Monday, June 29, 2009

Have You Said, "I Do" ?

Key Verse:

Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. Romans 19:7 NKJV



Recently, I attended the wedding of Scout the Dog and Jessica Bear.




Boy the Bear officiated the ceremony.



Guests like Sarah the Doll enjoyed dancing, cake, and watching the happy couple open their gifts.



My daughters planned this event in their bedroom and pulled off a pretty decent wedding. They even remembered the most important detail: Scout and Jessie each said, "I Do."

Watching my girls set up the wedding for their stuffed animals and seeing their imagination hard at work, I was struck by the fact that they instinctively knew that Scout and Jessie were not actually married until those words were uttered.

It reminded me of an analogy I read in a book called The Search For Significance by Robert S. McGee.

An engaged couple may intellectually know they want to marry each other, and they probably feel very close to one another but until they willfully say, "I do" to each other, they're not married. Many people are at this point in their relationship with Christ. They need to say "I do" to Him.

As I planned this week's devotion, I felt there would be someone reading this who would be able to relate. You've shown up, you're wearing the pretty dress, you've gone through the motions of the ceremony, but when it comes to saying the vows, when it comes to letting go of control of your own life, you've never said "I do" to Jesus.

You aren't alone. It is comfortable to stay back at a safe distance, liking the idea of religion, but feeling unsure about the accountability that would come with giving all to Him.

But ALL of you is what He wants, what He requires. How many grooms would be satisfied marrying a woman who said, “I’ll give you some of me, some of my heart, but not all of it.” Jesus, your Bridegroom, wants all of you. All of your heart.

Personal Application:

When it comes to your relationship with Jesus, are you play acting at the wedding but never getting to the marriage? Don't be distracted by the ceremony, the other guests, the pageantry or the tradition. Focus on the groom. Are you married to Him yet?

So how do you get ready for this wedding? Some think they are supposed to get all cleaned up before they come to Jesus. You'll never be able to do it. The Bible says our righteousness is as filthy rags compared to His righteousness. Instead, when you admit your need for Him, when you make Him Lord of your life, He puts His salvation on you like a beautiful wedding gown.

Read Isaiah 61:10:

I delight greatly in the LORD;

my soul rejoices in my God.

For he has clothed me with garments of salvation

and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,

as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,

and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Jon Courson says it this way, "Good news! The validation of our relationship with our Bridegroom doesn't depend on our sinlessness, but on his."

I want to encourage you today, take the leap! Make the commitment. Give Him ALL of you! There is no one you can trust more. Let Him be Lord. Give up the control. Accept His free gift of salvation. Don't wait until it is too late. Know with confidence that you will be at the wedding feast when He comes back for His bride.

Jesus, I admit my need for You. I accept the gift of salvation You freely offer. Thank You for paying for my sins on the cross. I give You all of me, not holding back a single part. I am saying "I do" to you today, my Beloved Bridegroom. Amen

More of God's Word:

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
-Revelation 22:17

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Feed the Forgotten Yard Sale





We had our yard sale for Feed the Forgotten today.





It was really fun and great to see the kids selling their toys and homemade cookies. It was a long day and I'm worn out, but so happy to report that our kids raised over $80 for other kids in Uganda. That's enough to feed 4 families for 20 days or one family for 80 days or one person 571 meals. (If I'm doing my math correctly, which doesn't happen very often)





That gives me goosebumps!

Way to go kids! (and Moms!)

Even the babies helped out.


It was cool and breezy this morning and then warmed up as the day went by.

My little animal lover was able to find a good home for all of her stuffed pets:





A little frog decided he wanted to hop on up and check out what we were selling:







Testing out the merchandise before they sold it.



What a great day. Thank you, Angela, for letting us set up in front of your house.

I just love Kids Lake and the heart behind it. It is so great for me to have a resource for teaching my kids about giving and loving Jesus by loving other people. Thank you Brandi for the work you put into Kids Lake. We really appreciate it and you.

Friday, June 26, 2009

And the Winner is...

Within One Week Challenge...

Four ladies did some awesome things this week.

One gets Starbucks on me.

Since I don't want to show favortism...you ALL did great!...I rely on the help of Random.org to tell me the winner.

Here's what the little generator decided:

True Random Number Generator Min: 1 Max: 4 Result: 1

So CONGRATULATIONS KATY, you were #1 on the list of the finishers!

