Monday, August 31, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, August 31, 2009...

Outside my window...the sun is still blazing. It's supposed to cool down sometime this week but then the temps should hit the 90's again. So far today, not a breeze in sight.

I am thinking...about the backache I woke up with. Why is it we get a good night's sleep and still wake up with aches and pains? Is this what old age is all about? Ugh! I wanna be a teenager again! (Not really).

I am thankful...for the team I serve with in children's ministry. We had a great time yesterday, and we're getting to know each other really well.

From the learning rooms...I'll be returning books tomorrow to the library, then we'll be tackling some books we already have at home. E enjoyed his first week of school and likes his teacher. I'm hopeful this will be a more productive year.

From the kitchen...tilapia. I didn't get to make it last week.

I am olive green v-neck t-shirt, khaki capris and flip-flops.

I am son gets financial aid for a technical school he wants to enroll in. University classes are expensive, and technical school is done faster. At 22 years old, he wants to move forward.

I am do what I can to help my son finish his education.

I am creating...a nicer looking dining room today. That's the plan, anyway.

I am reading...Matthew for morning devotions, Luke for SOAP devotions (starting chapter 20), and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Found it in my daughter's room. Decided there was no reason to let it go to waste.

I am hearing...the whir of the ceiling fan. It's a pretty quiet morning now that the youngest is at school, hubby is at work, and my oldest in working on another computer.

Around the's the dining room's turn today. Plus more laundry. That seems never ending.

One of my favorite the holiday season, and it's coming up fast!

Here's a prayer request I'm sharing...pray that our government officials will listen to the people and think twice, three times, twenty times about this health care reform issue. Reform should be better for the nation; so far everything they've discussed is worse. Why would we want to adopt the health care other countries have, when they wish they had what we have?

Here's a picture thought I'm sharing...Daddy and E washing the car.

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

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My First Anniversary

Today marks the one year anniversary of my being unemployed. One year ago today I said goodbye to a great group of people and a job I'd had for 11 1/2 years. It seemed a bit surreal at the time. I'd been at the company for so long; I'd been in the same office since I'd returned from maternity leave 8 years before. Part of me was sad, because I had some great memories of the company and my coworkers. Still another part of me rejoiced, because I'd finally realized and accepted that God had orchestrated this change, and He would see me through this new season of my life.

It's been a time of adjustment, of learning, of accepting and of growing. I laugh when I think of myself as "unemployed"; I'm busier than I've ever been. My brother-in-law asked me the other day if I get bored being home all day. People don't have a clue what it takes to run a household. There is always something to do, and even when I plan everything out there's always something that comes up to throw a wrench into the woodwork. I've learned to appreciate all the work my mom did when she raised the four of us kids, because now I'm the one doing all the work. I learned to appreciate all the work my husband does because he's got to pay the bills on his own. I learned to appreciate the home I have, the luxuries we enjoy (because satellite tv is an unnecessary luxury), the comfort we get to experience. I learned that managing money is a huge responsibility, and spending it wisely helps me sleep more soundly. I've come to accept that just because I don't earn a salary doesn't mean I don't work; my job is to make my home a refuge for my family, a place they come to because they love to be here, not just because it's where the bed is. Rather than feel useless because I don't have a job outside my home, I've come to love being a homemaker, wife, and mom more than I did before.

Every season of our lives is different, and each one is a learning experience. We can either choose to live it, learn from it and love it; or we can moan and groan, complain constantly and gripe about our circumstances. God has taught me that I'm where He wants me to be, and because of that I can rejoice in His love.

Observing My Senses

For Today, August 29, 2009...

I am seeing...the boy's room all cleaned up. Everything in its place. It looks amazing!

I am feeling...better today. I sprained my thumb on my right hand (and I'm a righty), making it very painful even to write. The pain is subsiding, thank the Lord, though I still can't pick up anything heavy.

I am tasting...pancakes and sausages. Aunt Jemima pancakes, not the frozen kind, the ones you have to add eggs and milk and such. They're my son's favorites.

I am hearing...Phineas and Ferb. E can watch the same episodes 20 times and still laugh.

I am smelling...citrus scented Pledge furniture polish. I used it in the boy's room and it still smells citrusy.

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

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Week in Review

It's been a week of getting back into the swing of things. Fall does that, doesn't it? Summer is about relaxing, vacationing, enjoying time off. Fall is about running back to our routines. I don't mind, though. I'm a schedule lovin' girl.

Monday was the first day of school. I met my son's homeroom teacher, and had the feeling she's Brazilian. I was right! My son likes her very much, which is great. The first day is always exciting and a bit nerve-wracking, but he got through with flying colors. My daughter had her first day on Monday too, though a few of her classes are online. I see that as the future, quite frankly. Mark my words, within the next 15-20 years we'll have less people in school and more doing schoolwork online from home. In 50 years we'll be hermits!

My other project has been home decluttering, redecorating, pretty much overhauling. I take advantage of the fact that I'm alone most of the day and I get to some intense cleaning, purging, and fixing up, till my house looks like something out of House Beautiful magazine. Monday was the master bedroom, which I shared on this post. I've managed to keep it up, too, I'm happy to say.

Tuesday were bathrooms. Of course, we remodeled the bathrooms back in February, so they look new for the most part, but I did give both a major cleaning. One thing I did add to the guest bathroom was this plaque:

I found it at Kohl's for only $4.99! It matches the tile perfectly, and it's a quote from 1 Corinthians 13. Such a great find!

