Sunday, May 31, 2009

Observing My Senses

For Today, May 31, 2009...

I am seeing...bright sunshine, a bit overcast, and praying it stays this way. I'm on my way to our church's Summer Bash, the picnic to end all picnics :-) and the last thing we need is another thunderstorm.

I am even though it's really hot and humid out. It gets muggy during this time of the year.

I am tasting...nothing now since I already had breakfast. I WILL be tasting all-you-can-eat barbecue in a little while.

I am hearing...the news on TV (for the weather report) and the neighbor's pool.

I am smelling...the scent of barbecue in the air. South Florida is grill country. We love cooking outdoors.

It just takes a moment to stop and observe what's going on around you. Won't you join me?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Shopping this week

I spent over $86.00 at Winn-Dixie today. That's more than I normally spend, especially when I don't have a coupon (the store gives periodic coupons of $10 off a purchase over $50 which I take advantage of). Still, I got quite a bit of stuff for those $86.00:

1 bottle shampoo
1 bottle conditioner
2 boxes Stove Top Stuffing (at $.18 cheaper than Walmart!)
1 box onion soup mix
1 box beefy onion soup mix
2 bottles detergent
2 loaves pound cake
2 envelopes brown gravy mix
4 packages Lunchables (my son likes these, and next week is the last week of school)
4 bags salad greens
2 16oz. containers strawberries
3 peaches
2 packages ham steak
3 packages ground beef
2 packages pork chops
2 boneless chuck roasts
1 loaf Puertorican bread (I'm Puertorican, and I couldn't resist)

So much of this was BOGO (buy one get one free) that I was still able to save over $51.00. There is plenty of meat, enough for three weeks not including chicken which I buy at Costco. Thanks to reviewing the weekly circulars and checking prices, I've managed to stay under budget each month. This is one of the lessons the Lord has been teaching me since I stopped working. I wasn't as cautious with my spending before, though I thought I was. I looked for convenience, so I shopped at one store and didn't really look at pricing. Now, I realize how important it is to spend money wisely. And it feels really good to know the money my husband brings home is being spent in the most effective way for our family.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Results are In

My son's FCAT scores are in, and HE PASSED!! FCAT scores are from 0 - 5, and a 2 or more is needed to pass. E got a 2 in reading, which would be equivalent to a D, and a 3 in math which is between a B and a C. I'm still going to work with him over the summer, because a 2 is just barely passing and fourth grade is much tougher than third, but we are just thankful to our Lord that He listened to our prayers and E got a passing grade. That's my boy!

J and K Season Premiere

I watched the season premiere of Jon and Kate Plus 8 last night. I don't know why I tuned in. I had determined at the end of season 4 that I didn't want to see the show anymore because it was becoming something I didn't like. They'd gone from being a happy couple who would argue but would also have conversations and laugh together like any other couple, to a distant couple that seemed uncomfortable together. Jon would barely say two words, and Kate seemed upset during the entire interviews. It wasn't pleasant to watch.

But I turned it on anyway. I have to say, by the end of the show I was depressed. I was mostly interested in seeing the children's birthday party because I find these kids to be absolutely adorable, and in that sense they didn't disappoint. I loved Collin saying his favorite things (after the cake and candy, of course) were the "chinyatas". That was just precious. He also went up to his mommy and thanked her for the birthday party. Oh, I could have jumped through the TV and given him a hundred kisses, he was so cute. I was also pleased to see Mady getting along much better with her siblings. She seems more mature now that she's 8 years old and the little ones are older also. Perhaps she's outgrowing the negative phase she went through. That part I truly enjoyed.

Unfortunately the focus of the program wasn't the party, but it started and ended with the marital problems between Jon and Kate. The media (the tabloids in particular) have been terrible with this family. I tell you, I've never purchased a tabloid in my life, and after watching how hurting and damaging it is to human beings I'm even more committed to never spending my money on such trash. Sadly, our human nature loves to see others suffer (aren't we horrible?). These magazines make huge amounts of money by stalking their victims and then writing all sorts of horrendous things about them, and their "fans" eat it up. I'm not surprised it has caused a strain in their marriage.

But I also got the sense that's not the only problem. There's a lot more than meets the eye here, more than a "reality show" can present. There are deep rooted issues, and it was plain to see in the way they didn't even want to look at each other when they were finally interviewed together. Both Jon and Kate made clear their commitment to their children, but neither one spoke of their commitment to each other, and that spoke volumes. It's what was not said that disturbed me most.

I wanted to hear Kate say that she is praying about their situation and that she is leaving everything in God's hands. I wanted to hear Jon not only admit that he's made some wrong choices, but that he is seeking Christian counseling so that he can work at his marriage instead of letting it fall to pieces. I wanted to hear both of them say their number 1 priority is pleasing God, and that they will do whatever it takes to save their marriage and their family, not for their children's sakes, but for their Savior's sake. Why wasn't that said? I can accept Kate saying she's angry. She has every right to be. Even Jesus got angry when He saw injustice, and I believe the media has been unjust in their treatment of this family. But have Jon and Kate turned to the Lord and asked Him what He would have them do? And are they willing to do whatever He asks of them, even if it isn't what they want to do?

As much as I have enjoyed the show, and I really have, I see it as their downfall. Kate insists there's no turning back. I say, "For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible." (Mark 10:27, NRSV). I will pray for this family, because I believe it is a family worth saving. I hope they are praying, too.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, Memorial Day, May 25, 2009...

Outside my window...the sun is shining bright but the threat of another afternoon shower or thunderstorm looms. I'm not worried, though. It was such a dry spring, I'm thankful for the rain.

