I'll update you on how Monster Truck is doing.

By the way- did you miss this story about my Little Brother? There is a special announcement at the end.

I'll try to be a more faithful blogger. (writer and reader)

Love,

Friday, July 18, 2008

I've Been Disconnected....But I'm Back : )

Our modem of five years died a few days ago. It was sad. We had a funeral. : )

I've been disconnected for awhile, but thanks to our good friend and neighbor, Joe, we are now back up and running. Thanks Joe!

It was hard not being able to check my blog for comments or post anything new. I envisioned all of my bloggy friends giving up on me and never coming back. : )

But I must say, being without the Internet has been a good thing for us. We've been having a great time as a family, actually playing outside! Moving, activity. More than my fingers got exercise today. Hmmm....maybe there is a lesson to be learned here for us. Maybe such easy access to the Internet all the time is holding us back from interacting and being active.

Something to consider....as long as I still get to blog.... : )

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What a Good Sport!

My fifteen-year-old cousin, Krista, is such a good sport! When we were on vacation, my princesses turned cowgirls needed a horse and Krista was elected.

What do you think of her bridle and reins? : )

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Including Benedict and JJ

A few weeks ago, I posted the prayer list I've been using to pray for my kids. Every day I use the list to pray for their spiritual growth and Biblical character development. I've enjoyed including our boys in those prayers, Benjamin, who will be born next month, as well as Whombie, our unknown son in Africa that we hope to adopt within the next year. But recently I've felt God asking me to also pray for Benedict and JJ as if they were my own children. (Shiloh if you are reading this, it was your comment about your prayers for little Flora that God used to inspire me to do this)

For those unaware of our adoption history, Benedict and JJ are the boys we tried to adopt from Liberia. Both of those cases fell through, and I've often wondered why God allowed us to believe they would be joining our family. I don't know all of the reasons, but I do believe that one of those reasons was to introduce me to them so I could faithfully pray for them throughout their lives.

It is exciting to be praying over these now two and three year old little boys half way across the world that I will never meet in this lifetime. I won't know the outcome of the prayers I've invested in them, but I like to imagine seeing them in Heaven someday and hearing how God moved in their lives and blessed them. They'll never know that they have a spiritual mama in America praying over them, and I'll never know what happens in their lives. It's fun to be the anonymous praying person that they won't even know about. I like to imagine the men they will become and how God will use them in Liberia and how He will develop their unique talents and gifts.

In the Bible Study that I lead on Monday mornings, we've been talking about prayer a lot lately and how you can participate in people's ministries and positively impact their lives just by praying for them. Prayer is an amazing thing, isn't it?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Too Many



Wow! I knew the number, but it was just a number before I found this video at Beyond Decalf.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Making It Up to Ben

As I was writing the Little Brother Chronicles, I know it appeared I was picking on Ben. : )

(In case you missed it, the Saga of the Moon Boot was the overwhelming favorite.)

After sharing all of those embarrassing moments with you all, I promised I would make it up to him. I promised I had a purpose for it all. : )

So in this last installment of the Little Brother Chronicles, I hope it will be abundantly clear how much I love you, Ben, and how proud I am to be your big sister. : )

There are more funny stories to tell, like the time my mom got a phone call from the local grocery store:

"Sally, this is Carol down at Evans Foods. I was just wondering if you were aware that Ben was down here trying to buy a can of spinach?"

(Mom thought he was playing at his friend, Adam's, house so this was news to her)

"Well, he doesn't have any money on him, but we can credit it to you if you really need the spinach." (Aren't small towns great?)

We later learned he needed spinach to be strong "like Popeye" so going to the grocery store to get it made sense to him. : )


Then there is the disaster he made of my Barbie's wedding! For months I planned Barbie's wedding, saving my allowance to buy the wedding dress and the furniture I needed to set the scene. All I asked Ben to do was walk Ken down the aisle and hold him up during the ceremony. Easy right? But no, Ben made peeing noises and made sure Ken urinated on all of the guests as he walked up the aisle! The ceremony was all down hill after that entrance!


Or, I could tell of the one and only time he tried to beat me up after watching Disney's Last Electric Knight.

But instead of more silly stories, I want to focus on the man he has become.

As we were growing up, Ben was my best buddy. We actually liked each other and had so much fun together. We moved a lot during some critical stages of growing up, and we leaned on each other throughout those times of adjustment.

Having different talents and interests, I'm thankful we were supportive of each other instead of competitive. I loved watching him excel at sports. I never missed a game! When he was pitching, I thought I'd have a heart attack from the stress of it all, but he was really good and it was fun to cheer him on. He was a football star, too. I can still see the game he had five different opponents hanging on him, trying to pull him down, but he wouldn't give up and drug all five in to the end zone with him for a touchdown.

When I was a Senior and Ben was a Freshmen, we were in high school together. Whenever I stopped by my locker, I had to keep an eye out for Ben because he liked to sneak up on me and carry me down the hallway like a sack of potatoes. He was still my younger brother, but he had ceased to be my "little" brother. : )

I'll never forget the day in high school when we sat in a Dairy Queen booth drinking milkshakes and asking each other how we got so lucky to have such a great family life. We've always known we were blessed.

Today, my little brother is a husband, a father, and a successful computer programmer. He married a great girl who became a great mother and wife. I'm just so proud of him and so in love with his kids and his wife, Angie.