Wednesday and Thursday was the boy's room. Yes, a 12X11 room that took 2 days to organize. This is the best time to do it, though, when E is in school. He has too much of an attachment to stuff. Toys that are never touch suddenly become his "favorite" the minute I say we need to get rid of it. He'll play with it for a day, and put it back in the toy box to be forgotten till the next time I tell him it's time to say goodbye. When he's at school, there's no longer a problem. What E doesn't know won't hurt him.

This is the boy's closet as I was getting started. We had the closet organizer put in a few years ago, but like everything else, if you put too much into it there's no organization. I'd emptied out the shelf with all of E's stuffed animals when I realized I hadn't taken a picture, which is why that one section is empty. The picture doesn't even begin to show the mess: there were toys and stuff all over, falling onto the floor constantly because there was no space for it. I began taking everything out, putting it in piles (keep, donate, trash), cleaning each shelf, and putting things back in order. This is the final result:

Neatness and order! It took me all morning on Wednesday to get this done. I even got lunch late because I was so focused on the task at hand I didn't realize what time it was. I stopped after that, though, because I needed to dye my hair. I color my hair for a very simple reason: I don't like the "white highlights" that began taking over after I turned 40. My natural hair color is black, but I find it too harsh for my fair skin. I like going light auburn, but then my roots show too quickly. So this time I went for dark auburn. I like the look, just have to see in a couple weeks if the roots are taking over. My hair grows like a weed, so I have to color frequently. Wednesday night was the Awana launch. Pizza party! My son was jumping off the walls he was so happy. I love it because he's fellowshipping with other kids, learning bible lessons and Scripture, and meanwhile I go to adult Bible study. There's gonna be several different classes going on this fall. I'm taking a leader's class in September. Can't wait!

Thursday I finished the boy's room. Cleaned up drawers and the shelves above the drawers and desk, dusted, organized, until the room now looks bigger and brighter. Oh, it looks so nice I never want to leave! But I will; there's still more work to be done.

Today was, as usual, grocery shopping day. That's the other nice thing about fall: the stores are emptier. I got done so quickly! Even though our local Walmart is remodeling the store and I can't find half the things I need, I was still able to get in and out of the store in about 35 minutes. That's less than what I usually spend at the check-out line! Unfortunately I couldn't find a bunch of E's school supplies, so I'll be picking him up from school and going directly to Target. After that, we'll come home and watch Tim Hawkins with a bowl of popcorn and laugh till we cry. Ahh. I love my life.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Roommates

My daughter lives on campus during the school year, because her school is 4 hours away from home. Her dorm is the newest at the university; it's actually a fully furnished, 4 bedroom 2 bath apartment, with kitchen, living and dining area. She has her own bedroom but shares the apartment with 3 other girls. Her best friend JB is one of her roommates.

Last semester they had two other girls in the apartment which caused them both plenty of grief. The two girls were freshman, 18 years old and away from home for the first time. Apparently they were all about living the college life: they'd party every night, got very drunk (where they were in the bathroom sick at 3:00am), missing classes, etc. My girls had issues with them because they'd bring liquor into the apartment which not only is not allowed, but both of these ladies were under age, making it illegal. While my daughter and JB were visiting home, one of the girls had a party at the apartment, during which one of the sofa cushions was burned. My girls had to report this incident so they wouldn't get charged for the damage. When my girls complained and told them this couldn't happen again, they got upset. They'd slam doors and have major attitudes, making life extremely uncomfortable.

Thankfully both girls were moving off campus after the summer session. Of course, this left A and JB wondering who their new roommates would be. The girls prayed that the Lord would choose roommates for them, nice girls who would keep the place clean and obey the rules. Before they came home for summer break, they met one of the girls. She's from out of state but was very nice and respectful to them, and both girls were pleased. This past weekend they moved back in and met the newest roommate. My daughter noticed she'd put up some posters on her door, one of which was a Third Day poster. The girl, K, asked my girls about their faith, and my girls told her they're Christians. Turns out, so is the new roommate! She's from a small town on Florida's gold coast. She asked about local churches because she wants to get connected right away. My girls are thrilled!

God is faithful to give when we ask. He heard the girls' plea and gave them some roommates they can feel comfortable with. My daughter told me she and K sat and talked for 2 hours. They are getting along swimmingly, and I'm praising God for putting these girls together with my girls. He loves us so much!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tackle It Tuesday

Actually, it would be more accurate to call it Tackle It Week. Since it's the first week of school and I've got the house pretty much to myself, I can get some intense cleaning done. I started Monday in my bedroom. I moved furniture, dusting and mopping behind the bed and nightstands. Rather than dressers, we have a large wall unit with shelves and drawers that was custom made. It's beautiful and has lots of storage, but it takes a good hour to get all the wood and glass cleaned and everything put back in its place. It looks nice and shiny now, though.

Today it was bathrooms. I mixed up a special cleaner I get at Lowe's that's for travertine tiles, and with a sponge mop I cleaned ALL the tiles in both bathrooms. It took an hour and a half, but those bathrooms look like something out of a magazine.

After lunch I started on my daughter's bedroom. I'm dusting like a mad woman, every little nook and cranny. The boy's room will be next, and that one's a challenge. It's a small room for two boys, so I need to purge a lot of E's things that he's too old for so there's more room. I'm moving from east to west in the house, and as I go into the common areas I'll be redecorating for autumn. That excites me, because autumn colors are my favorites. Stay tuned!

Tackle It Tuesdays is hosted by Susan at 5 Minutes For Mom.

