Tuesday, June 30, 2009

REALLY Love this quote!

"What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow."

- Martin Luther

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For today, June 29. 2009...

Outside my window...it's getting dark, the wind is picking up, and the threat of rain is upon us. Strange, we've been getting rain in the afternoon, not the mornings. Still, it's a blessing to receive rain daily after such a dry winter and spring. No more water restrictions!

I am thinking...about small groups this week. We're doing a short run of small groups this summer for the first time. I'm scheduled to lead a woman's small group on Friday. I've got 6 women signed up, but after emailing them I haven't heard back. I'll have to give them all a call today.

I am thankful for...small groups. While our church is certainly not a mega-church, it's been growing steadily, praise the Lord. Small groups have allowed me to meet people I haven't been acquainted with at church, and it has brought some amazing women into my life.

From the learning rooms...still reading about Nicaragua. Also doing reading everyday. We finished Ribsy by Beverly Cleary, and Roscoe Riley Rules #4 by Katherine Applegate (very funny!). We've started That Crazy Eddie and the Science Project of Doom by Judy Cox, which I suspect we'll finish today or tomorrow. My son is really enjoying the books we're reading, which is great since he typically doesn't like reading. I want him to understand that reading can be fun, not just a school assignment.

I am hoping...the approaching storm doesn't knock out the electricity. I've got food in the crock pots!

From the kitchen...pot roast in one crock pot, pinto beans in the other. I've got stuff to do today, and I don't want to have to stop to cook.

I am wearing...AAHHH!! I haven't changed yet! It's the second week in a row, too. I've got to get out of my sleeping attire and into day clothes.

I am creating...scrapbook plans. I actually got a beginner's book on scrapbooking out of the library to help inspire me with some ideas. It worked. I've just got to get started.

I am reading...Jeremiah for morning devotions, still on Luke for SOAP devotions. I've ordered the book Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer for small groups, and Passionate Housewives Desperate for God for my own reading. I also want to borrow Sense and Sensibility from the library. I love the classics.

I am hearing...thunder in the background, cartoons in the family room. The rain is coming down softly now, but I suspect it'll get heavy any minute.

Around the house...floors need mopping, beds need clean bedding, finish laundry, clean up in my daughter's room because she comes home TOMORROW!!!

One of my favorite things...is my family all under one roof. I'm so glad my daughter will be home. There's a peace in my heart when we're all home, together, at the same time.

A few plans for the rest of the week: movies tomorrow (freebies!). I hope to feel well enough to visit my friend who is home from the hospital (thank You Jesus!), library, small groups on Friday, and since my daughter is due home tomorrow (yay, thank the Lord) we can plan some stuff to do with her, too.

Here's a prayer request I'm sharing...pray for our missionaries. We had a couple that we support financially at our church yesterday. John and Tanya are missionaries in the Middle East where spreading the Gospel is slow due to the fact that a) spreading the Gospel is illegal, and b) Islam isn't just the religion of the region, it's their way of life. Accepting Jesus means denouncing your family, friends, lifestyle, everything you know, and possibly experiencing jail time or at the very least ostracizing. Yet there are people who are hungry for the Gospel, and this family is risking everything to answer the call. Please keep these brave lovers of Jesus in your prayers. Until the whole world hears...

Wanna join in the fun? Peggy is on vacation, but you can visit Grandmother Wren and leave your link there. God bless and have a wonderful week.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Observing My Senses

For Today, June 27, 2009...

I am seeing...a partly cloudy/sunny morning. The leaves on the trees are perfectly still, telling me there is not even the sign of breeze in the air. Another scorcher, no doubt.

I am feeling...better, as my cough is less. It's more of a tickle in my throat than the cough from cold I had at the beginning of the week.

I am tasting...pancakes with syrup, bacon and coffee. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day!

I am hearing...cartoons on TV, and breakfast being eaten.

I am smelling...maple syrup. Well, not REAL maple syrup. Log Cabin pancake syrup. It's not the original, but it works for me.

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

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Health Update

I want to thank all who have prayed for the health of my friend Naomy. I spoke with her today, and I'm praising God because she is home! She's still quite sick; she's been sent home with an oxygen tank to help her breathing and she has to take it easy. Thankfully her mother is with her now helping her rest and not worry.

This dear woman was raised in a Christian home, by a loving Christian family, but when she turned 18 she decided the world was more appealing than the life she'd been taught and walked away from the Lord. For 20 years her family faithfully prayed for her, and the Lord heard their prayers. Naomy came back after being so far from God. It was a joyous time for her and her family.

Then, just a few short years later, Naomy found herself in the scariest place in her life. A health nut who eats nutritiously and exercises regularly, she couldn't understand how it was that she became so sick so quickly. An auto-immune neuromuscular disorder was wrecking havoc on her body. This once active woman was put on steroid treatment, operated on to remove a tumor, underwent chemotherapy and radiation which brought on her first bout with pneumonia, yet her faith became ever stronger. She spoke to her doctors, nurses, anyone who would listen, about how Jesus was healing her body, how He was giving her the strength to deal with all the issues this disorder was causing in her, and how Jesus could do the same for them. Even one of our pastors who went to visit her admitted she encouraged him more than he encouraged her. Her testimony has given hope to many, and her joy and determination teach us to keep our faith in all circumstances.