I am thinking...of the families of our fallen soldiers. Today must be bittersweet for them. God give them the strength to make it through this Memorial Day.

I am thankful for...the soldiers that risk their lives to keep us protected. There's never enough ways to show how appreciative we are.

From the learning rooms...E is finishing up a project for geography. All the kids were assigned a state to work on. My son got Louisiana.

From the kitchen...jumbo stuffed shells. I haven't made them in a long time, and they're a family favorite.

I am olive green shirt, beige capris and brown sandals.

I am creating...still working on the recipe book, and actually got a couple of scrapbook pages done. Yippee!

I am reading...Psalms for morning devotions, Luke for SOAP devotions.

I am hearing...the lawn mower and pressure cleaner. Hubby and oldest son are working in the yard before the rain comes. It's amazing how just a few days of rain can make such a difference in our lawn! We went from dry and brown to Amazon jungle in less than a week!

Around the house...I've already made breakfast, cleaned the kitchen, got a load of towels in the dryer, fixed my bed, swept all the bedrooms, living room, and kitchen. All this before 10:00am. I think I'll concentrate of spending the rest of the day with the family.

One of my favorite going to Disney World. Only on this year's tight budget we probably won't make it. Instead I think I'll work on my Disney scrapbook.

A few plans for the rest of the week: I have a graduation party for one of the girls at church on Saturday, and we have our first annual Summer Bash church picnic on Sunday. It's gonna be big, with bounce houses, rock climbing walls, barbecue, and a special outdoor message from our pastor. Can't wait, it's gonna be awesome!

Here's a prayer request I'm sharing...please pray for the best brother in law in the world, my brother in law Ed, who was hit by a car last week. Praise God he's home recuperating. The Lord had His hand over this precious man, because despite being hit by the car and landing on the concrete, there were no broken bones or severe injuries. However, he has many cuts and bruises, plus he's home resting which drives him absolutely nuts. Pray for a quick recovery, and for my sister to be patient and not harbor any anger but instead to focus on the joy of being home taking care of her dear husband. (I know you are, sis, but a little prayer never hurts).

Wanna join in the fun? Visit Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook. God bless and have a great week!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Princess

One of my ex-coworkers made a "funny" comment this week about how nice it must be to live the life of a princess, because I'm currently a stay-at-home mom. It's 10:30am right now. Let's see what Her Royal Majesty has accomplished thus far:

Got up, had first morning devotion, washed up
Took out meat for lunch
Prepared breakfast for self and youngest child (hubby had already left for work)
Read emails while eating breakfast
Fixed bed, tidied up bedroom
Separated laundry
Got load of laundry in washer
Went to the bank (in the next city south of us)
Went to the park with youngest son for morning exercise
Loaded laundry into dryer
Folded and put away one load of laundry, 2nd load is in dryer
Cleaned kitchen

Princess?! Sounds more like Cinderella to me. Why is it people think if you're a stay-at-home mom all you do is sit around all day watching TV and eating bon-bons? Or that we don't "have a life"? I have a very busy life, thankyouverymuch. Not only busy, but productive and satisfying. If you're a career woman and you absolutely love it, great. I'm happy for you. Just don't assume that I'm miserable because I don't have your life. 'Cause I'm not.

Now if you'll excuse me, Her Majesty will get off her throne (soap-box) and prepare a royal meal of fried chicken tenders, mashed potatoes with gravy, and corn on the cob. A meal fit for a king.

Observing My Senses

For Today, May 23, 2009

I am seeing...rain and sunshine - at the same time! Not just a little rain; it's really coming down, but the sun is blazing. That's South Florida, for ya.

I am feeling...happy that it's Memorial day weekend.

I am tasting...buttered wheat toast and coffee.

I am hearing...George of the Jungle. The cartoon, not the movie. It's silly, but has some good lessons.

I am smelling...the coffee, which smells delectable.

It just takes a moment to stop and observe what's going on around us. Won't you join me?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sheltering Our Children

In an attempt to teach my son a little science hands-on while doing a bit of gardening, I purchased some seeds and planted them in these organic boxes I picked up at Walmart. They're really cool; they look like egg cartons filled with soil, but the nice thing is that the box is biodegradable. You plant the box in the ground once the seedlings are strong enough, and the box deteriorates in the soil instead of living forever in a landfill. I thought it was neat that my son would be learning two lessons from this experiment.

Now understand, I'm a city girl. Born and raised in the Bronx, I don't have much experience with plants other than the potted ones my mom had all over the windows of the house. We nicknamed our house Wild Asia; I think she just wanted to block the view of the outside world as much as possible. Anyway, the point here is that I don't know very much about taking care of seedlings. I read the instructions and followed them as best I could. It said I needed to plant 2-3 seeds per space deep in the soil. I did that. It said the boxes needed to be in the sun. I took them out on our patio and set them where they'd get ALL the morning light. And it said to mist them daily. My son and I diligently went out each morning and misted the boxes. We were on our way.

Within a week the seedlings began sprouting. Joy!! My son was ecstatic. I was pretty excited too. Yay, we'd have flowers for the summer that we'd planted ourselves! We continued misting the plants each morning and waited patiently for the flowers to grow.

A couple of weeks later, when we went outside to check on our flowers, there were none in the boxes! There were a couple of little lizards (geccos) running around the mini flowerbeds, but all the greenery was gone. I didn't get it. What had we done wrong?

The answer? We didn't shelter our plants.