First Day of School

Yesterday was my son's first day of fourth grade. He didn't sleep very well the night before. Mostly he was nervous because he didn't know if any of his friends would be in his class. He's still in the same school, so I told him he'd most likely know at least some of the kids, but he was still worried. Add to that a new teacher, new rules, etc, and the poor boy was up at 5:30 in the morning, claiming he heard noises. I guess his nerves were getting the better of him.

Thankfully he wasn't so nervous he couldn't eat. As we got ready to leave, I asked if he wanted me to just drop him off or would he prefer me to walk to class with him? As they get older, they become more independent and don't want Mom treating them like babies. However, he was more than happy to walk with me. This meant I had to park at the Winn-Dixie shopping center in front of the school and walk about 8 blocks. The morning was nice, though, so it was good exercise. As we got nearer he was wondering where he should go. Since he'd gotten his class assignment, and since we'd been there the Friday before to find out where the classroom was, I told him to just go to the room we'd visited. We walked over and took a peek inside. Immediately he saw one of his friends, went in, took a seat next to the boy and forgot all about me :-(. I'm not too upset, though. Just to see him happy gave me peace of mind. I met his teacher too, and she seems very nice.

In the afternoon it was pouring rain, so I had to park once again and walk over to get him inside of the school. Normally the kids are outside on the sidewalk or the grass, but on rainy days parents have to pick up the kids in their designated rainy day area. I found him happily chatting away with his buddies. He told me he'd had a good day, liked his teacher, and found plenty of friends. Hopefully this is a sign for what's to come. I'm praying he has a good school year, with plenty of learning.

Tim Hawkins' New Video

My favorite comedian has done it again. He has a "politically incorrect" new video on his website, Go down to Featured Videos and click on "The Government Can". It's hilarious and true! Enjoy!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, August 24, 2009...

Outside my's bright and cheery, a bit hazy, which means we may get some rain later today.

I am thinking...summer vacation ended too soon.

I am thankful...that Hurricane Bill is far from us and hasn't touched land, though curious onlookers have suffered because they didn't respect the storm.

From the learning's the first day of school. E is nervous, as he always is, but I'm sure he'll have a pleasant day.

From the kitchen
...chicken pot pie.

I am wearing...a teal top, blue jeans and sandals.

I am son makes friends quickly in his new class.

I am walk my son to school, because he asked me to.

I am creating...plans to do an intense cleaning in the house.

I am reading...Matthew for morning devotions, and Luke for SOAP devotions. I finished Little Women this weekend, so I need to get to the library for new books.

I am hearing...the Today show. I turned the TV on for the news (weather and such). I rarely watch TV anymore.

Around the house...I'll be focused on the master bedroom today. Oh yeah, and laundry.

One of my favorite decorating for autumn. They're my favorite colors.

Here's a prayer request I'm sharing...pray for the children going back to school within the next few weeks.

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

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Observing My Senses

For today, August 22, 2009...

I am seeing...hazy sunshine. We got a little rain during the week thanks to some week tropical depression, but it's been nice for the most part. Keeping an eye on Hurricane Bill, though it's doubtful it'll come our way. Still, it's important to be watchful and prayerful that the hurricane won't cause damage elsewhere.

I am feeling...still missing my daughter who left on Thursday for school, glad she was able to go see BarlowGirl perform in Central Florida, excited because my son starts school on Monday, thankful because he passed to fourth grade, sad because my baby is growing up so fast.

I am tasting...Pillsbury biscuits with butter and my morning coffee.

I am youngest son just getting up.

I am smelling...Clorox disinfectant spray. I sprayed the kitchen trash can before changing the trash bag, and the whole kitchen smells good.

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

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Week in Review

It's the last week before school starts, so it's been busy as far as getting ready, and deciding what needs to get done when. Organization is key.

Monday - we stayed home, did laundry and cleaned up some, but really just enjoyed being at home. We won't be all together like this for awhile, so I treasured that time in my heart.

Tuesday - was shopping day. Mostly for my daughter, as she was leaving for school again and needed some new clothes. She's lost a lot of the weight gained during freshman year, and now alot of her clothes didn't fit. She realized how different it is when you eat food from home as opposed to fast food. Sure, fast food is easy, but it isn't healthy, and it's full of fat and salt. She got pretty heavy, and since she isn't tall it piled on quickly. Thankfully, I got her on Weight Watchers, and she's lost 14 lbs. so far. She's also learned to eat healthier, and prepare food in her dorm instead of running to McD's or BK's. The shopping spree was well deserved.

Wednesday - Daddy took E to the movies to see Aliens in the Attic. I took advantage and did major cleaning plus all the laundry so my daughter would have everything ready to pack. Then we went to church at night. I thought Awana was starting this week; it starts next week. Oops! But that's okay, E got to see some Veggietales movie and I went to Bible study.

Thursday - I dropped my daughter off at her best friend's, and they drove off to school. I wasn't crying, but my heart ached for her. It was especially hard to see her friend JB getting everything packed in the car, wishing she didn't have to leave home. When teens first go off to college, it's this great adventure, but after awhile it gets old, and they miss being home. My daughter isn't totally there yet, she still enjoys school very much, but it's still hard for me. The nest is emptier with one of my chicks missing. I can't wait till Thanksgiving.

Friday - today is grocery shopping day. I need to get whatever is left from E's school list, plus packable lunches and drinks since he doesn't like the school lunch. I typically pack leftovers or sandwiches which he likes, and frozen pizzas on Fridays which is what the school provides. Small groups are done, so I think we'll have movie night at home, with popcorn and everything. Something fun for E and mommy to do.