I continue to pray for a speedy and complete recovery for my friend, and again I thank the many prayer warriers who lifted her up to the Lord. Your prayers are greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Still Another Great Quote

"The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God you fear everything else."
- Oswald Chambers

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

So, DOES money buy happiness?

I guess we can't get away from the whole Jon and Kate saga. I stopped watching the show when the new season began, because it was just too depressing to watch. But this morning the news reported that the couple has filed for divorce. I've thought about it throughout the day. I prayed for them, because the breakup of their marriage breaks my heart. It's made me think about how life can change from one moment to the next.

When the show started, it was about a family that, by most accounts, was normal. Yes, they have 2 sets of multiples. Yes, they have a set of sextuplets. Yes, it's a total of 8 children. But in most aspects, they were a regular family. They lived in a nice home, a bit tight but manageable. Dad went out to work each day to pay the bills. Mom looked for ways to save money, like clipping coupons and buying on sale. She looked for ways to prepare nutritious meals for her family. They had laundry, and cleaning, and discipline; they celebrated birthdays and holidays; they went to church and tried to live a life much like any other family in America, just with more children than most, 6 of them toddlers. They didn't have a lot of money, but they concentrated on finding ways to enjoy all their family had, what God provided. And as Kate mentioned in one show, they did believe that God would provide.

Fast forward to now. They have much more money than they had when the show started. The house is big enough for all the kids to get lost in. They've received all kinds of gifts, furniture, trips, vacations, upgrades to their house. So many material possessions. Yet their family has fallen apart. What happened?

Kate was quoted as saying that the breakup would have happened even without the show. That's quite possible; marriages fall apart all the time. I just think it's interesting that now, when they've achieved so much financial success, is when their marriage fails.

How many times have couples argued about money, and said, "If only we were making more money," or, "If we could only get a better paying job," or, "I wish we'd win the lottery." But if this were the solution, if money guaranteed marital bliss, Jon and Kate would be happier than they'd ever been in their lives.

One of the main reasons I stopped watching the show was because I sensed God was no longer a part of it. This was a couple who, in the beginning, talked about their faith. They trusted God to take care of their family. They mentioned it on numerous shows. But lately God was not in the mix. He was notably absent from the conversations. When the couple went to Hawaii to renew their vows, Jon was asked what he liked best about Kate's vows, and he said it was the Scriptures she quoted, to which she answered, "I didn't quote any Scripture." That very awkward moment said so much to me about their relationship with each other and with God. It was like they weren't listening to each other or to the Lord, and it gave me a very uneasy feeling. It all seemed to go downhill from there.

So, where does a couple in this situation go from here? Do we stop praying for Jon and Kate because it's over and there's no turning back? Absolutely not! My prayer is that both Jon and Kate will turn to the Lord and seek His wisdom for their marriage and their family. Money is not the answer. Fame is not the answer. If they really care about their family and their children, they will look to the One who has all the answers, the One who created marriage and family, and they will listen to Him. Jon and Kate, it's not too late.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, June 22, 2009...

Outside my window...hazy sunshine. I almost thought it might be getting ready to rain, but I don't think it will just yet. It would be nice, though. It has been oppressively hot and humid, and a bit of rain might help cool us off a bit. The grass and trees would appreciate it, too.

I am thinking...about all the things I need to get done today. I'm a bit of a schedule freak. I don't always write everything down, but I'll have my list going in my head and I mentally check off everything that gets done. Today's list is pretty long.

I am thankful...for my Heavenly Father, for His love, His mercy, His grace. He's the One I think of on Father's Day.

From the learning rooms...we'll be studying the country of Nicaragua this week. It's where my husband was born, so I think it's important for my son to know a little something about his heritage.

From the kitchen...chicken parmegiana and spaghetti. I was supposed to make this last week but after the hospital run and how exhausted I was I moved it to this week's menu.

I am wearing...okay, I haven't changed out of sleeping attire yet. Shame on me. I'll do that right after this post.

I am creating...nothing right now.

I am reading...Isaiah for morning devotions, Luke for SOAP devotions, finished Who Put the Skunk in the Trunk so I need to find some new reading material for myself. Reading "Ribsy" by Beverly Cleary with my son for his reading time. It's an old classic, the kind of books I read in elementary school. Books with family values that are funny and wholesome. They don't write stuff like that anymore (Oh no, I'm starting to sound like my mother!!!).

I am hearing...Cartoon Network. E is patiently awaiting his breakfast. Such a sweet boy.

Around the house...finish laundry. Clean kitchen and living room. Tidy up rest of the house.

One of my favorite things...is a good night sleep. Especially when I'm sick. It restores me.

A few plans for the rest of the week: the theater is showing The Tale of Desperaux and Kung Fu Panda for free this week. I hate mice, but I think I'll try to see the mouse movie because my son hasn't seen it yet. Library on Thursday. I'm hoping my friend gets out of the hospital this week, or that I feel well enough to go visit her. So long as I have this cold I can't risk getting her sicker than she already is. I'm going to try and find a waterpark close to home that's not too expensive so we can have some outdoor fun also.

Here's a prayer request I'm sharing...please lift up my friend Naomy in prayer, that she may continue to heal from pneumonia and be back home soon. We miss her terribly, and she hates to be locked up in a hospital room.