Outside, in the blazing sun, some of our little plants had just baked. Even though we misted them each morning, it wasn't enough. We had a very dry hot spring, and the sun was just too harsh for these little seedlings. There are also lots of birds in our neighborhood, which is nice in the sense that we can go outside and birdwatch. However, it isn't as nice when the birds are making their nests and use some of our seedlings to do it. The lizards didn't help either. They were running around the flowerbeds, stepping all over our tender seedlings. In the end the poor things were too delicate and couldn't survive the outside world.

I've learned an important lesson about seedlings. They need to be sheltered when they're young and tender if they're going to grow. We planted some sunflowers and daisies, but these are inside the house on the kitchen windowsill where they get sunlight but not the scorching morning sun. I water them generously each day, and they are striving.

I think of my children as seedlings. When they're small, they're tender and delicate. I was careful where I took them, how I dressed them to go outdoors, kept them away from other little ones who were coughing and sneezing so they wouldn't get sick. I'd feed them and bathe them to keep them clean and healthy. But was that enough? What happens when we let our children out into the world? Are they prepared for what's out there?

The Duggars and many others like them have been criticized for sheltering their children. They've been told it's unhealthy to keep the children from seeing what's out there. I think the opposite is true: I think it's unhealthy to let our children loose on the world where they can easily get burned, or trampled, or dragged into some activity we would never approve. I remember going to school with young girls who were smoking marijuana or worse, and their parents had no idea what was going on. Parents who thought they were pretty involved in their children's lives were shocked to find their daughter's in labor when they didn't even know these girls were pregnant or even sexually active. Many of these parents said the same thing: "I don't know why my child would do this. It isn't what we taught in the home, nor was it the example we set." And in many cases these children DID come from nice homes. The problem wasn't what was going on in the home. The problem was these children weren't sheltered from the damaging influences outside the home. After seeing the difference between children who are sheltered and those who aren't, I'm inclined to believe that the sheltered ones have a better foothold on life once they're adults than the ones who aren't. Their parents took care to keep them safe while they were just seedlings, and once they were strong enough to be planted outside, they were able to stand the harsh weather.

I know many parents disagree with this. All I can say to them is, if you choose not to shelter your children, be prepared to work even harder. When your children are home, you, the parent, are in control. Once you let them loose into the cold, cruel world, it's anyone's guess.

Awana Awards

Last night was the last night of Awana for this year, and the church had its awards ceremony. The children, from pre-k thru 6th grade, were commended for their attendance, for their hard work and diligence, and for their participation in all the activities. All the children received ribbons for the year, and others received special recognition for their achievements. Imagine my extreme joy when my son E won a medal for merit. He has struggled so much in school this year, it was wonderful to have him awarded for his effort and love of learning God's Word. My son was beaming, he actually jumped up and down in his excitement. It was awesome.

Guess what his mom forgot to bring to the ceremony?

That's right. The camera.

I could not believe I left the camera home, again. My family has a terrible habit of forgetting the camera. I'm considering gluing it to my forehead so I don't have an excuse anymore. I was able to snap a pic with my cell phone, but I don't know how to download it to the computer. I'll have to wait till my oldest son gets home from working with his dad. If we can get that done I'll post the one pic I got. And maybe this will teach me a valuable lesson, for next time.

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." 3 John 1:4.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, May 18, 2009...
Outside my window...sunny and warm again, though we got tons of rain on Saturday and a little on Sunday. Much needed and much appreciated. Thank You, Lord!
I am thinking...about my daughter who starts the summer session today. She did excellently in her spring classes, a B+ in biology and A's in the rest of her classes. Now she's taking a couple of English lit classes to try and get ahead. She's determined to finish her studies early. I hope she does too.
I am thankful...for the two weeks my daughter was home with us, for my 2 boys, my husband, and my home.
From the learning rooms...3 weeks left of school. Of course, only 2 count, since the last week is games and such. That's the week my son is looking forward to!
From the kitchen...smothered pork chops with mixed veggies and white rice. One of my hubby's favorite meals.
I am wearing...a khaki beige tank, turquoise capri's, and white flip-flops.
I am creating...a recipe book! I found one on sale at Waldenbooks for $8. It's a binder with pages and dividers, so I can document my recipes and keep them handy. The older kids have been asking me to do this also. It's nice to see them take an interest in Mom's cooking.
I am reading...Psalms for morning devotions, still on Mark for SOAP devotions, and still reading Surviving Financial Meltdown. I've been a slow reader lately. My eyesight isn't what it used to be.
I am hearing...pretty much nothing. I'm all by myself this morning (bliss!!!).
Around the house...there's a million things to do! Take down all the bed linens and wash them, clean up the family room and kitchen, pick up in all the other rooms. Ah, a woman's day is never done...
One of my favorite coupons. Especially when you've puchased an item on sale AND you have a coupon for it - that's just great!!
A few plans for the rest of the week: My youngest son has a birthday party this Saturday so I have to buy the child a present. Awana on Wednesday (we're winding up before the summer), and I'm serving in children's ministry this Sunday which is always nice.
Here's a picture thought I'm sharing...Mother's Day portrait. Our church, Calvary Fellowship, does Mother's day portraits every year. Unfortunately my hubby had a softball game and my oldest son had gotten in late the night before, so it was just me and the 2 younger kids. Still, I think the pic turned out great. Hope everyone's Mother's day was sweet.

Wanna join in the fun? Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook. Have a blessed week!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Observing my senses

Today, May 16, 2009...

I am son eating his breakfast of chocolate chip Eggo's with sausages.

I am feeling...the sun on my back as it streams thru the window. It poured last night thank the Lord. Maybe it'll rain some more today.

I am morning coffee. It's something I thoroughly enjoy.