Now you have a clean, sparkly refrigerator and a Starbucks card coming in the mail.


Stop by and congratulate Katy for me. She is a hard working mom of four kids. She deserves a coffee break, don't you think?

Good job everyone! We'll do another one of these challenges in the early Fall to get ready for the school year.

Plus, I have some great giveaways coming from Zonderkidz so stay tuned!

Happy Weekend!

Love,

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

W.O.W. Results

How did you all do? One of my favorite parts of these Within One Week challenges is visiting your blogs later and reading about your success. You always inspire me!

How did I do, you ask? Ummmm.....

Ummmm......

(Blush) Well, I didn't exactly finish.

You know how I'm always preaching to you about celebrating what you were able to get done in the week instead of focusing on what you weren't able to do? Well, it is time to listen to my own sermons.

I picked a really tough week to host this W.O.W. challenge. It never dawned on me that I was scheduling it over Father's Day weekend. (Sorry about that!)

Usually, I'm careful to pick a week that is wide open and easy for me to accomplish my goals. (cheating, I know). I don't know what I was thinking this time around.

We were gone all weekend, and I've been busy, busy, busy. I feel like I've been living in my car shuttling my girls to all of their activities, and well...I didn't even touch the sewing project.

Last night, I was determined to stay awake until it was done so I wouldn't have to admit defeat on this blog. But then it occurred to me that I am the one who has been writing so much about letting go of perfectionism. This was another opportunity to apply my new philosophy of life.

THEREFORE~

Yippee! I got my laundry room pile taken care of!

Remember the before picture:




Here's what it looks like now:





(Don't ask how the rest of my house looks. This just might be the only clean spot in the entire house. Hee Hee)




(Do you see my birds? My Nana gave me this, and I can't wait to paint my laundry room soon, so I can hang this on the wall to hold our keys. I'm thinking maybe an antique blue color. Any paint color suggestions out there?)



I'm so excited about the yard sale we have planned for Feed the Forgotten and Kids Lake. I think we are as ready as we can be until we do the last minute things on Friday. I'll take lots of pictures and tell you how the kids do after we are done on Saturday.

Several families have joined in, and we've added a Kool Aid stand, a bake sale, and of course Oldest Princess will have an "Animal Adoption Center" for the stuffed animals she's been "fostering" and is now trying to find good homes for. Sounds like her, huh? Ha Ha.

It makes me smile to see all of these kids and families so excited about this project. When one meal only costs $0.14, it will be awesome to do the math for the kids after this sale is finished, so they can see the difference they've made. I'm praying they have a lot of success.

Your Turn!

Let me know how you did! Mr. Linky isn't working for me still, so leave me a comment letting me know you have a blog post up about your results. I'll add a link to the bottom of this post. Everyone else, please visit these ladies and congratulate them on their efforts! : )

I will use Random.org to choose a number from this list of links and announce the coffee winner on Friday. Good Luck!

Here Are Our Players and Their Results:

Katy
Bethany
Heidi
Andi



Way to Go!

(Even if you didn't get it ALL done like me. We have more done then we did last week!)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Life Lesson

So, I'm sooooo tired, I'm going to go crash into bed instead of blogging tonight. But my dad sent me an email with a little nugget of truth I wanted to share before I do:



Two of the greatest qualities in life are:

Patience and Wisdom.






Sleep tight!

Friday, June 19, 2009

I'm So Thankful "I Did"

Ten years ago today, I said, "I Do" to the man of my dreams.

A decade later, I am so grateful "I Did."

I remember being so nervous to walk down the aisle. But as I stepped up to the door and looked down to the front of the church, the only thing I saw was him. All fear and nerves left me instantly. I thought, "I can't wait to get down that aisle to him."

He is still the man of my dreams.

Thank you for continuing to sweep me off my feet, King Charming.

I love you more than you can know.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

W.O.W. Kick-Off!


Yippeee!!! It's time to W.O.W. again. Are you in? I HOPE SO!

This will probably be the last W.O.W. challenge of the summer because we have a lot going on in the next few months, so don't miss your opportunity to play along.