Wanna join in the fun? Peggy is on vacation, but you can visit Grandmother Wren and leave your link there. God bless and have a wonderful week.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Today's Happenings

I dropped my daughter off at her roommates house a little while ago. She and JB are driving back up to school for their last week and will be back home next week. I think that's why I'm not as sad as other times that I've dropped her off. I know that, Lord willing, she'll be back soon, and then she's home for 2 whole months. Can't wait to have my family back together again.

Unfortunately the past couple of days have not been the best for me. Apparently I caught some kind of virus while at the hospital on Thursday. I felt tired, and figured it was because I hadn't gotten much sleep. Friday my throat was a bit scratchy which I attributed to VBS and talking over 30+ 9 year olds everyday. But yesterday I awoke with not just a sore throat, but also a cough, which meant I couldn't visit my friend at the hospital. I did call her, though. She's still hospitalized but at least she was able to talk on the phone, which she couldn't do before because any amount of effort was painful. She was so happy to get my call, and I did what I could to make her laugh and encourage her. Later on that night I was running a low grade fever, so I took some Tylenol, cough syrup and Benadryl (since now my nose was stuffy too), and went to bed. The rest helped me alot, and I was able to go to church despite the fact that I was still coughing. (I'm glad I'm not on the worship team; I sounded like I'd swallowed a frog. Thankfully, to my Heavenly Father I sound great no matter what). I had a bit of fever again a couple of hours ago but the Tylenol takes care of it. I'm just glad I don't have to worry about going to a job. I used to go to work even when I was sick, because I had a responsibility and had to get my work done. Now, I still have responsibilities and work to get done, but I can also take it easy so I can rest and recover from this cold. Speaking of which, I think I'll take my medicine now and get some rest.

I hope everyone had a lovely Father's Day. My hubby was happy because his baby girl came for the weekend. His stiff neck is much better, praise God. We didn't do anything over the top; his brother and a couple friends came over and they played pool in the garage until the heat became too overbearing (it's been in the 90's with lots of humidity). Most important, we were able to spend the morning with our Heavenly Father, thanking Him for all His goodness. Despite feeling under the weather, it's been a great weekend.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Observing My Senses

For Today, June 20, 2009...

I am seeing...bright hazy sunshine, and a bird atop my neighbor's roof.

I am feeling...happy because my daughter is home, but sad because one of my dearest friends is in the hospital. She has an auto-immune disease that compromises her ability to fight viruses, so a cold she caught 10 days ago has developed into pneumonia. Would you please lift her up in prayer? Her name is Naomy.

I am tasting...ice cold lemonade. It's pretty hot here in South Florida, and lemonade is refreshing.

I am hearing...the Disney channel. And the ice maker in the kitchen dropping ice.

I am smelling...Lysol spray from one of those automatic dispensers. Keeps the house smelling nice instead of like yesterday's dinner.

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

Friday, June 19, 2009

An Early Father's Day Surprise

Today was our last day at VBS. As tired as I am from all the running around each day, I know I'm going to miss it. We finally had 59 children accept Christ as their Savior, including children from His House, a local shelter that provides a safe haven for children who are abused, neglected, and need a place to live until they are placed in a foster or permanent home. God was glorified as these children learned to follow Him, worship Him, and live through Him. It was an awesome experience and I'm thankful the Lord allowed me to live it.

After a pizza lunch with the leaders, teachers and helpers, E and I came home, tired but joyous. My son R was in his room. As I walked over to say hi, he looked up at me very seriously and said, "Something happened in A's room." Uh-oh, I thought. "What happened?" I quickly asked. "Take a look," he said. I slowly opened my daughter's bedroom door, and what should I find but my little girl who came down from school to surprise her daddy for Father's Day! Mom was surprised, too. She had told me earlier in the week that they were coming down but the plans had gotten cancelled. Once the trip was a go again she decided it was best to surprise us all. And what a happy surprise it is!! She was in her room when Daddy came home for lunch, so I told him E had a Father's day surprise for him and covered his eyes. Daddy thought E had made something at VBS for him. Instead, when we told him he could open his eyes, he broke out into a big ole smile when he saw his little girl standing in front of him! He was even happier when we told him the reason she came home was for him. Proud Daddy will need to get some buttons sewed back on his shirt!

What a week full of blessings this has been - first with VBS and now a weekend with my baby girl. God is good, all of the time!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm exhausted

Ever have one of those days? Or weeks? I hope I can recover from this one.

It started out good, with Vacation Bible School keeping our mornings busy with activities, learning, and most important, worship. Monday I used my brains and prepared pepper steak in the crock pot, so all I had to do was make white rice when I got home. I did laundry, tidied up the house, and seemed to be getting everything done that needed getting done. My hubby wasn't having such a good day, though. He complained about a headache Sunday night, and Monday he wasn't feeling better. His neck was stiff, so I told him it was probably a pulled muscle that needed some heat and ibuprofen. All in all a busy but productive day.

Tuesday, VBS again, only this time I didn't put anything in the crock pot. I made kielbasa sausage and rice with veggies, which is pretty quick, but I wasn't prepared for how tuckered out I'd be. I had laundry to do also, and ironing. I didn't get the bathrooms done because I was just too tired. Hubby was still complaining of a headache. Based on his description I thought it was a tension headache. He insisted it was a migraine. I suffer from migraines, and I was pretty sure what he was experiencing wasn't a migraine. More ibuprofen, and heating pads allowed him to get some sleep.