I am hearing...a cartoon on Disney XD channel. Makes me wanna go to Disney World. I love it there.

I am smelling...Mr. Clean with Febreeze which I used to clean the kitchen. What a great cleaner! I like the green one, it has a nice fresh scent.

It's nice to sit and observe what goes on around us. We don't always notice it, but our senses are working 24/7, detecting sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feelings all around us. Take a second and sense what your body is sensing. You might be pleasantly surprised...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lunch Break

My hubby decided it would be nice for us to go out to lunch yesterday, which we all gladly accepted! We went to a new Chili's restaurant just north of our town. Thankfully it wasn't very full (I hate crowds) and we were able to have a fun, relaxing lunch with our older kids. The youngest was at school, and that was a huge bummer for me. I missed my little guy, but we still had a nice time.

There's my little girl on the left (waaay too serious) and her best friend Jelly Bean. They room together at college. I'm glad she has JB with her, who sets a good example both academically and spiritually. JB is very serious about her relationship with the Lord, and it has rubbed off in a very positive way. Both girls have decided not to date, to wait on the Lord to show them the man He would have them marry and enter into courtship when that time comes. Right now both are focused on school and not guys, which I believe will help them do their best. There's always time for romance later on.

Here's my oldest son R. He recently cut his very long hair, and I'm so glad. The long hair was dry and brittle, not very attractive at all. He looks much nicer clean cut.

Me and hubby. Just chillin' out at Chili's.

My hubby rarely smiles for the camera. Not even as a small child. My kids saw pictures of his first birthday party, and they asked why their daddy wasn't smiling. It's just his personality. However, he did give me a wink for this pic, which was greatly appreciated.
I'm glad we got to spend this time with the kids. They've grown up faster than we thought possible, but they're still special to us and we love them more and more each day. I'm thankful to have them close by (still) where we can share these spontaneous moments together.

The Completed Bathroom

Yes, that's right, completed! Oh, I am SOOO happy this construction project is D-O-N-E Done! I know I shouldn't complain, the work turned out beautifully and we have the satisfaction of knowing we did it ourselves. I'm just glad I don't have to clean up construction debris 20 times a day anymore!

This is the vanity my brother-in-law built, along with the incredibly great bargain granite top with sink I got at Lowe's. The colors work well with the tile and the wall. I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

Here's another view. I also love the fixtures and the matching accessories. It gives it a bit of a rustic feel, similar to what we have in the kitchen.

This is the medicine cabinet. It matches the vanity and provides extra storage. So much that it's half empty! I don't mind. I think it's perfect.

All in all, after reviewing everything we spent (and everything we returned), we kept to the budget to the tune of $54.15 under. I'm glad we did the small bathroom ourselves, otherwise we'd have gone significantly over. God had a great lesson for us with this gift: trust in Him to provide, even when it looks impossible. He made it possible for us to remodel 2 bathrooms for the price of one, when only one of us is working. If that isn't a miracle, I don't know what is!

Weather Update

It rained!!! I got up this morning and the ground was wet. Hallelujah! Then shortly after that some more rain came down. Praise the Lord! It's sunny right now but it looks like we'll be getting rain on and off this weekend. Yeah, I know, the weekend. But hey, we really need the rain to clean up the allergans, and the grass looks sad in most places. Florida is known for being green, not brown. I'm glad to see rain any day!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Being Mom

This past Sunday being Mother's Day reminded me of something - being a mom is hard!! Yes it's worthwhile, yes it's rewarding, but it isn't easy. There's no two children who are alike, so what works with one child may fail miserably with another. Still, there are a few points I've learned along the way that are sure to work with any and all children. Mind you, I'm not saying I have this parenting thing all figured out; I don't. I'm still in the learning stages after 3 children, the oldest who is 22 years old. But as a mom who's tried lots of different techniques, I can tell you these three are key to raising godly children:

1) Don't just talk the talk; walk the walk.

You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool your kids. Yes, you can put on a pious face at church and say all the right things to all the right people. You can pretend to be a loving, unselfish mom at school, at the workplace, at the grocery store. But when you get home, you are who you are. And your kids know it. If you're honest and genuine no matter where you are, your children will respect you for it and trust you. If you're one person at church and a totally different person at home, they will think hypocrisy is normal and acceptable. They'll think everyone is like that, even the God you worship, and they will either be turned off by you and not respect you, or they'll end up just like you, either of which is not what any parent wants. Your children don't expect you to be perfect; they do want and expect you to be real. Our faith needs to be authentic. Only then will our children believe that our God is authentic.

2) Be a Bible Thumper to your kids.

Some parents are rolling their eyes at this, because they know their teenage kids will roll their eyes. Don't fret. All teenagers roll their eyes (we did, didn't we?). We think eye rolling means, "oh no, not again." In actuality, it means "I don't have an answer so I'll roll my eyes and hope my parents will leave me alone." Teenagers are the most opinionated human beings on earth. If they have something to say, they'll say it. If all they do is roll their eyes, it means they don't have an answer, and figure the eye rolling will make you stop. Don't stop! Make the Scriptures relevant to their lives.

More and more people are walking away from the church, not because they don't believe in God, but because they don't think what's being taught in church is relevant to this century. We need to show them that it is. Proverbs is very good for this. Take our economic times, for instance. So many people have gotten into financial trouble because they owe more than they earn. That's because banks and credit card companies made it so easy to get everything we wanted right away. Just charge it and pay later (with interest, of course). Now these same people are losing their homes and are in financial distress. What can we teach our children about this? How about Proverbs 13:11 - "Wealth hastily gotten will dwindle, but those who gather little by little will increase it." See how that's sound advise? The Bible is chock full of great lessons for our lives, but our kids won't know that unless we teach them. Have devotions with them each day. Explain what lessons God teaches us in our circumstances. Just remember point #1 - once you show it to them, you've got to live it, too.