If you are new to W.O.W., it stands for Within One Week. You can scan old blog posts to get an idea of what it is all about here, but basically it is slaving away for the chance to win a Starbucks drink from me. Just kidding. : )

It is a chance to pick something that always gets put off, something that never seems to be as high a priority as all of the other projects you have to do, but is something you really want to see done. You set a goal for the week, write a blog post about it (if you have a blog), or leave me a comment about what you are doing here on mine if you don't have a blog. try to get as much done as you can in that week's time, and let us all cheer you on as you do it.

Then on Wednesday, June 24, I'll post how I did on my goal. You will all let me know how you did on yours, and one lucky player will win a $5 Starbuck card so you can put your feet up, sip your Frap, and celebrate all of your hard work. The rest of you will celebrate a great sense of accomplishment.

So, here's what I'm up to this week:

No painting this time. Boo Hoo. I would love to do a home decorating project again, but I have to be good this time and choose a "I'm not going to spend money this time" project.

But! I am thrilled about what I will be working on because each are for great causes and make my heart happy.

I have two goals to get done this week:

1. I'm getting ready for a VERY SPECIAL yard sale. Actually, my kids are doing it, I'm just helping. You may have read about this on other blogs:




"Feed the Forgotten" is an opportunity to feed starving children in Uganda. For just .14, one person can be fed for an entire day.

Remember when my girls did their "Playdate with a Purpose" for Kids Lake and raised money for bowls and spoons for Haitian orphans? Well, this month Kids Lake is asking kids to join in with Feed the Forgotten. My girls decided to take part in our neighborhood's community yard sale on Saturday, June 27, and donate all they earn to "Feed the Forgotten."

They asked friends to join in, so now three or four families are helping out and we plan to sell baked goods and Kool Aid at the yard sale. So that means, Mom better go through all of this:

I keep walking through our laundry room thinking, "Man I need to do something about that pile" but other things seem to take priority. So within one week I will:

- decide what in the pile should be returned to its rightful owner and what can be sold at the yard sale

- Help the girls bake cookies and make signs for our yard sale

And then there is Goal #2 (I guess I'm ambitious)

Our church does some awesome things in India. On July 1st they are having a "Friends of India" dinner and auction. I promised one of my nursing covers for the auction, but the problem is the nursing cover is still just fabric I washed, dried, and never touched. : )


So within one week, one of those two fabrics will be a nursing cover for the auction. Which one is your favorite?

Your Turn:
Here's the official rules:
1. Don't be too ambitious. Choose something you know you can do in one week without stress.

2. DON'T WORRY ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT IT IS BORING! Being all exciting is not the objective. Getting something you want done, done is the objective. : )

3. Anyone can help that you want to. Go ahead and put Danny to work restaining the playset, Heidi. Just kidding, Danny. Ha Ha.

4. Have fun.

5. Visit the other players and cheer them on.

6. Don't be shy. This is for ANYONE who wants to join in. THAT means you, you silent blog stalker.

Man, I'm being ornery today, aren't I? Hee Hee.

That's it.

Mr. Linky isn't working for me right now, so if you'll just leave me a comment, I'll add your name and a link to your blog. Thanks!

Here's Who is Playing So Far:

Jessica
Mia
Bethany
Andi
Heidi
Katy


Have fun!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Here Comes Another W.O.W. Challenge and a Recipe to Make While You are Busy

Are you ready for another within one week (W.O.W.) challenge? I hope so! I will have the kick-off post up tomorrow and the week will run from June 17 - June 24.

The W.O.W. challenges are always so much fun. I look forward to seeing who is going to play along and what kind of projects we are all working on. I'll let you know about mine tomorrow. No paint this time unfortunately. I have to do a "doesn't cost us anything" project this time. : )

My friend, Jessica, asked her blog readers to post a favorite recipe, so I thought I'd share one that you could make during your W.O.W. week when you are too busy to bother with a complicated dinner. This one is super easy and seems to be a crowd pleaser.

It was given to me by Faith, a friend I made on our adoption yahoo group. Faith was kind enough to send out a whole database of recipes to other moms, and this one became one of our favorite dinners. Thanks, Faith!



Faith's Cranberry Chicken



Ingredients:





1 can of Whole Berry Cranberries
1 Packet of Onion Soup Mix
1 Bottle of French Dressing
Frozen Chicken breasts or tenders. Ummmm....I don't know how many pounds: Just fill up a 13x9 pan. : ) (More NonPerfectionism Shining Through!!!)