Yesterday started out the same. VBS was awesome, with 57 children confessing Jesus as their Lord and Savior. My group is the 9 year olds, and about half of them prayed to receive Jesus. Parents were in tears when they found out their young blessings had chosen to follow Jesus. What an amazing experience! When I got home, I made ground beef, rice, tried some frozen french fries my husband's company is considering selling (hopefully they won't; they're awful!), and continued with laundry. Hubby asked me to make him an appointment with the doctor. The headache was just not going away. I called and got the answering service, so I left a message. I also went on the internet looking up his symptoms, and again told him it appeared to be a tension headache. He wasn't so sure, but I told him I'd get the appointment as soon as the office called back. Instead, at 10:30pm we were on our way to the hospital. He couldn't turn his neck because it hurt so bad, his head felt like it would explode, and the pain was now affecting his back. As we drove up to the emergency room, I noticed the parking lot was WAY more packed than we've ever seen it. Great, I thought, we're in for a long night. As we sat in the waiting room I said to my hubby, "Let's see how accurate my physician's skills are. The doctor will tell you it's a tension headache and prescribe a muscle relaxant and pain killers. You'll probably have a CT scan before we leave." His answer: "Let's see how accurate my timing is. We'll get out of here at 4:30 in the morning." We were 2 for 2. After an examination which included a CT scan, it was determined that my husband had a tension headache. He was given the medications I'd told him they'd give him. And we left the hospital at 4:24am. Thankfully the hospital is close to home; I was in bed by 4:40am. Unfortunately, I was awake at 7:00am. I got up and got ready for VBS, went to the pharmacy first to pick up hubby's meds, then after a "nutritious" breakfast of glazed donuts (no time to prepare anything), E and I left for VBS. Another great day with the children, but by the time we left I just wanted to crash. However, I stopped at Costco for gas ($2.62 a gallon; what's that all about?!) then at KFC because I was just too tired to cook. After our meal I finally laid down to rest for about a half hour before running to the library to drop off the books we read this week and get some new ones. I wanted to get a quick nap again before heading out to my hubby's cousin's house for her daughter's third birthday but I can't seem to get to sleep. I sure hope I can get a good night's sleep tonight. Tomorrow is the last day of VBS, which has been wonderful, but I could use some rest! I'm thankful to the Lord, though, that despite all the problems that popped up I was still able to enjoy being with the children this week and seeing God move in their young lives. It's totally worth all the effort put into it, to see children dedicate their lives to the Lord.

"But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 19:14

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Yet Another Quote

"The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant - and let the air out of their tires."
- Dorothy Parker

Monday, June 15, 2009

Another Great Quote

On a bulletin board in the Mayo Clinic:
Cancer is limited.
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot invade the soul.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the Spirit.
It cannot lessen the power of the resurrection.

The First Day of VBS...

...was AWESOME!!! We got to a bit of a late start because of so many last minute sign-ins, but the kids still got to enjoy all the activities and finish in time.

I was so thankful to be put in charge of the 9 year olds, because that meant I could be with my son E. Our schedule is perfect too: after morning worship, we go to Recreation Rock, which is game central. That's what 9 year olds need first - to burn off some steam! Then it's off to snacks at 10:40am. Once they've filled their little tummies, it's off to our Bible class. The teachers did an excellent job of explaining how we make choices in our lives, just as Peter and the apostles made the choice to leave everything to follow Jesus. The last station is Arts and Crafts. This too is fun time; today the kids decorated boomerangs with stickers and markers. These kids are so creative! All the boomerangs were unique, and each was beautiful. Last we go back for worship and prayer before being dismissed. The three hours were up so quickly! It's true what they say: Time flies when you're having fun.

What really impressed me about my group was how well behaved they were! They stayed in the group, were obedient, listened to the lessons and were a joy to work with. I was especially surprised because I had more boys than girls, and 9 year old boys can get rowdy if they're bored. But they all enjoyed the activities and had a great time. I loved how they listened to the Bible lesson, and even one boy who seemed to not be paying attention was able to answer a review question at the end of the lesson. They really are listening! I pray they not only listen, but absorb what they learn so that it stays with them all their lives. I just know God is going to do some amazing transformations in these children this week. I'm ready for tomorrow!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, June 14, 2009...

Outside my window...it looks dark and ominous. It's pretty obvious this morning's sunshine is about to give way to rain.

I am thinking...about the fact that it's actually Friday evening, not Monday morning, but I probably won't have time to do my daybook in the morning so I opted to do it now. I didn't want to not do it altogether.

I am thankful for...VBS at a local church, the excitement my son has of going, and being asked to help with the children. Any time I can serve for the glory of my King is something to be thankful for.

From the learning rooms...still studying Australia, and doing lots of reading. That's where E has the most trouble, but we're practicing as much as we can.

From the kitchen...chicken nuggets and crinkle fries in the toaster oven. Sunday's I rest from cooking.

I am wearing...my black Calvary Fellowship t-shirt, blue jeans and (for now) flip flops. I'll be changing into a pair of red ballet flats soon.

I am creating...posters for VBS (pic below).

I am reading...Isaiah for morning devotions, Luke for SOAP devotions, and finishing up Who Put The Skunk in the Trunk.

I am hearing...thunder in the distance, getting closer by the minute.