3) Find them a mentor.

So many parents want to be their kid's friends so badly, they forget their original calling: to be parents. Our children will have many friends in their lifetimes; they'll only have one mom and dad. We're the disciplinarians, the tough-love givers. But we don't have to be the only ones teaching our children. Titus 2:3-4 exhorts the older women to encourage younger women. This doesn't have to be just to married women. When my daughter was just 15 years old, our youth pastor's wife began giving my daughter godly advise through a young girl's small group. I noticed huge spiritual growth in my little girl during that time. A couple of other young women also took her under their wings. Women who were in their early 20's, had gone to college but never stopped seeking the Lord, and were now strong young women of faith who were setting an excellent example of leadership to many of the teens and preteens in our church. I credit these young women the Lord put in my daughter's path for helping her get her priorities straight, to keep God first in her life and to trust Him for the decisions she's making now for her future. Never underestimate the power of a godly young woman.

In the end, all parents want is the best for their children, and all Christian parents want if for their children to walk with the Lord. Their lives will be a reflection of ours, and of the people around them. So, let's be the people we want our children to be. After all, it's a win-win situation for everyone.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, May 11, 2009...
Outside my window...the sun is blaring once again, and the grass is turning brown. We're on water restriction due to the lack of rain, and it's taking effect on our plants and trees. Each week the weather report says rain, and each week, nothing. I hope we get rain soon. We really need it.
I am thinking...about my son who had to take a project to school and it was falling apart in the car. The teacher had them make a drag race car out of plastic containers and yogurt lids. We used a pop bottle and hot glued it to a base so we could get wheels on it. Well, the hot glue wasn't holding as well as we'd hoped (maybe 'cause it's so hot outside?) and the wheels were coming off. He was so discouraged because he was sure he'd get a bad grade. I told him the teacher would be fair and give him a good grade for trying. I hope I'm right.
I am thankful...for a nice Mother's day with my 3 children. I'm so glad my daughter's in town for Mother's day, otherwise it just wouldn't be the same.
From the learning son's teacher informed me last Thursday that my son passed his portfolios. That means that, even if he doesn't pass the FCAT exams, he still passes to the 4th grade. I'm glad he passed, but I'm nervous as well. He still has serious problems with reading comprehension, and fourth grade is tough. We'll have to buckle down this summer to get prepared. Hubby purchased a computer tower, since ours died and it was needed so we could install the home learning curriculum. We're trusting God to provide for this unexpected expense.
From the style pork ribs in the crock pot. Oven fries and coleslaw will complete the picture.
I am wearing...a peach tank top, beige capris and brown sandals. This is my outfit for most of the summer, light tops and capris or skirts (shorts if I'm in the house). I like jeans but they're just too heavy during the summer when the temps hit the high 80's and even the 90's. It's been sweltering here people!
I am creating...still trying to create time for scrapbooking. I hate seeing my baskets in the corner of the dining room, calling out to me to sit a spell and reminisce, and me with a million other things to do. I've GOT to make time, I've just got to.
I am reading...Psalms for morning devotions, Mark for SOAP devotions, and Surviving Financial Meltdown. My hubby, who hates reading anything that doesn't have to do with sports, was actually looking over the book and asking me about it. He said it looked interesting. That was a pleasant surprise. I'll need to sit and discuss what I'm learning with him.
I am hearing...the tick-tock of the clock. There are myriads of birds outside but with the windows closed you can't hear them much. I know, it's a shame, but I'm telling you it's already in the 80's and it's only 9 am. There is absolutely no breeze, so all the ceiling fans need to be on and the a/c needs to be running. There's just no other way.
I am hoping...for rain. Whenever it gets this dry our allergies act up, and my youngest son has had a dry cough the past couple of days due to the dust in the air. I put the vaporizer in his room last night and it seems to have helped.
Around the house...I'm cleaning the kitchen and family room today, along with some laundry. Then maybe this afternoon, some scrapbooking?
One of my favorite sitting down to watch a good movie with my kids. I hope we have time to watch Bolt this week. It's a very cute Disney flick.
Here's a picture thought I'm sharing...actually, I'll be sharing it later on today or tomorrow. My son is about finished setting up the new computer tower. The laptop doesn't have any place for me to plug in my memory chip so I can't download pics onto it, but the new computer does. So once that's all set I can download pics of the bathroom, which is finally completed!!! I'm so thrilled. It turned out beautifully.
Wanna join in the fun? Visit Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook. Have a blessed week!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Walk Down Memory Lane

My daughter was born in 1989. She entered the university this past August as a freshman. A friend of mine sent me this list of things kids entering college this year have no recollection of. It was pretty interesting, though it made me feel a bit ancient. If you have college age kids, maybe you can identify:

1. These kids never sang, "We are the world, We are the children."

2. They were 3 years old when the Soviet Union ceased to exist. They never saw the Cold War, and they know of only one Germany, though they probably studied about two in school.

3. They're too young to recall the explosion of the spaceship Challenger, or the Pepsi Challenge.

4. For them, AIDS has always existed.

5. They never got to play Atari.

6. When CD's were introduced in the marketplace, they were less than a year old.

7. They never had record players, nor played PacMan. They think the visual effects of the Star Wars movies are pathetic.

8. Most don't even know televisions had only 13 channels and a U on a rotary channel dial. What's more, they've never seen a black and white TV and wouldn't know how to work a set without a remote control.

