Things I never thought I'd say: "Don't lick the cat!" (said to a child who shall remain nameless)

Things I never wanted to hear: "Mommy, your hair looks like a lion's mane!" (said to me by Joy after I had dried but not yet flat ironed my hair)

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A Matter of Perspective

Yesterday the mailman delivered my new rain boots. Today God delivered some rain. And my feet were warm and dry! Sometimes it's the small things that make me happy.

It's amazing how new rain boots transformed a gray, dreary day that could have been depressing into a day that was kind of fun! So much of life really is my attitude. And far too ofen I allow myself to just see the bad or the hard or the inconvenient rather than seeing those things as an opportunity God is using to develop something new in me.

Consider it pure joy, by brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~James 1:2-4

I Think I Need Another Break!

Thanksgiving Break wasn’t much of a break in our house. We spent several days getting ready for and then performing in the Great Russian Nutcracker. And by we I mean Faith, Joy, and Grace. I just ferried them to the studio and the theater and made buns and bought tights and such. The girls all did such a great job! And afterward Faith and I went to the cast party at our dance instructor’s home. Joy and Grace went home with Hope, Daddy, and Nana. Because for them mingling with Russians doesn’t begin to compare with Nana time! Faith, however, appreciated the unique experience and was able to get many autographs.

I cooked a pretty good Thanksgiving dinner. But without turkey. We had ham and a rotisserie chicken along with homemade bread, cornbread dressing, and that sweet potato casserole with all the butter, pecans, and sugar. And pie, of course!

I was able to get some shopping done. Not the 4 am variety, but some realistic 8ish shopping. I really didn’t need much, but I was able to get my niece’s present and the little girls got some new jeans and leggings. Paul did get us a new TV! We now have a wonderful new flat screen!

We put up our tree on Thanksgiving day, much to the delight of the girls. They put on all of the ornaments themselves, and I must say they did a fine job! I love our tree. It won’t make Southern Living, but each ornament has a history and means something.

We went to a nearby Christmas tree farm as well. We have an artificial tree, but we all enjoy looking at the beautiful “real” trees, eating the biscuits and sausage, and riding on the hay ride.

The girls really liked the Snowman Tree!

Joy and Grace watching some syrup making!

Walking through the trees.

I want to write more, but there’s a piece of chocolate chip pecan pie calling my name! And I don’t think I can ignore it any longer!


Some recent quotes:

"And God told Abraham, 'Y'all are going to have a baby.'" ~Grace, narrating the story of Abraham and Isaac. (I always knew God spoke Southern!)

"I'm going to open this card with joy!" ~ Joy, before opening a card from Nana

"Next, I think I want some church heels." ~ Grace, commenting on her desire for shoes with heels

You gotta love 7-year-olds!!

Things I Want to Remember about Camp

*The LONG charter bus ride. We rode all night, and I think everyone slept.
*A great group of middle school girls in my room.
*A beautiful condo to stay in.
*My own king-sized bed.
*Being thankful to be on the sixth floor so we could take the stairs when the elevators were slow.
*Climbing 13 flights of stairs while escorting a friend's daughter to her room.
*7000 worshippers!
*Worshipping next to my daughter! Amazing!
*The Atlantic Ocean. The ocean is both relaxing and exciting and always reminds me of the vastness of my God.
*Coldstone ice cream.
*Chris Tomlin signing our new Compassion Child packet.
*Paul and I getting to meet with Louie back stage.
*Missing my girls at home with my mom.
*Walking on the beach at midnight with my daughter and some other middle school girls.
*Adopting 2 new Compassion children.
*The sun rising over the ocean.
*David*Crowder in concert!

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It seems like our life is like an ocean: a series of never-ending waves. Just when I think things are manageable, a huge wave swells on the horizon and threatens to overwhelm me. And far too often I let it. Sometimes I feel like I can barely catch my breath! We've had a lot of waves this year, some thrilling and exhilarating, others just plain big.

*Dance recital
*Piano recital
*Visiting friends
*Tired children
*Student Life Camp!
*WinShape Camp
*Dance workshop
*Minor illnesses
*Dealing with challenging people in our lives
*Curriculum choices for the new school year
*Sick elderly parents

I don't always handle the waves well. I can identify with David in Psalm 124 when he writes in verses 4-5, "The flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away." But David didn't say the flood did engulf him or the torrent did sweep over him or the waters did sweep him away. He said they would have. Why didn't they? Because the LORD was on his side. And I know that God is on my side, too. Romans 8:31 says, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" Then Paul goes on to write in verse 37, "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him." ~Lamentations 3:22-24

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That Sabbath

On earth that Sabbath was filled with grief, confusion, and loss for Jesus' followers. Those who loved Jesus mourned His death. And mourned the timing. Because He died so late on Friday, they had to wait until the Sabbath was over to give Him a proper burial.