Around the house...I'll be doing laundry tomorrow. I've kept up with the cleaning pretty well.

One of my favorite things...is teaching children. They're little sponges, and this is the best time to instill in them good foundational teachings. We may not have another chance.

A few plans for the rest of the week: I'm off in a bit to the church to help set up for VBS, which runs all week. It'll keep us busy from 9:00am to 12:00 noon. After that, regular fun stuff like reading, going to the park, pool, etc.

Here's a picture thought I'm sharing...the posters for VBS. The topic is Boomerang Express, all about Australia.

I'll be the first to tell you, I'm not a very creative person. But I think these turned out pretty nice. Can't wait to see what God has in store for the children this week!

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

Great Quote

"I find television very educational. When it's on I go into the next room and read a book."
-Groucho Marx

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Observing My Senses

For Today, June 13, 2009...

I am seeing...Steel Magnolias. One of the all-time classic women's movies.

I am feeling...a little sad because my oldest son and my best friend are sick. R has the flu and LN has bronquitis. Praying for quick healing for them both.

I am tasting...ham steak with pineapple. Yumm!!

I am hearing...one of the most endearing movies. Sally Fields just found out Julia Roberts is pregnant and is scared for her daughter's health. But Julia Roberts tells her, "I want a child of my own." Oh, the beauty of true life portrayed.

I am smelling...rice and peas. Which go great with ham.

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

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Honest Scrap Award

I'm honored to have received this coveted Honest Scrap award from Kristilea over at In The Lord's Path. The idea is to learn things about our fellow bloggers that we might not know, and also admit things about ourselves (in all honesty, of course) that we don't admit on a daily basis. So here is my list of 10 honest things about me that you may not know just from reading my blog:

1. I never went to college.

2. I was born in the Bronx, in New York City, to Puerto Rican parents. I lived there for 22 years and have lived in Florida for 23. I think that makes me more Southerner than Northerner, but most Southerners would disagree ;-) .

3. My childen say I'm OCD about cleanliness. I just like to have everything clean and organized. Is that too much to ask?!

4. If I could do it again, I'd have another child shortly after my youngest son was born. He was my third c-section and I didn't want to go through that again, so I had my tubes tied. I figured he had 2 older siblings so he would be spoiled rotten and happy. What I didn't take into account was that, with a sister 10 years older and a brother 13 years older, they'd outgrow childhood while he would still be little. Now that he's 9, his sister is 19 and his brother is 22, I can see how he would benefit from a younger sibling to play with.

5. I don't have alot of friends. I'm an introvert, and making friends is hard for me. However, the friends I do have are worth their weight in gold, so I don't feel cheated.

6. I am deathly afraid of mice. Even seeing a picture of one sends chills up and down my spine (not good ones either). I haven't been able to watch Ratatouille for this reason.

7. My hair used to be jet black. Then white "highlights" started to grow in. Now I dye my hair auburn.

8. While I love having a clean house, I hate having to clean bathrooms. Yuck!

9. I accepted Christ 6 years ago. I made many many mistakes in my life previous to that. Many of the things I write about are things God has been revealing to me for the past few years. I understand now how the Holy Spirit can do a complete transformation in a person. He's surely done that in my case, though I can tell you He's not finished with me yet.

10. Of all the careers I could have opted for, I'm glad I chose motherhood.

I now have the privilege of passing this award to:

Thanks again Kristilea. That was lots of fun!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Beauty of Marriage

My friend LN was showing me a magazine she found yesterday called More. It's for women who are 40+, passed the 20's and 30's but not yet in the "elderly" category. One of the first articles mentioned on the cover was "Sex after 40". I wasn't surprised to see that, of course. Our society is obsessed with sex, before AND after 40. What I was shocked to see was what some people had to say about Michelle Duggar.

It seems there is an overall agreement in the blogworld that Michelle Duggar should stop having sex so frequently. (Actually, the comments made were much more vulgar and I refuse to repeat them because they are offensive, not only to Mrs. Duggar, but to married women in general). When we consider the amount of sex in the media, in movies and television, reading material, and everywhere we turn, I actually laughed out loud when I read comments that Mrs. Duggar needs to have control. Only it wasn't all that funny.

The pretense is not about sex in itself. The issue, according to most, is the fact that she is not having "responsible" sex. What does our culture refer to when speaking of "responsible" sex? Is it the same thing God calls responsible? Hebrews 13:4 says, "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." Marriage, according to the Bible, is a sacred union: "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." - Genesis 2:24. Our culture, however, views "responsible" sex as simply this: avoidance of pregnancy and disease. It doesn't matter who your partner is; it doesn't matter if you're married to that person or not; it doesn't matter if you have multiple partners, at different times or simultaneously. Having "responsible" sex means using the proper "protection" and birth control so that the sexual tryst can be enjoyed without having to pay any unwanted penalties.

Has this worked? Is our society a better one because of the "safe sex" that is taught in schools and in the media? If it were true, then we'd have no unwed teenage pregnancies. There would be no need for pornography. Sexual crimes would not exist. Venereal diseases would have been wiped out long ago, and HIV would be a thing of the past. Ah, but we all know none of this is true. Quite the opposite: the more we focus on having sex just for the sake of "doing it", with no real responsibility attached, the lower our society falls morally. Values have gone out the window, and right now marriage is a 50/50 shot at best, because sex has become the only important part of intimacy. Actually the ONLY part of intimacy. There isn't a true relationship if the only thing that brought a couple together was sex. Hense the amount of divorces due to "irreconcilable differences". Couples who simply "grew apart." The only thing that drew them together was sex, and once it fizzles the slightest bit, there's nothing else of substance there, and the marriage has nowhere to go but down.