9. They were born 7 years after Sony introduced the Walkman, they think roller skates have always had wheels in a straight line, and owning a cell phone and personal computer is a normal everyday occurance.

10. Many have never seen Sesame Street, the Electric Company, Lost in Space, Topo Gigio, or Zoom.

11. They've never gone into the ocean thinking about "Jaws".

12. As far as they're concerned, Michael Jackson has always been white, and they can't picture John Travolta dancing, as fat as he is.

13. They never heard the phrase, "The plane, boss, the plane", nor have they watched Wonder Woman.

14. They've never used a metal lunchbox.

15. They don't know who the Six Million Dollar Man or the Bionic Woman were.

16. They never heard cartoons saying "By the power of Grey Skull" or "Thunder, thunder, thundercats".

17. They may not know Tom Sawyer or Little Lulu.

18. They think The Love Boat is a cruise ship for honeymooners sailing out of the Port of Miami.

19. They think Charlie's Angels was a movie premiere and CHips is what you have with a burger or sandwich.

If nothing else, I hope this brought a smile to the faces of some thirty and forty-somethings. It made me chuckle, that's for sure.

Friday, May 8, 2009

This is not right

I read this news story about President Obama's decision to curtail the National Day of Prayer. In contrast to President Bush, who would have ministers come to the White House to pray for our nation, President Obama chose instead to read a proclamation.

I have trouble understanding this position. Are we not in agreement that the country is going through a difficult time? Don't we still have troops in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, fighting for our freedom? Aren't we still in a recession, with millions of people out of work and others still losing their homes? Don't we have good reasons to pray? Atheist groups don't think so. They feel the national day of prayer should be eliminated altogether. But this country was established on Christian faith, and the majority of Americans claim to believe in God. If we are a democracy, then the majority rules, and the majority of Americans would like to observe a national day of prayer.

I don't like the message this administration is sending the American people. I hope we come together and continue this important observation of national prayer day. For our country's sake.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

What is Quiverfull?

As I mentioned before, I have read the Duggar book, 20 and Counting, for the third time. I'm surprised at how the Duggars are criticized for their life choices, even by Christians, and I believe it's because we don't understand the reasons for their choices. So, in an effort to be open-minded, and because I think they're such a great Christian family, I'm posting about some of their convictions and why they believe what they believe, in hopes of being more accepting and less judgmental of their choices.

One of the lifestyle choices that the Duggars have been heavily criticized for is the fact that they are quiverful. This is based on the verse found in Psalms 127:4-5, which says, "Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate." Verse 3 of this same Psalm tells us children are a heritage from the Lord and a reward. That means that children are a blessing, a gift from God Himself. And what a beautiful gift they are! I know I thoroughly appreciate the 3 precious gifts God has given me.

The issue here for most people isn't whether children are a blessing or not. Most parents would tell you that yes, even when our kids drive us absolutely nuts, we still love them unconditionally and consider them a blessing. The problem for most people is that the Duggars have chosen not to control the amount of children they have, and for many this is seen as irresponsible. Now, I can see how people who don't seek God's direction in their lives might think this way. But it bothers me when Christians also make these accusations of irresponsibility. I believe the reason is because most people, Christians included, don't understand what quiverful is or what it means.

Say "quiverful", and families with 10+ children come to mind, each about a year apart. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Not to say that there aren't quiverful families with many children; quite obviously there are. But quiverful families can also have few children. I worked with one Christian woman who is quiverful; she and her husband have one daughter. Another quiverful woman wrote about having 3 children 3 years in a row, and never getting pregnant again. Her children are now teenagers. Still another quiverful couple never had any children. They dedicated their lives to ministry directed at children even though they were never blessed with any of their own. So what is quiverful, really?

Quiverful families believe in leaving their family size in God's hands. This means they don't use any method of birth control, nor do they seek fertility treatments. If God chooses to give them 2 children or 20, they accept whatever is God's will for their lives. Even in biblical times, when the massive amounts of birth control available today didn't exist, people didn't always have dozens upon dozens of children. Abraham and Sarah had Isaac, and they had to wait till they were elderly before that happened. Isaac and his wife Rebekah had twin boys, and that was it. There was no guarantee then, just as there is no guarantee now, that by not using birth control the result would be an astounding amount of children.

Let's face it: it takes a HUGE amount of faith to give this area of our lives to God. We claim to have faith (what Christian would say they don't?), yet when it comes to the size of our family, we pretty much tell God, "I think I'm a better judge than You are of how many children I can handle." It scares us to think God might give us too many blessings (remember, that's what children are), so we limit them instead. That's a decision each couple has to make on their own, and no one wants to be judged because they've chosen to limit themselves to one or two children. Yet how many turn around and judge the Duggars and families like them because their faith is strong enough to trust God with this important area of their lives? Maybe they're looked down on because of that, because their faith makes ours seem lacking, because they're willing to let go and let God, and we aren't. Whatever the reason, it is wrong and unloving to judge our Christian brothers and sisters for making choices different from ours. Rather than be critical, let's applaud the Duggars and other quiverful families for their love and faith in our Almighty God, who can and does make the best decisions for our lives.

When God Speaks

I watched Kate Gosselin on the Today show this morning. She looked lovely in her smart black and white outfit, but she also looked tired, worn out really. It's been a tough few months for her family thanks to tabloid reports of her husband having affair after affair. As much as she tried to convince Meredith Viera (and possibly herself) that she understands this comes with the territory of being in the media spotlight, it looked like all of this has taken its toll.