Pretty soon we'll be back into the old routine. I've got some things planned, so I'm excited for that. I'll be posting my goings-on as they're going on. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Growth Group Week 6 - The Obedient Response

This past Friday was the last week of our study of Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer. We've enjoyed and learned so much from this study. It has been an incredible blessing for all the women in the group, myself included.

I was a little worried about this last study, because it was just one chapter, The Obedient Response. It spoke of responding right away, as Abraham did, not waiting or questioning God just because His request isn't something we'd normally do. It's about trusting in Him, because He can see how things will turn out, while we can't. It was such a short chapter, though, and I wondered how 90 minutes would be filled up. Well, once again God was in control. As we spoke about obedience, the topic turned to obedience in relationships. What does God want from wives? What is He saying to the Christian women about relationships with spouses, or spouses to be? There were many questions, but only one place to find the answers: God's Word. We went to Scripture and looked at what God had to say, and He spoke to every single one of us. Rather than worry about how to fill up the time, I was concerned how we could get so much done in so little time!

Once again, it turned into an amazing evening with God's voice clearly heard, through His Word, through other Christians, and through His Holy Spirit which we felt present the entire time. I don't think I can begin to say how sorry we were to have to leave! When God is present, you just want to cuddle up to Him and stay there. We all hugged and, while missing our Fridays together already, spoke of the next small group coming up in September. God has so much planned; what a blessing to be a part of it.

Off She Goes Again...

I dropped my daughter off at her roommates, and they're driving back to college today. No, I haven't gotten used to it. No, I didn't have a meltdown or anything, but it's still hard. It seems like such a challenge to bring them home when they're newborn, but let me tell ya, it's a whole lot harder to let them go. I know she's where God wants her right now; it's something we prayed about and we trust He knows what's best. I know her education will serve her all her life, and it's a sacrifice worth making. I'm not sorry she chose this school; it's an excellent school, and it's only 4 hours away. And I'm fully aware that she won't stay home forever anymore than I did. But no matter how you slice it, it's still tough to say goodbye, especially after having her home for the past 2 months. So I'll be a bit sad today, I guess. Thankfully, I have my Father to comfort me in times like this.

*sigh* If they could just stay little till their Carter's wear out.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tackle It Tuesday

Most of the tackling today happened outdoors. My daughter leaves for college on Thursday, and we went clothes shopping. Two Kohl's have opened in nearing cities, and we tried both. The closer one is smaller, but for some reason has a larger selection. She found lots of nice things, and the prices were very reasonable, actually better than I'd expected, which is great.

A couple of days ago, we went to the Kohl's that's farther from home. It's pretty big, two stories with a large home decor section. I'd been wanting a new comforter set for the master bedroom, since ours was old, faded, and the bed skirt had ripped twice. I found one set which I fell in love with, partly because the colors match the paint color and the curtains already in the bedroom, and partly because the price of $115 for an 8 piece reversable king size set was too good to be true. I fixed up the bed, which looked gorgeous, but when my hubby saw the curtains, he said they looked drab, and told me to find some nicer ones. So we went to Kohl's today looking for curtains, only they didn't have any, so we went to Target instead. I found some lovely curtains and put them up right away.

I love the way it turned out - it looks so elegant! Of course most of my day went in shopping, so at my house this week, it'll be Tackle it Wednesday! God bless!

Tackle It Tuesdays is hosted by Susan at 5 Minutes For Mom.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, August 17, 2009...

Outside my window...The sun is blazing, and the palm trees are moving to the breeze. A beautiful tropical scene, dampened only by the threat of Tropical Storm Bill, who may turn into a hurricane in the next few days, and may head this way. Pray, pray, pray...

I am thinking
...there are only 7 days left of summer vacation. School starts August 24.

I am thankful...that this country offers free public education. Many are quick to find faults in it (myself included, at times) but there are children in all parts of the world who would love to be in our country where they'd have this free education that is unavailable in their own country.

From the learning rooms...we'll continue to review and get ready for school. Saturday we get to find out what class E will be going to.

From the kitchen...baked chicken and stuffing.

I am wearing...a pink t-shirt, pink shorts and pink flip flops. Didn't you hear? It's National Pink Day ;-).

I am hoping...for a nice quiet week.

I am go shopping this week to get some things my daughter needs before leaving for school on Thursday.

I am creating...a new look for my bedroom. Once it's done I'll post pics.

I am reading...Zephaniah for morning devotions, Luke for SOAP devotions, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. We finished Discerning the Voice of God last week, so I need to find some new material for personal study.

I am hearing...Phineas and Ferb. Which is funny, because their theme song begins, "There's 104 days of summer vacation, and school comes around just to end it." Not quite, at this point.

Around the house...I'll be doing laundry and floor cleaning today.

One of my favorite baking. Especially in the fall and winter. The smell of baked goods makes me think of the holidays.

Here's a prayer request I'm sharing...a young lady from a neighboring church, Lauren, will be leaving for Italy this Wednesday where she will serve as a missionary for the next 5 years. Pray for the souls God will have her reach out to, for Lauren to trust in the Lord with all her heart, and for her parents who will be missing her but who also know this sacrifice is not greater than any sacrifice God is willing to make for us.

Believe it or not, it's just started drizzling. That's South Florida weather for you; it can change from the beginning to the end of one blog post.

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

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Observing My Senses

For Today, August 14, 2009...

I am seeing...rain, rain, and more rain. The day started out really sunny, then all of a sudden a dark cloud came over and it began to pour. That should help cool things off!