What does work then? God's way? Most people would shudder, wondering what God has to do with that aspect of our lives. In reality, God created sex, and created it to be enjoyable. He wants His children to enjoy safe and responsible sex, and gives us the guidelines for it:

"Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does." - 1 Corinthians 7:2-4

"In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself." - Ephesians 5:28

"Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them." - Colossians 3:19

"Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach." - 1 Timothy 3:2

"The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed." - Titus 2:3-5

The basis for a good marriage doesn't start with sex; it starts with love. That doesn't seem so difficult, does it? God calls men to have one wife and women to have one husband. Husbands are to love their wives as themselves, and wives are to love, respect and honor their husbands. Most important, each is to render affection to each other, knowing they belong to each other. There are many more verses in the Bible that teach us to be pure before marriage; to honor and be faithful and true to one spouse; to love that spouse and enjoy an intimate relationship with him/her. God meant for intimacy to be an integral part of the marriage relationship, not a body function. Instead of chastizing Mrs. Duggar, I say we celebrate the example of love and commitment she has for her husband and he for his wife, and the example of love, respect, faithfulness and integrity they are teaching their children. I guarantee, if we teach our children these lessons by example instead of letting the public school systems teach them "safe sex" procedures, we'll see much less of the issues plaguing America today. We'll see family values flourish again. And we'll have healthier family units because of it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Entertainment on a budget

There are 2 phrases I can expect regularly from my 9 year old son: "I'm hungry", and "I'm bored". The first I've had to control, because the boy can eat his weight in junk food if I let him. I've been looking for healthier alternatives that he actually likes, and I'm working on spacing his snacks so he isn't set to "constant chew". So far it's been working well.

The other phrase is tougher. E likes to be entertained all the time. He's not the type that likes to play by himself. He wants lots of interaction and new things to do. This can be challenging, especially when working on a budget.

I looked into some of the recreation in our area, and all I can say is, "EXPENSIVE!!" I thought Central Florida was expensive because of all the theme parks, but it's much worse here. At least Disney World offers Florida resident discounts, and parks large enough to keep you busy the entire day. I checked out the Miami Seaquarium, and it costs close to $40 per person for a park that is not only pretty far from my house but all the attractions can be seen in less than 6 hours. Too much $ for my blood. There's other attractions but again, far from home and too expensive to make the trip worthwhile. So, I've had to look around for alternatives. And I've found that if you look hard enough, there are treasures waiting to be discovered.

We have a park across the street from our house that we go to regularly. It's got 2 soccer fields, plus a kiddie park with swings and such. We can run around the park for exercise, play at the kiddie area or fly E's kite. While there the other day, a neighbor mentioned that our local Cobb movie theater was having Free Kid's Summer Movies on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. They're old movies, some have even been on TV already, but just to be able to get out of the house for awhile and catch a movie is fun, especially for my son. So this morning we went bright and early and watched "Barnyard", a fun Nickelodeon movie with lots of laughs and family values woven in. Daddy gave E money to buy soda and candy, but next time I'll bring a snack from home if he wants it. One box of candy and a medium soda shouldn't cost $8.25. Still, we had a nice time, and afterwards we went to our favorite pizza place, Little Caesars, for $5.00 large pepperoni pizza. Not many good deals like that anymore!

Another thing I found was library activities. Yes, the library has books, and even reading time for the little ones. But my local library has Arts and Crafts Thursdays, which we plan to take advantage of this week. While we're there we can check out some reading material (making the trip fun AND educational). A friend of mine told me some of the libraries have all kinds of events, so I'll have to check regularly at the different branches to see what's being offered. Again, the best part of this is the price: FREEEEE!!

One of my best friends has a pool in her community, and she's invited us to come over for swims. Her son and mine are best buddies, so that makes the offer even sweeter. They can have fun together, and she and I can have girl time. I can do that!

Next week my son will be attending vacation Bible camp (E likes it to be called camp instead of school. Wonder why? ;-) ). The theme for this year is Boomerang Express. It'll be all about Australia. So the thought occurred to me yesterday (came from Above, of course) that we could use this for our homeschool project. So starting today, we're gonna read all we can about Australia, the country/continent, the people, animals, food, etc. I think this will be so interesting, plus it'll give E an advantage next week because he'll have studied much of what will be learned in VBS. I'm really excited about this. I'm probably gonna learn as much as E is about this beautiful land down under.

I'm learning a very important lesson here: the best things in life ARE free. My son isn't upset that we're going to places that cost little to no money. He's just thrilled that we're doing stuff together, "mom and son time" as he calls it. So many parents work extra hours to save for that special vacation. I'm realizing that to kids, a really expensive week traveling somewhere isn't nearly as fun as spending time daily with family. We need to think like children think, then get our priorities straight. Our children won't remember the amount of hours we spent at our jobs. They will remember the amount of time we dedicated to them.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, June 8, 2009...