As Christians, we know that God speaks to us in different ways. He regularly speaks to us through His Word. He speaks to us through church sermons, through friends, through everyday life. We also realize that sometimes God tells us what we don't want to hear. We ask God to provide something, and when He doesn't we believe He isn't listening, when in actuality He heard us loud and clear and His answer was simply, "No". So many times we think we know better than God what needs to happen in our lives, and, rather than obey what we clearly hear Him telling us, we try through all means to make our will prevail. That's when God has to get tough. And the lessons can hurt.

Life is lived in seasons. We're babies for a season. We grow into toddlers, then children, then teenagers, then adults. These are all seasons. We marry and have children, or remain single and travel, or dedicate ourselves to a career. Regardless, this is done for a time, and then life continues to change. At times, though, we don't want the change. We like the life we're living at the moment, and want it to stay the same forever. We do whatever is possible to delay or avoid change. But it has to come, because time doesn't stand still, and God's will must be done.

I've gotten the impression that the tv show has been too much for this family. It has become so popular that they can't go anywhere without being spotted and followed. This isn't good for the children, and will only get worse as they grow out of childhood and into the preteen and teenage years. The season finale had Jon unsure of continuing with the program, while Kate wanted to continue. But the question here is, what does God want? Is He telling the Gosselins that it's time to leave this season of their lives behind and seek His will for the next season? I hope they pray about this, and really listen to the Lord and obey. God's will WILL be done. We can either go along with it, or make it hard for ourselves. I hope & pray they will choose to go along with God's decision. It'll be so much better for their marriage and their family.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

An Untimely Death

Our computer died yesterday. I guess we should have expected it. After all the thing is ancient (6 years old). It had been getting slower and slower, then it started shutting down for no reason. Yesterday it didn't even want to turn on. I had to unplug it from the wall and plug it in again so it would reset. Thankfully my son was able to do a backup, because this morning it just died. Won't even start up. Bummer. I'm using my daughter's laptop for now, until we figure out what to do next. Daughter just got a new laptop from Dad because of her grades (B+ in one class, the rest all A's) so I can use her old one in the meantime. Actually, I wouldn't mind keeping this one. It's nice and compact, and works just fine.

Life is just full of unexpected events, isn't it?

Monday, May 4, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things...

Well, 20 of them anyway:

1. Color - green, any shade but especially olive
2. Dessert - Haagen-Daz Vanilla Swiss almond ice cream
3. Smell - a newborn baby
4. Flower - roses, red and peach and yellow and...
5. Animals - dogs as pets, owls to watch
6. Month - December (my birthday, 2 of my kid's birthdays, Jesus' birthday)
7. Beverage - lemonade and iced tea
8. Pair of Shoes - my brown snakeskin high heeled pumps
9. Snack - tostitos with pico de gallo
10. Song - While I'm Waiting by John Waller (this changes periodically)
11. Book - The Bible
12. Fruit - apples
13. Hairstyle - straight and loose
14. Piece of clothing - my teal green wrap blouse with skirt
15. Store to clothes shop - New York and Company
16. Season - Autumn
17. Hobby - Scrapbooking
18. Things to collect - not a big collector; hate clutter
19. Movie - Fireproof (also changes periodically)
20. Restaurant - Olive Garden

Like this? Join Peggy at The Simple Woman for your own 20 faves.

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, May 4, 2009...

Outside my's a sunny, breezy 80 degrees. The breeze is cool this morning so it feels like spring. Let's see how long that lasts. It's been real toasty these last few weeks, and very little rain, which is why we're having to deal with brush fires.

I am thinking...about the fun time we had on Friday, about the great message we heard yesterday, and about all the things God has prepared for us this week.

I am thankful...that my daughter got home safely last night and will be home for the next 2 weeks. Yay!

From the learning rooms...see previous post. Also planted some daisies and sunflowers. Hope they sprout for my little sprout.

From the kitchen...there's a pot roast in the crock pot. If there isn't a crock pot at the Smithsonian they need to put one there. These things are God's provision for the working woman or the busy mom, or both.

I am wearing...a grey tank top, jean capris and brown sandals. Light fare for warm weather days.

I am creating...time for scrapbooking. At least that's what I've been trying to do for the last week. Something else always seems to take precedence.

I am reading...the Psalms for my morning devotions, Mark for SOAP devotions, and I'm gonna start a new book, Surviving Financial Meltdown by Ron Blue and Jeremy White. Biblical advise on money matters. Very interested in what this book has to say.

I am son's breathing as he sleeps. There are birds chirping outside, the ceiling fan is humming, and the keyboard is click-clicking.

I am hoping...the bathroom gets finished this week. That's right, still waiting. Is this God's way of teaching me patience?

Around the house...laundry. Also patio clean up, and the tiles in the front entryway.

One of my favorite warm weather, like right now, where it's warm and breezy with little to no humidity. I know, we need the rain, but it just feels so good, that warm sun on my face. I love it.

Here's a picture thought I'm sharing...

Another South Florida Favorite: Iguanas! This one's a baby, but we've seen some enormous ones in our front yard. They're like any other animal, harmless unless they feel threatened, so we pretty much leave them alone. They're beautiful to see, though. Very colorful.

Wanna join in the fun? Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook. God bless!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

God's Peace

With the summer approaching, I've been considering more and more what I'll be doing with my son E to help him with his studies. He continues having a hard time in school due to his dyslexia and the fact that the school has no program for this type of learning disability, so it's up to me to help my son any way I can.