He loves Jesus and is raising his kids to love Him, too. He is a man of God. The same kind of man I want my son to be someday.

When I think about a little brother, there is one image that comes to my mind.

I'm such a sentimental sap, I have tears running down my face as I type the end of this post.

I wanted you all to "know" my brother Ben so you would understand when I make this next announcement.

So now the moment you've all been waiting for....(At least Mia has been waiting) : )

Our little Monster Truck has a real name.

From now on, he is Benjamin, in honor of the best brother in the whole universe!

I love you, Ben!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Organizing Earrings


Recently, my daughters had their ears pierced. We decided it was time to try taking out the original studs and putting in a new pair, but before we did, I knew we needed a system for organizing their new earrings.

I remembered this system my mom and I used when I was a teenager.



I think my mom is still using hers, but somehow over the years mine got lost. I have been meaning to make a new one, so yesterday the girls and I stopped by the craft store and picked up the supplies to make one for each of us.

Here's how to make your own:

Supplies:

I'm sorry I don't know the official name for these. I guess I'll refer to it as the plastic thingy. : ) They are used for latch hook rugs and remind me of a plastic version of cross stich fabric. We found it in the yarn section of the Michael's Craft store near the cross stich materials.




A child size pants/skirt hanger:


That's all you need! : )

I let the girls pick out their own colors (purple and pink of course) and we already had the hangers at home.

Total cost of project: .39 cents each

Steps:

1. Attach the hanger to the top of your plastic thingy. : )
2. Hang earrings through front and attach earring backs on the back side of plastic thingy. Some earrings are all one piece and can be attached to the side.
3. Hang in your closet.
4. Voila! Organized. : )



Works for me....


You can read my past WFMW posts here.

You can find all of the other WFMW tips at Rock's In My Dryer. Enjoy!


King Charming is a Bad Influence : )

Last night at dinner, the girls started playing, "Ha, Ha! Made you look!" with each other. Remember that old game?

The girls aren't very good at it yet, but I said, "That's not very nice. Where did you learn that from?"

King Charming gave me a sheepish look across the dinner table as both girls said in unison, "Daddy!"

It reminded me of a few weeks ago when we were all in the car driving around town. Being the ever patient people we are, the girls have started asking the red lights to turn green so we don't have to sit long.

Sometimes it is sweet with flattery like, "Would you please turn green for us, pretty please? You are such a handsome light and we really would like to keep going."

Sometimes it is demanding with threats, "If you don't turn green I'm going to smash you with a hammer!"
Except Amy says "hammuh" : )

(Guess who they learned this one from! King Charming!)

During this particular family outing, my innocent little Amy looks up at the light and says, "Please turn green. I think you're HOT!"

I couldn't believe my sweet little girl just used the expression HOT! I spent the next few minutes explaining how "hot" is not a very ladylike thing to call someone, and I'd rather they said pretty or handsome. Then I looked at King Charming and said, "Look what they learn from you!"

"They didn't learn that from me!" He insisted, "You"ll have to blame TV for that one!"

Always the one to come to Mommy's rescue, Amy's little voice piped up from the backseat. "Nuh uh Daddy. I learned it from you. I was sitting on your lap looking at my stickers and you said Minnie Mouse was HOT! You said that means pretty!"

HA! I knew they learned it from him!

I love it when I'm right! : )

Monday, July 7, 2008

I'm Home! : )

I'm sorry my blog has been the same since Tuesday of last week. I was playing too much to find blogging time. We had a great vacation!

After the week of visiting my mom and dad, we drove to my cousin's house for a 4th of July party. We had so much fun with family (and her backyard swimming pool) : ) I thought I was getting great pictures of our celebration, but they didn't turn out. My cousin did a blog post of the day on her blog if you'd like to see where we were.

It really was a blessed trip. I enjoyed it so much, even the car ride. I loved the quality time with my husband and my girls.

Now the hard part.....adjusting back to real life.

I need another week!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Vacation Continues.....





My Mom : )

True Fishermen:
Our men know the secret to catching fish-

Barbie and Disney Princess Poles! : )



I'm glad they are so secure in their manhood. : )

We spent the day yesterday fishing and swimming. The princesses were ready to catch fish with their new fishing poles and matching life vests.

Princess Amy catches her first fish:


video


Amy got the prize for the first fish and Karissa got the prize for the biggest fish. They had so much fun!

Whenever we got too hot, we jumped in! My dad rolled his eyes and said, "True fishermen would never jump in to a hot fishing spot and scare all the fish away!" But we were persuasive and eventually got him to jump in with us.
It felt so good to float in the water. I haven't been able to lay on my back in a long time. My belly makes a great flotation device. : )

RockWall Cellars All To Ourselves

After our day at the lake, we were treated to an amazing dinner! My sister-in-law's family own a beautiful winery. Doug and Sandy, Angie's mom and dad, invited us over last night to enjoy it. We had dinner in the reception area. Everyone (excluding me and the girls) sampled their wines and we all enjoyed Sandy's master cooking.

King Charming kept the jukebox running and taught the girls how to two-step. I wish I had brought my camera, but you can visit their website here to see where we were at. It was such a fun evening. Thank you Doug and Sandy!

For a last minute decision vacation, we sure are having a magical week!