Outside my window...the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the leaves are barely moving. It's gonna be another day like all the days these past few weeks: lovely morning, rainy (and possibly stormy) afternoon. It gives us the opportunity to thank God for the sun AND the rain.

I am thinking...about yesterday's lesson in children's ministry. David and Goliath. One of my favorite stories to teach. My team did such an amazing job. We are like a well oiled machine!

I am thankful...that the migraine headache that started yesterday didn't blow up into a paralyzing headache like it has before. Migraines are terrible.

From the learning rooms...homeschooling starts today. Multiplication table review, and spelling. The software I purchased at Costco turns learning into games, so my son should enjoy it.

From the kitchen...the pot roast is already in the crockpot. Soon the whole house will smell delicious!

I am wearing...olive green t-shirt and capris, and flip flops.

I am creating...a home management binder, little by little. I'm too much of a perfectionist to have it done in a snap.

I am reading...Ecclesiastes for morning devotions, Luke for SOAP devotions, and a great book by Phil Callaway, "Who Put the Skunk in the Trunk?" It's filled with stories of people who learned to laugh even when life stinks. It's very encouraging. If you're going thru a rough period, I recommend this book.

I am hearing...morning cartoons as my son eats his breakfast.

Around the house...laundry, kitchen needs a good cleaning.

One of my favorite things...is my morning cup of coffee. I'm not a heavy coffee drinker; all I have is one cup a day, two if I'm feeling daring. But that one cup, oh how I enjoy it!

A few plans for the rest of the week: our local movie theater has free kid's matinees on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, so we hope to take advantage of that. They're old movies (Barnyard and Open Season), but hey, they're FREEE. We're hoping the community pool where my friend lives is done with maintenance this week so we can go have fun there. Thursdays is Arts & Crafts at our local library, which we also hope to go to. I'm looking for fun, educational, and economical stuff to do this summer. I think we're starting off pretty well.

Here's a prayer request I'm sharing...please pray for Rose, a dear lady at the church I visit Wednesday nights. She's having cataract surgery next week. She's a very independent woman and the cataracts have impeded her going out because she can't see to drive. We're praying the surgery will be successful and she can go back to her normal routine soon.

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

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Observing My Senses

For Today, June 6, 2009...

I am seeing...a pretty neat and tidy home. Just the way I like it.

I am feeling...full after a breakfast of pancakes and sausages. Mmm.

I am tasting...lemonade. It cools the thirst better than soda and has zero caffeine.

I am hearing...the hum of the ceiling fan, the dishwasher cleaning a load of dishes, and my son laughing at Saturday morning cartoons.

I am smelling...the aroma of sausages and syrup still in the air.

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

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Another Season Ends

Today was the last day of school. For my son, that means the last day of third grade. It was a rough year for him. Third grade is the first year kids take the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test). In the state of Florida, if a third grader fails the reading portion of the FCAT that third grader doesn't go to fourth grade. It puts alot of stress on the student as well as the teacher, whose lesson plan is driven by this exam and can't deviate from it. There isn't a lot of time to get all the information and prep done before it's exam time.

Half way through the school year my son's teacher called me in to tell me my son was in danger of failing the FCAT. What upset me the most was the fact that I'd already told his teachers at the beginning of the year (October, I believe) that my son was displaying signs of a learning disorder. Both his teachers felt he just needed to work harder, study more, read more. Try as he may, my son was struggling, and suddenly it looked like he may have to repeat the third grade. But God had orchestrated my circumstances so that I would be available to handle this situation with my son.

I'd been laid off from work in August. Though I'd looked for work for over a year, I came up empty handed and had to accept that God wanted me home, though I didn't entirely understand why at the time. Now it was apparent that, among many other reasons, my son was going to need a lot of my attention, and this was the best way for me to achieve that goal. I met with teachers, counselors, and even the vice principal, to make sure my son was getting all the help available to him at the school. In addition, I was working with him at home on the different skills needed to pass the exam. We prayed for wisdom, guidance, and help for E to do his very best despite the problems he was having. While I haven't been able to get him tested as of yet, he displays many symptoms of dyslexia. I had to go on the Internet, learn as much as I could about this learning disorder, and work around it to help my son with his schoolwork.

In the end, E passed the FCAT. His report indicates he's reading slightly under his grade level, but I'm hoping this summer we can continue working on his reading comprehension skills so he can learn to understand and retain what he reads. Not surprisingly, his math skills are considerably above grade level, which is typical with dyslexic children. Still, we'll be doing math, reading, science and geography during the summer, finding fun ways to learn and continuing to find ways to work with his learning disorder instead of against it.

The lesson this has taught me? "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6). When God showed me He wanted me to stay home, I couldn't see how that would be possible. I didn't know what I'd do with myself. I'd worked for over 20 years, and the change would be drastic. But now, as I look back on the last 10 months, I realize God knew what I didn't know. He knew my son was going to need me, and I had to be available for him. God made that possible. And He continues to make it possible for me to tutor and school my son so that he can be ready to enter the next season of his young life: fourth grade.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Homemade Meatballs

I made meatballs for dinner yesterday. From scratch. My hubby hates the packaged kind, and to be honest, I'm not too fond of them myself. I make these about once a month and my family devours them. I was asked for the recipe, so here it goes:

2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teasoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 heaping tablespoons sofrito, made from garlic, green peppers, onion and cilantro
Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine all ingredients, but don't overmix. Shape meat mixture into 25-30 meatballs and space equally onto a nonstick baking sheet. Place meatballs in oven and roast for about 20 minutes. Add to your favorite sauce.