I am feeling...thankful for yesterday's growth group, and sad because my daughter's departure date approaches.

I am tasting...lemonade right now, and in a little while, pumpkin muffins. I made some yesterday and they disappeared. Delicious!

I am hearing...occasional thunder, and cartoons.

I am smelling...Mr. Clean with Febreeze. Just wiped down the kitchen counters.

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

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Week in Review

This week was a bit more exciting than usual, which was fun. It's good to get out of the everyday ordinary activities and experience something new.

Monday - We went to the beach, and had an extraordinary experience with beaked whales. You can read about it here. I especially liked talking to LT, the missionary. In less than half a day, we solved all the worlds problems ;-). I think she and I will become good friends.

Tuesday - I had to run to fourth grade orientation for my son E. Much of it was review but there was information I was glad to receive. School begins August 24 and I need to be ready. In the afternoon I went to the library by myself because it was raining. I finished reading Wuthering Heights, but I was disappointed; the story is too dark for my tastes. I decided on something more lighthearted, so I got Pollyanna and Little Women. I've already finished Pollyanna. Such a sweet story! I'll probably start Little Women tomorrow.

Wednesday - I got a visit from a dear lady from where I used to work. She was the cleaning lady, a darling Christian woman who was like a mother to me. We talked for 2 hours! Her daughter just had a baby, her first granddaughter (she has 3 grandsons) and she couldn't stop telling me about her. I was so happy to see her, and to see her so happy. It had been almost a year since we'd last seen each other, though we've kept in touch by phone. It was so nice to bond again.

Thursday - E and I went to the park for a little while. We haven't been able to go out much because it's been either excruciatingly hot or pouring rain. Yesterday I felt something I hadn't felt in some time: a breeze. Cool breeze too, not the hot wind that has been blowing for the past month or so. It was a nice change. Of course, we practically had to run out of the park before the next rain storm hit, but at least E was able to play in the playground for a while. He needed the exercise (those were his words!).

Friday - Grocery shopping is done, and I've bought presents for one cousin's new baby and another cousin's little boy who turned 2 a couple weeks ago. I went a little over budget, I think, because I needed to get some extra things for my daughter who leaves next Thursday to school. Maybe I'm still in budget; need to work up the figures.

I'm off to do my hair now; growth groups tonight. We'll be finishing Discerning the Voice of God, and everyone is bringing snacks. Can't wait to spend time with these wonderful ladies who have taught me so much. This weekend is the last one with my daughter, so I hope we can spend some time together. We've had several mom-daughter conversations which we've both needed, and I'm going to miss that alot. Hope everyone has a blessed weekend!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Growth Group Week 5 - Discovering God's Plan

This week's study was important, because now we understand that God wants to talk to us, that He wants to hear from us, but what is it He wants to say, and when is He going to say it? When we are unsure or impatient, we start to believe God isn't going to speak to us. These were two important lessons that needed to be learned.

Chapter 11 - An Invitational Voice. God doesn't force His will on us. He invites us to partner with Him to achieve His will in our lives. That shows how much He loves us. He wants us to do His will because we want to serve Him, not because we're functioning as robots. To accept this invitation means we have to let go of our own plans for our lives and submit to His. Letting go is often the difficult part. We want to be in control, women especially. We are so accustomed to being in charge of our homes, in charge of our children, in charge of our jobs (those that work outside the home), so when God says, "Let Me handle it," we SAY yes but we refuse to give in. We give Him a little bit and keep some for ourselves. Until we commit to giving God full control of our lives, we won't see the full benefits. Not sure what God's plan for your life is? Get connected at your local church. That's where God starts to show us our gifts and how He wants us to use them (Hebrews 10:25).

Chapter 12 - A Timely Voice. I think this was the most important chapter. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God isn't slow about keeping His promises, but we are sooo impatient! When we pray, we want answers NOW! What we don't realize, is that God knows the future and we don't. He knows why He holds back on answering certain prayers; if He answered right away the results would be disasterous. We have to trust God even when we don't hear from Him right away. He isn't ignoring us; He's right there with us each step of the way. He will speak at the right time.

One thing God reminded me of with this chapter was a song by BarlowGirl (one of my absolute favorite Christian bands) called I Believe in Love. The song was inspired by writing found inside a men's concentration camp. At the worst time of their lives, these words were found carved into a wall:

I believe in the sun
even when it's not shining.
I believe in love
even when I don't feel it.
And I believe in God
even when He is silent.

Can you imagine how silent God seemed to those in the concentration camps? Can you picture the kind of faith that is needed to speak these words? They were so powerful, and I was glad God had me share them with our group. The impact was noticable.

Chapter 13 - A Fatherly Voice. Our Heavenly Father knows each one of us by name, knows more about us that we know about ourselves, and as a loving Father talks to each of us according to our individual needs. Isn't that what parenting is all about? Those of us that have more than one child know we don't treat each one exactly the same, even though we love each one. We deal with each one according to their personalities, their likes and dislikes, their gifts and weaknesses. God does the same. We learned how wrong it is to judge our Christian brothers and sisters simply because they choose to do things differently. God gives each of us instructions; if we criticize what God has led someone else to do, who are we really speaking against? We need to focus on what God is saying to us, not to everyone else.

Chapter 14 - A Challenging Voice. God loves taking us out of our comfort zone. He wants to challenge us to step out in faith. Mind you, He doesn't leave us to our own defenses; He equips us with whatever we need so His will can be carried out. But it usually is something we would NEVER consider doing on our own. Leading a small group is something this introvert was not about to attempt, yet God kept showing me that it was exactly what He wanted me to do. Because I obeyed, the blessings have been gynormous! Of course, God would still bless me if I wasn't leading a group and just attended one. But I think of what I would be missing, and I'm thankful God called me to do that which seemed so scary to me yet has been so amazing.