***Yes- I DID SAY FROZEN CHICKEN!!!

That's part of why I LOVE this recipe. You don't have to thaw the chicken first. As long as you keep chicken in the freezer and the other three ingredients in the pantry, you've got an easy dinner when you need it.


Directions:

1. Mix cranberries, soup mix, and dressing together in a mixing bowl.

2. Pour over your chicken like this:



(It doesn't look that appetizing at this point. Too bad I forgot to take a picture of it all finished. We were too busy eating it, I guess.)



3. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour and 15 minutes. Cut chicken pieces into bite size pieces if you didn't use tenders. I just take two knives and randomly cut it up right in the pan.


I highly recommend serving it with couscous and steamed broccoli as sides.


Near East Parmesan Couscous is the best and only takes 5 minutes to cook
(The sauce mixes together with the couscous and it is yummy)



Don't overcook the broccoli...should be bright green and slightly "al dente"
Dark, mushy broccoli is NOT yummy

Hope your family likes it, too!

Make sure you spread the word about W.O.W. The more people who play along the more fun we have.

See you tomorrow!

Love,

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Looking at the Wrong Person

It is an ABSOLUTE MIRACLE but I do believe that David the Fish is going to pull through. Hallelujah!!!

I'll keep you updated! Thanks for the encouragement and prayers! Ha ha. : ) My cousin, Danny, said I need to go get a Goliath fish to keep David in line.

Sorry, Danny, one fish is more than I can handle at the moment. : )

On to more serious things, this is the devotion I wrote this week for Women's Ministry at church and wanted to share:

From God's Word:

Click and Read Matthew 14:22-33


Key Verse:
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" - Matthew 14:30 (NIV)


I made a startling discovery this week.

There are some awesome people out there doing some amazing things for the Lord, and I DON'T MEASURE UP!

When the kids are tucked in for the night, I love to put my feet up, grab my laptop, and surf my favorite blogs. There are some that I follow on a regular basis and look forward to seeing what has been going on in the lives of my blogging buddies. This week, it became clear to me that my blogging buddies are stellar people. I came across stories of people feeding the hungry, traveling to Africa to serve orphans and other ministries, families adopting here and abroad, people reaching out and ministering to hurting people. Others who are missionaries far from home.

A great wave of discouragement rolled over me. Inventory of my life showed much lacking: Inconsistent prayer life, no time in the Word, nothing done to meet the spiritual or physical needs of hurting people. In my own estimation, I've been boring, blah, and of little value to the Kingdom of God.

As I pushed my stroller along the greenbelt on Thursday afternoon, I prayed about the situation. And I got a strange answer.

The Holy Spirit said to my heart, "Turn your eyes off of yourself and on to the glory of Jesus."

I remembered Peter walking on the water to meet Jesus. As long as his eyes were locked on the Lord, he was doing the miraculous, but as soon as he took his eyes off the Lord, looked at the waves and thought about his own inability to do what he was doing, he sank.

When my eyes and focus are locked on Jesus, I will reflect His glory to this hurting world. When I'm stuck focusing on myself and my sin and failures, I get nowhere other than discouraged. My eyes this week have been on the wrong person.

Awhile ago, I read about a mom who was seriously struggling to love her adopted teenage daughter. She confided in a missionary friend how difficult this girl was to love. The missionary told her, "Quit working so hard to love her. Instead focus on loving God. That is where you will find the ability to love her."

God's purpose in my life is to make me more and more like Jesus. Focusing on my sin and failures won't make me more like Jesus. Focusing on Jesus will make me more like Jesus.

Personal Application:

Read this excerpt from Andrew Murray's book Humility:

Being occupied with self, even having the deepest self-abhorrence can never free us from self. Not to be fully occupied with your sin but to be fully occupied with God brings deliverance from self. This gives us the answer to the question so often asked and seldom clearly understood: How can I die to self? Death to self is not your work: it is God's work.

Commit today to turn your eyes off of yourself and on to the Lord Jesus, desiring to know Him more, so you can reflect Him more. That is when you will make a significant impact on this hurting world.

Father,

Forgive me for my self-focus. Turn my eyes off of me and my failures and on to Jesus and His glory. Make me more like Him. Help me to know Him more and more daily, so I can be transformed into His likeness. Be glorified through me.