In case you're wondering, I make my own marinara sauce also. Once again, not very fond of the jar stuff. It's so easy to make your own sauce, once you do you never go back:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add oil and garlic. When garlic starts sizzling, add herbs and crushed red pepper. Allow oil to infuse for half a minute, then stir in the tomatoes and season sauce with salt and pepper. Bring to a bubble, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Go ahead and try these recipes if you like. Then let me know what you think!

Summer Bash 2009

This year our church had a summer bash, an outreach that included an all-you-can-eat barbecue picnic and a concert by our worship team. Despite the fact that we've had very rainy and stormy weather the past few weeks, this past Sunday God showed up and did some incredible things with the weather and with our hearts.

I took a picture of E when we got there. 10:30 AM it was really sunny, hot and humid, but we were ready to have a good time. This park has lots of lakes and is very green. It also has an amphitheater which is where we had our service and concert.

The first thing my son asked was if he could run. "Buddy," I said, "If you've got energy to burn, go have a blast." And he did. Up and down the hills in the park. For Floridians hills are a big deal, since Florida is flat, so he really enjoyed that.

He also took a picture of Mommy by one of the lakes. I thought he did pretty good.

This is our pastor, Bob. He talked about happiness. We all know about life, liberty, and the pursuit. Our culture says it's our right to be happy, and we should go after it. But happiness isn't something we can "go after". Happiness is a byproduct of seeking God. Jesus taught us something totally different from what our culture teaches us. He said that when we seek the opposite of happiness, that's when we experience it. Just look at Matthew 5:1-6, what is commonly known as the Beatitudes. Jesus said the kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor in spirit, those who recognize their need for God. He said that those who are meek will inherit the earth. Most people think meekness and weakness are synonymous, but the opposite is true. Meekness is power under restraint. It's waiting on God's timing and not forcing things to go our way because we only think about ourselves. It's about putting others' needs first. Then Jesus said that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness would be filled. We have to desire what's best to experience true happiness. That might not always be what other people consider best for us. But we don't need to please others to experience happiness; we need to please God.

Afterwards, our worship team took over. Amazingly, it didn't rain during Pastor Bob's message. When he was done, everyone got on line for food, and that's when the rain started. Only it wasn't the downpour we'd gotten everyday for the past two weeks. It was a fairly light rain that lasted about 25-30 minutes, then became a very light drizzle, then disappeared in time for the concert. The best part was, the rain cooled everything down. It was extremely hot and humid during the morning. Once it rained, the clouds stayed to cover and protect, and we had a comfortable breeze. It's funny how everyone was so concerned about it raining, yet God knew it was just what we needed to enjoy the rest of the afternoon in worship.

This is Pastor Mark. Not only is he our worship leader, he's also the youth pastor. What a heart for young people! Pastor Mark has been such a positive influence on my daughter. She regularly seeks his advise because she knows he'll tell her like it is, with her best interests at heart. I'm eternally grateful for God placing Pastor Mark in our lives. He just recorded his first CD, so don't be surprised if you see him again real soon!

Of course, this was the kid's favorite part. Two bounce houses, a giant slide, and a rock climbing wall. The Summer Bash attracted over 700 people, and we just pray that many hearts were changed by the message of hope and true happiness that we can have by accepting Jesus as Lord of our lives. I can't wait till we do it again next year!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, June 1, 2009...

Outside my window...partially sunny morning, probably more rain in the afternoon as has been the norm for the past few weeks. The precipitation has been much appreciated.

I am thinking...of the outstanding time we had at the Summer Bash yesterday, and about how faithful God was in giving us good weather. The day started out scorchingly sunny, then we got some light rain which managed to cool the day down so that we could enjoy it more.

I am thankful for...our wonderful church and the dedication of all the volunteers who helped make the Summer Bash possible and enjoyable for all who attended. There was worship, a fabulous message on true happiness, and fellowship with many loving people.

From the learning rooms...it's the last week of school for E. I'll be preparing for summer home learning this week. We'll start with spelling, one of his trouble subjects.

From the kitchen...bourbon chicken and chinese style rice. I say chinese "style" because I don't know how to make the authentic Chinese restaurant rice. I make it my way, which is what my family enjoys.

I am wearing...a white button down blouse over a sky blue tank top, sky blue capris and flip flops.

I am creating...a list of fun things to do this summer. I would love, love, love to go to Disney World but the budget calls for something a little more economical.

I am reading...Proverbs for morning devotions and Luke for SOAP devotions.

I am hearing...my son's car as he pulls out of the driveway. He's off to wish his best friend a happy birthday.

Around the house...floors need to be mopped, kitchen needs to be cleaned and laundry needs to get washed. A usual, all around busy day.

One of my favorite things...is watching movies with the family. Yesterday my son and I watched the first Inspector Gadget movie, then my hubby joined us to watch Bolt. We laughed a lot.

A few plans for the rest of the week: It's a short school week for E, so we'll be having fun! Hopefully the rain will calm down enough so we can do stuff outside.

Here's a picture thought I'm sharing...E at the park yesterday for Summer Bash.

Isn't my son a cutie? He was standing at this small lake, watching nature (as he put it).

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