This Friday will be our last chapter, and I admit it's bittersweet. I've gotten to know some wonderful ladies, the study has been enlightening, and the Holy Spirit has been present and has spoken to each of us, working in our lives and through our lives. I feel so blessed, and I can't wait to see what else God has in store for our group of God-fearing women. Thank You Jesus for Your words of wisdom and love!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tackle It Tuesday

There was much I wanted to tackle today, but I'd totally forgotten I had to be at my son's school at 11:00am for 4th grade orientation. Thankfully I have a thoughtful and kind daughter who took over. Before I left, I managed to:

Clean up my room
Sweep the hallway, living room, part of the family room, and kitchen
Get all the towels washed and in the dryer, and a load of dark clothes started
Folded another load of laundry
Breakfast for E, and kitchen cleaned up
Started load in dishwasher

My son E did his part, which was vacuuming, and my daughter dusted the glass tables in the living room. Then, while I was gone, my daughter:

Cleaned out fridge
Cleaned out freezer
Put away dishes from dishwasher
Made a pizza for dinner

I also was able to get home in time to prepare lunch before hubby got home, and run to the library to return a bunch of books. All in all, even though a wrench was thrown into my first plans, plenty was gotten done, which made it a fruitful day.

Tackle It Tuesdays is hosted by Susan at 5 Minutes For Mom.

An Unexpectedly Eventful Monday

After several phone calls going back and forth, we decided to join some friends for a beach outing. After all, school will be starting, so we need to take advantage of these last couple of weeks.

We were to meet JB, my daughter's college roommate and best friend, at 10:00am, and it was 8:45. She lives clear across the next town, so we had to get moving quick. I'm usually not very good with last minute plans; I like everything well thought out and organized. But I was able to get lunch and snacks packed, clothes packed, everyone changed, picked up EV (another friend) and got to JB's at exactly 10:00am. Cool! JB wasn't ready, though, which didn't surprise me too much. We also needed to meet up with another family that was joining us. As we stopped for gas, it began raining. South Florida is notorious for afternoon showers, and these were starting a bit early. We decided against the beach we'd originally planned to go to, and went to Hollywood Beach instead (yes, there is a Hollywood in Florida).

The kids (ranging from age 5 to age 22) went straight into the water. I stayed behind with LT, a lady from JB's church who was a missionary to France for 9 years and has been back for two. There was so much I wanted to hear about! We were having a great conversation (we'd just met but felt like we'd known each other for years), when we heard people calling out, "Get out of the water!" LT asked why, but we couldn't get a straight answer, till someone yelled, "Shark!" Can you imagine how we felt at that moment?! Our kids were not in deep water, but still we wanted them out! Then we saw everyone gathering at one end of the beach, not too far from where we were. LT and I stayed behind as the rest went to see what was going on. The kids came back, and my son E, with his eyes as big as saucers, exclaimed, "We saw a dolphin, a real dolphin!!" We later learned it wasn't a dolphin, but a beaked whale that got beached. It was a baby, and apparently had gotten hurt. Shortly after, the mother was also beached. Seems she'd been looking for her calf. There were news helicopters everywhere, and people were trying to keep the whales wet and out of the sun. As we were leaving, we noticed more whales out in the distance, part of the group the two beach whales were with. It was an amazing sight. We later learned both the mother and her calf died, which was really sad. (Read about it here ).

It made for some excitement, and also for reflection. These whales live in community, and stay together when one of theirs is in trouble. The mother whale went after her young, while the others waited for them to return. We could learn alot from these peaceful animals about living together and lending a hand to each other, whether family, friend, or neighbor. It would be a much nicer world to live in if we were as interested in helping others as the whales are.

Just For Fun

A visiting speaker was impressed by the enthusiasm our Christian school students showed in their physical education class.

"I exercise, too," he sighed, faintly smiling at our pastor. "Every morning I awaken to the alarm, jump from bed, and run around the block six times."

As our pastor expressed surprise and offered hearty praise, the man continued, "Then I kick the block under the bed and go back to sleep."

- From

Easy Chicken and Stuffing

By request, I'm posting the recipe for my easy chicken and stuffing in the crock pot. It's so easy anyone can do it; I would say it's a great recipe as a cooking lesson for the young ones. Enjoy!

5 bonesless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 box chicken stuffing mix (I like Stove Top, but any brand will do)
1 16oz. package frozen green peas, thawed

Place chicken breasts in slow cooker (no seasoning needed) and spoon soups over chicken. Sprinkle stuffing mix evenly over chicken and soup. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Sprinkle drained green peas over top of stuffing and cook an additional 45 minutes.


Monday, August 10, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, August 10, 2009...

Outside my window...looks like summer isn't leaving us any time soon. It's been really, really hot, with hazy sunshine and few showers. I'm actually looking forward to autumn for cooler air and less humidity.

I am thinking...about yesterday's lesson in children's ministry. We studied 1 Samuel 24, when King Saul goes into the cave to "relieve himself" and David cuts a piece of his robe, allowing his enemy to live when he could have easily killed him. Nothing like a bathroom scene to get children's attention. You couldn't have dragged them out of that church.

I am thankful...for God using me to teach these beautiful children. I love watching their faces as they hear the story and understand it's meaning.