I began by looking at what dyslexia is and how dyslexic children learn. Because dyslexics are visual learners, computer curriculums are recommended and work better than standard reading books and workbooks. I was surprised at how many different homeschooling curriculums are out there! The positive is that there's something for everyone and plenty to choose from. The negative is that these curriculums can be quite expensive. I mean running into the hundreds, especially for curriculums targeted at special needs. Since I'm not working, this was not an option. I continued looking at information and seeing what was available.

Last year I'd bought workbooks at Costco which were extremely helpful to my son during the summer months. He would do several pages a day, one for reading/science, two for language arts and two for math. I made sure it wasn't too much so he wouldn't get overwhelmed, since I was still working at the time and he was doing his work on his own or with his sister's help. Still, by the time school started his reading and language arts grades had gone up to a B. Much better than the D's he'd received at the end of the school year. So I decided to look for some more workbooks and be prepared for this summer as well.

As I went through the selection of material available, I found that Costco had a computer home learning "suite". A four CD collection that included reading, math, science, social studies, language arts, one CD just for spelling (which my son desperately needs help in), and another CD just for foreign languages. What a great find! The price for the collection was $54.99, which I fully knew was an excellent bargain compared to the prices of other computer curriculum I'd seen, even though for us it was still quite a bit of money. When I picked up the CD's, I realized I was missing something. I didn't have peace about it. As a Christian I've come to understand that when God approves of a decision or path I'm taking, He fills me with His peace, and I know that's what He wants me to do. It's very comforting to know my Heavenly Father is giving me the thumbs-up. I couldn't understand, though, why I wasn't feeling that with this curriculum. Everything seemed to indicate that this was a great deal, and I'd felt God leading me to homeschool my son this summer. I even considered calling my husband and asking him if it were okay to purchase the CD's for E. I know him well enough that if I explained these CD's would help E with his schoolwork and grades my hubby would say to go ahead and buy them and not worry about the price. But I still wouldn't have God's peace about it. And that to me was more important than anyone else's approval. I stood there looking over the CD's for a while longer, hoping it would begin to feel right, but it didn't. Eventually I put them down and continued with my shopping.

That was about two months ago. This week, for some strange reason, I felt like God wanted me to go back to Costco and buy the curriculum. Once again, I couldn't understand why God would tell me now that it was okay to purchase something He wouldn't give me peace about before. I began to wonder if it was really God telling me to buy the curriculum, or if it was just me. After all, $54.99 wasn't in this week's budget. I had to do my big grocery shopping for the month, and adding on this additional $55.00 didn't seem like a good move. I had to go to Costco anyway, so I figured I'd see how much I was spending and if I had enough in the budget to pay for it then I'd know it was God's will, otherwise it was mine. I swung by the book area to see if the curriculum was still available. To my absolute shock, the curriculum was still there, but a large sign above it offered an instant manufacturer's rebate of $35.00. The curriculum was now selling for $19.99! I couldn't believe my eyes. I knew immediately this was God's provision for my son at a price that definitely fit in our budget! Now I understood why God wouldn't give me peace about buying the curriculum two months ago. He knew that waiting would be to my family's advantage, and by listening to Him I was able to make the right decision.

Having a relationship with God means allowing Him to lead us, protect us from doing the wrong thing and guide us to what is right. It might seem scary to let someone else take control of our life to that extent, but I know my Heavenly Father wants only what's best for me. Who better to sit in the driver's seat?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Good grocery shopping day

I had a good shopping day at Winn-Dixie yesterday. Spent $66.28, saved $68.09 between sales and coupons. I love getting more and paying less (doesn't everyone?).

Winn-Dixie stores have been around for years. They took a hard hit a few years ago, though. They went into chapter 11 bankruptcy, the reorganizing kind, and it was unknown if they'd be able to get back on track. Lots of stores closed. Personally, though I'd shopped at Winn-Dixie, I wasn't fond of their stores. I found their prices to be on the high end, their produce was yucky looking, and most of the stores in my area were not the cleanest. Once Walmart supercenters came in, Winn-Dixie couldn't compete. This saddened me, because Walmart is something of a bully. Sure, consumers love Walmart because they've got so much stuff jammed into their super stores at very low prices (or so it seems). But once a Walmart comes into an area, all the stores around it suffer. I've seen many stores close (including Winn-Dixie's) after a Walmart opens, which means loads of people out of work. People that won't get hired by Walmart because Walmart already has their employees. Is this REALLY good for the economy?! What good is a store with low low prices to a consumer, if the consumer doesn't have any income thanks to that very store?

Thankfully, Winn-Dixie used the bankruptcy, not to permanently shut down, but to restructure and make their stores better. And I've found that at Winn-Dixie I can get much better buys and bring home lots more food than I do from Walmart. For the $66 I spent at Winn-Dixie, I got:

2 boneless pot roasts
2 pkgs pork chops
2 bags chicken wings
2 containers ice cream
2 bags salad blend
2 pkgs Keebler chocolate chip cookies
2 pkgs fresh croissants
2 loaves Arnold italian bread
2 boxes Pop Secret popcorn
2 boxes Lunchables (my son likes them)

All these at buy one get one free prices. Plus I got taco shells, cucumbers, limes, tomatoes, cheddar cheese (for tacos; cinco de mayo is coming up), bleach, pkgs of instant mashed potatoes (for when my son wants something quick), and breakfast foods. I looked at all the bags in my car and realized I come home with less from Walmart and spend more! I've compared prices, and I can assure you Walmart is NOT always the cheapest. Shop around, check out your circulars, and make wise choices. Thanks to careful planning, I've managed to bring down my monthly food budget by over $200. It's worth the effort!