In Jesus' Name I pray,
Amen

More of God's Word:

1. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)

2. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
- 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 (NIV)







Turning my eyes to Jesus,

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fish-i-cide

There is something

so OFFENSIVE,
so HORRIFIC,
so DESPAIRING about our home,
that fish would rather OFF THEMSELVES than be a part of our family.

Or so it would appear...

Two years ago, we attempted a tropical fish aquarium. It was a beautiful tank, and we filled it with brightly colored fish. Each of us chose a fish to name. It was all great until Cleo turned into a bully and terrorized the other fish. She killed them one by one until only Lola the Shark remained.

Poor Lola! Cleo would chase her constantly, unmercifully, nipping at her, and taking chunks out of her body. Soon, it was too much for Lola to endure, so she JUMPED OUT OF THE TANK!

I'm serious. We found her flopping around on the ground. She found a small opening at the top of the aquarium and decided anything was better than living with Cleo.

I quickly threw her back in the tank, and she survived. Two days later, we were recalling the tale to friends, and we all looked in the tank. Where was Lola? We searched and searched until we concluded she was not in there! Finally, I pulled out the cabinet the aquarium was sitting on, and there was dried up, shriveled up, Lola. Once again, she'd managed to attempt FISH-I-CIDE. This time she was successful!

We gave up. Put Cleo and the tank on Craigslist and vowed to never own fish again.

Then yesterday, my girls said, "Guess what, Mommy? Our neighbors are going on a month and a half long vacation, and they chose US to fishsit David for them!!! Isn't that wonderful?"

No! That is not wonderful. Fish are not safe in this house!!!! Surely, our neighbors would ask me first. Right? They wouldn't expect us to take care of their fish without talking to the parents first. Right? Wrong!

Yesterday afternoon, I pulled my minivan into the garage, and there standing on our front walk was the dad, his two girls, and the fishbowl with David in it.

"You don't mind fishsitting do you?" He sheepishly asked. "We're leaving today."

I stumbled around, told him we had vacation plans of our own, but he assured me the girls would be gone for the month and a half, but he'd be back by Thursday.

I agreed, thinking, "How much could go wrong with one hearty little Beta fish in one week?" They skipped off, and I juggled baby, fishbowl, calendar, and fish food into the house, sure I was going to drop David before he even made it into the house.

When my girls got home, they were THRILLED to say the very least. A pet all their own! In their very own bedroom! To love for one whole week!

David spent the night here last night, and then this morning, Oldest Princess came down the stairs very worried. "Mama, I can't see David in his fishbowl anywhere."

I brushed her off, but she was insistent, so I went upstairs to investigate. Sure enough, I could not see that fish ANYWHERE in that bowl.

"Um, maybe he is sleeping inside of that shell or something," I said, unconvincingly. Where the heck could he have gone???

Fifteen minutes later, Oldest Princess went upstairs, grabbed a shirt off her floor to put on, and then started screaming bloody murder. "It's David!!! He's in my shirt!!!!"

The almost dead, quickly drying out, David JUMPED OUT OF THE FISH BOWL ONTO HER FLOOR AND GOT TANGLED UP IN HER T-SHIRT!!!!

What are the odds of two fish committing fish-i-cide in one home???

I plopped him back in his bowl and he started swimming. Please, Oh, please DO NOT DIE DAVID!!!"

I have no idea how we are going to keep David from jumping out again before this week is up. Please pray that David- and me- survive this week.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kindergarten Graduation- Keeping Grandma Happy

Grandma is getting a little impatient with me and is demanding MORE PICTURES and MORE VIDEO of her grandchildren.

Here you go, Grandma. loads of photos and videos. : )

My kindergartner, all dressed up and ready to graduate

I had leftover material when I finished sewing her sundress, so Sarah-doll got one, too:


This is my favorite of the sundresses I've made.

(Directions for making your own are here. If you sew one, you are OBLIGATED to email me a picture) : )

All ready to march.


Performing for the Parents:





"I want to be a gymnast when I grow up."



(In her picture, she is wearing the unitard we got her for her birthday and she is upside down on the balance beam. Can you see the spectators in the stands?)

Celebrating with some sugar:


Two Proud Graduates
All Ready for First Grade



Quit growing up so fast!!!!!!!!


And now to make Grandma even happier, here's video to finish off this monster long post.


video

video

"Hey! Where did my cap go?"
video


There you go, Mom. That better count for something! : )