From the learning rooms...I was able to purchase most of the school supplies needed, and spent less than $12 at Walmart. Not bad. We're doing review work in a couple of workbooks: vocabulary, multiplication tables, and science.

From the kitchen...easy chicken and stuffing in the crock pot. Soooo simple, and one of my family's favorites. I'll have to post the recipe.

I am wearing...sleeping attire, only because I haven't decided what I'm doing today.

I am hoping...we can enjoy this week. It's the last complete week before my daughter leaves for college again.

I am the beach. Maybe. Not sure yet.

I am creating...nothing. I'm in a rut right now. Need some inspiration.

I am reading...Amos for morning devotions, Luke chapter 15 for SOAP devotions, Discerning the Voice of God for growth groups, finished Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I was disappointed with the book; it's too dark for my tastes. I thought it would be more like Jane Eyre, which Charlotte Bronte (sister to Emily) wrote, but it was totally different. I need to get back to the library and find something more lighthearted. I also finished reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. That was much more my style.

I am hearing...morning cartoons. E is up and awaiting breakfast.

Around the house...laundry mostly. It's a neverending chore.

One of my favorite Krispy Kreme donuts. Need I explain?

A few plans for the rest of the week: I'm hoping my friend gets back from Pennsylvania and we can go to her community pool. My daughter wants to go clothes shopping before going back to school; have to plan that too. Last week of growth group study this Friday.

Here's a prayer request I'm sharing...pray for home groups. These I believe are more essential to our spiritual growth than any other church activity. We fellowship more closely, pray more specifically, anticipate needs more quickly, and in doing so experience the Holy Spirit and His fruits more completely.

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

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Observing My Senses

For Today, August 7, 2009...

I am seeing...tomorrow's lesson for children's ministry. We'll be studying 1 Samuel 24, when David spares Saul's life.

I am feeling...wonderful after last night's growth group. I can't believe next week is our last week. I'm gonna miss it so much.

I am tasting...nothing as of yet. I'll be having an egg, sausages & toast for breakfast.

I am hearing...sausages sizzling in the frying pan.

I am smelling...said sausages. My son E loves sausages for breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. We occasionally have breakfast for dinner (pancakes, sausages, hash browns) and the kids think it's a holiday. It doesn't take much to make them happy.

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

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Week in Review

It's been a pretty quiet week, actually. After days of haziness and looking like it would rain, we finally got a quick shower this morning, before 6:00am. It's sunny out now, so I'm thinking it'll be another South Florida sunshiny day.

Monday was the most hectic day this week. We had the outside air conditioning unit replaced with a new, more energy efficient model. I was so thankful! Sunday morning when I got up I noticed the a/c was on but no cold air was coming out of it. It was set to 72 degrees but the house felt more like 82. My husband went outside to check it and found the unit wasn't running. I turned it off and turned on the fan, but that wasn't going to cut it. It has been in the 90's this past month, and the heat became so stifling I couldn't breathe. Mind you, I'm usually the one complaining the house is too cold, so for me to say it was hot, means IT WAS HOT!!! Because it was Sunday we needed to wait till the next day to get a repairman in. That night was awful! We thanked God for the times we do have a/c, and prayed for others who never have a/c (how can they live?!). Turns out a capacitor went out which caused the fan not to work, which caused the unit to overheat, which caused one of the lines to blow. This was the 2nd time this unit needed repair, and it was only 9 years old. Not only that, our electric bill is always over $200 in the summer because the unit is not very efficient. The new one is; our neighbor recently had his unit replaced (his had even more problems than ours) and he highly recommended these people to hubby. They not only replaced the outside unit, they hauled away the old one and cleaned the unit inside so that it looked brand spankin' new. It took them just over 2 hours to get all the work done, and we're very satisfied. The rest of the day we just enjoyed the coolness. Ahhh....

Now in my much cooler home, I was able to get a ton of household chores done on Tuesday. Tons of laundry and cleaning up, and when I was done, what a feeling of satisfaction! E and I went to the library, and I got 2 books: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, because the movie is coming out in November and I want to compare it to the actual book (finished it already; it's a small book), and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I'm really getting into the classic English literature. I like it much more than the books that are being written today.

Wednesday I attacked the family room. It takes me all morning to clean the family room because it's where we spend most of our time. I moved furniture, vacuumed furniture, vacuumed drapes, dusted all the furniture, and when I was done it looked like something out of a magazine (at least I thought so!). Let's see how long it lasts!

Thursday I went through our school supplies and made an inventory list. School starts August 24, and I was able to download the supply list off the school's website. Thankfully I have lots of the items needed. What I need to buy most is paper. E started work on a workbook that reviews third grade, to get him back into the swing of things before school starts. My little one is excited about going to school because a) he gets to see his school friends, and b) he gets new school supplies. Otherwise, he says he'd be glad to be homeschooled. We'll see where God leads in this respect.

So today, with God's blessing, we have planned the following: grocery shopping, school supply shopping, and growth groups tonight. I hope to post a review of tonight's study this weekend. This is the next-to-last study, and it's going to be powerful, I just know it.

So, even a not-so-busy week can be pretty busy. I'm thankful for all that was accomplished this week. Praying for an equally busy weekend!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Expensive Children?

I was reading this article and was troubled by the topic. Not about how expensive it is to raise a child; I think we all know that it's expensive to do anything nowadays. I was troubled at the fact that someone bothered to try to quantify the total cost of raising a child from birth to age 17.