For others on earth that Sabbath was filled with fear. What if His disciples stole the body? After all Jesus did say He would rise from the dead on the third day. (Funny how the Pharisees remembered what the disciples did not!) WHAT IF HE REALLY WAS THE SON OF GOD?? Did they think the guard would keep Him in the tomb? Or would they kill Him again? It's ironic that those who objected to Jesus healing on the Sabbath plotted with Pilate on the Sabbath. Did they not consider posting that guard work? Or did their desire to remain in power supersede their legalistic rules?

In hell that Sabbath must have been filled with rejoicing (or whatever its evil counterpart is). Satan thought he had won. Jesus was dead.

In Heaven, that Sabbath must have been filled with anticipation. Sunday was coming! Jesus would rise! Satan would be defeated! Death would die! Hope would shine forth! Yes, Sunday was coming!

Birth of a Hobby (Part 1)

I got my first camera the Christmas of my 5th grade year. It was a 110 camera, and I mainly used it to take pictures of my family and my pets and other people's pets. I knew nothing about photgraphy. I just wanted to capture moments I wanted to remember. After looking through my old photo album I realize that the main thing I wanted to remember must have been my cats napping!

In Junior High I moved up to taking pictures of my friends and youth group activities. And in high school I got a 35 mm point and shoot camera. I had that camera for several years, and eventually I moved up to an even better 35 mm point and shoot. By this time I think I was either engaged or married. My pictures now were of my husband and our dog.

When Faith came along, of course, our primary subject was our new baby. The camera we had was WAY off center, and finally we got a better one (still a film 35 mm point and shoot). This one still works, and Hope is now using it. That camera captured lots of baby pictures, birthdays, and Christmases.

A few years ago we moved up to a digital point and shoot. It was great We were able to see immediately which pictures were good and which ones we should retake. And no more film to develop or overwhelming numbers of prints to store! Now the pictures just languished in our computer! (But at least they weren't taking up space!)

The only problem with our camera was that by the time the camera was actually ready to take the picture, the moment I wanted to capture was over, never to return again. So I set out to find a faster point and shoot camera. And discovered that it didn't exist. To get a fast camera we would have to get a digital SLR. We made that our Christmas present that year. We even got some books to explain how to use all the complicated functions. I read them, didn't really get them, and used my camera as a very fast point and shoot that took really good pictures!

At the end of last year I did some work for our business in exchange for a zoom lens. My photographer friend suggested getting the 2.8 aperture (which was more expensive). And while I didn't know what aperture was, I trusted her and got the better lens. Which I still used in the automatic setting.

And I discovered Pioneer Woman's photography explanations. I discovered what aperture is! And I learned how to use some of the intermediate settings on my camera. (I also discovered an amazing onion ring recipe) My pictures have already improved! I plan on going back through the camera books I have and hopefully learning about the important but as of yet mysterious white balance. Who knows, shooting in full manual setting may be just around the corner!

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The Letter of the Law Is...H

I learned recently what the letter of the law actually is. According to one sweet daughter, it's H. Of course, she didn't say it in so many words, but I got the message anyway.

She and her sister were having a fight disagreement when I heard her yell say loudly, "I h-word you!" Our girls all know they aren't allowed to say hate. (Except for hating the devil. One takes great delight in hating the devil.) But she wanted to express the sentiment. So she was in perfect obedience of the letter of the law, but missed the spirit of the law. Legalism starts early!

We discussed that she actually loves her sister, and that anger doesn't give us the right to be unkind. And the two involved in this episode are best friends once again.

And I realize that as a mom, my girls are ready for me to begin going beyond the what of the law to the why of the law: that we want to reflect Jesus in everything. And He only hates sin - and the devil!

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Of Calendars, Clocks, and Choices

I like the Jewish calendar. I like that their New Year begins in the spring. I think it would be easier to reflect on the past, to consider the future, and to make changes in the midst of the newness of spring. The middle of winter is just not a real motivating time for me, no matter what the calendar says! Too cold, not enough daylight, too many cloudy days!

I also think a new day should begin at sunset (like the Israelite calendar) or at sunrise. Why a new day begins in the middle of the night when only those of us who are night owls are awake to see it baffles me. And even though I have seen the beginnings of more new days than I really needed to, they still seem like part of the old day I'm about to finish.

But since I don't think we're going to change our calendar or our clock after so many years, I guess I'll just have to deal with it. The great thing is that every day is new with God. His mercies really are new every morning! And every evening! And even at midnight when I'm supposed to be asleep but am not! So even though I've messed up some of the goals (I don't do resolutions.) I've chosen for the year, I can start over today. Maybe I'll start with going to bed before midnight!

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Who am I?

I a Jesus follower who is trying to teach my four girls at home and be a wife to my minister husband. I prefer reading to cleaning and have a crazy Border Collie and the world's best cat!


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