When we purchase a home, we spend lots of money to do it. Unless, of course, you're fortunate enough to have someone gift it to you; nevertheless, there are taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc. to pay. A home purchase for most people means having to save lots of money just for a down payment, closing costs, bank costs, etc. Then there's a mortgage that can last 15, 20, 30 or more years. Yet we happily put down our hard earned money to purchase "the American dream". Why? Because we don't look at it as an expense; we see it as an investment.

Why, then, are we looking at children as an expense? Are people to look at this and decide children aren't a worthy investment? The article boasts, "Middle-income family spends $221,000 to raise baby". Does that seem like a lot of money to spend on a child? Seems to me most people spend much more on a house these days, and don't think twice about it. Aren't children a much more precious and treasured investment?

I know that for some people, having everything budgeted out for them is necessary. I'm one of those people who needs to have expenses written out so I can see that I'm using our money wisely. Even Jesus said a wise person calculates costs before proceeding with a project (Luke 14:28-29). It's just that, to me, my children aren't an expense. They are an investment, one that pays dividends in heaven if I take care to raise them and care for them as my Father has taught me. They may not bring in a financial return, but the love I give and receive from them is priceless. And that's worth every penny.

When we stop looking at children as expenses, and treat them as the one of the greatest blessings that can be received, maybe then we'll reap the rewards of parenthood so sadly forgotten.

My Devotions Blog

For the past couple of months, I've been putting my SOAP devotions on this blog. This is my personal Bible study that I do typically in the mornings. I am currently studying the gospel of Luke. God speaks to each of us; I feel Him speak to me as I study His Word at the beginning of my day. I hadn't mentioned it before only because I wanted to see if I was comfortable blogging about it. I could erase it any day if I felt it was too personal or something I didn't want to share. Now, though, I feel the Lord would have me share this with others who may be needing to hear these words also. So, feel free to join me each day as I share the words God is speaking to me through Scripture, and please share any thoughts you may have. God bless.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Saint Speaks

"The people who are of absolutely no use to God are those who have sat down and have become overgrown with spiritual mildew; all they can do is to refer to an experience they had twenty or thirty years ago. That is of no use whatever; we must be vitally at it all the time. With Paul it was never 'an experience I once had,' but 'the life which I now live.'"

- Oswald Chambers

Tackle It Tuesdays

For Today, August 4, 2009...

I've gotten so much stuff done already, I'm amazed that I'm not complaining of exhaustion:

Put pot roast in crock pot at 7:00am
Had morning devotions
Fixed my bed and tidied up bedroom
Folded and put away 4 loads of laundry, and have 1 load in washer & 1 in dryer
Cleaned 2 bathrooms
Cleaned kitchen
Polished dining room table, swept floor
Read Cam Jansen mystery with 9 year old

We've all had lunch, except hubby who hasn't gotten home yet. After that:

Library to return books
Wash and blow dry hair

I love days when I feel like so much has been accomplished!

Tackle It Tuesdays is hosted by Susan at 5 Minutes For Mom.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, August 3, 2009...

Outside my's a scorcher. Not a good thing today.

I am thinking...the air conditioning repairman is putting in a new unit, because ours is shot. Praise God we're getting a good price on it, thanks to the recommendation of our neighbor.

I am thankful for...the fact that we have a home to live in, which usually has a/c. I think of the families who suffer this weather without relief all summer, and I shudder.

From the learning starts in 3 weeks. E and I have been slacking a bit, so we need to get back to reading. We're reading Owen Foote, Super Spy by Stephanie Greene. Funny book.

From the kitchen...kielbasa sausage, sauteed with onions, and yellow rice with veggies.

I am wearing...a light pink tank top, beige capris, brown sandals, my hair up because it's too hot to let it down.

I am creating...nothing. It's too hot to think of creating anything.

I am reading...Daniel for morning devotions, Luke for SOAP devotions (I'm on chapter 13), Discerning the Voice of God for growth groups (2 weeks to go) and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

I am hearing...water from my neighbor's pool, and the a/c repairman as he works on cleanup.

Around the house...some laundry to be put away, more laundry to be washed, but for the most part the house is clean.

One of my favorite air conditioning. I live in South Florida, it's been in the 90's everyday, believe me, I've come to appreciate it now more than ever.

A few plans for the rest of the week: don't really have anything concrete planned, other than the library and growth groups. I teach in children's ministry this Sunday so I have to prepare for that. Let's see what the Lord has in store.

Here's a prayer request I'm sharing...pray for the smaller parts of the body of Christ, those that do the little things that don't seem to mean much but are just as important as the bigger parts. The guys that set up and tear down each week so the service runs smooth. The ladies taking care of the babies so mommy and daddy can hear God's message. The little old lady who doesn't have a big name ministry, but prays faithfully each day. Everyone is important, everyone is loved by Jesus.

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

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Observing My Senses

For Today, August 1, 2009...

I am seeing...what might be a sunshiny day. The sky is blue, the clouds are white and fluffy, and there seems to be no rain in sight. Of course, many a morning has started that way this week and yet it rained in the afternoon. I'm hoping it won't; my son would be disappointed. He's going with his aunt to her company picnic and is seriously looking forward to it.

I am feeling...tired, even though I got a good night's sleep. My allergies were acting up and I took a Benadryl last night. They knock me out every time.

I am tasting...toothpaste. Haven't had breakfast yet.

I am hearing...Phineas and Ferb. My son's new favorite cartoon. It's about 2 brothers who are daily inventing something new to do over the summer, to the distress of their big sister. Plus, their pet platypus is actually a secret agent. It's funny, in a corny sort of way.

I am smelling...biscuits in the oven. Breakfast is ready!

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