Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Something special, just for you...

I know a few of you who may read this, read our article that was in the paper a few weeks ago. If you didn't, you can read it here. We were very honored to have had the opportunity to share our family's Christmas celebrations with others.

It has opened up many conversations for my husband, and myself. And I have had quite a few people ask me about our gift-giving process. They want to know how we exchanged gifts that aren't brand new, that are handmade, or what toys we hand down that aren't trash and most of all, how the recipient feels about their gift.
So I thought I'd give you some visuals here, and you may just consider trying a few of them out for birthdays this year, or for Christmas next year!

You can find tutorials for these here, and I must say I was amazed at how easy they were, and how lovely they turned out. A friend of mine made one for my niece's birthday back in October. I can remember watching as Raven pulled out this little roll of fabric, and I thought, wow, how beautiful is that? Then she opened it up and I saw all the crayons tucked in so neatly, and I was in awe. There is just something about pretty fabric, an elegant ribbon, and crayons that scream princess to me! So, I made one for my neighbor's little girl, and my best friend's two daughters. No need to wrap them, they are just simply beautiful on their own.

Now, what do you do when your 11 yr old nephew loves electronics, Transformers, video games, and super heroes, and you can't just go out and buy him any of those things? Well, I kept asking Ethan to be thinking about what he would like to do for his cousin, and it wasn't until we were in the fabric store picking up a few things, that he came up with an answer. Well, kind of an answer...he had seen some Transformer fabric. So, I made him a Transformer pillowcase and a marble bag. The marbles were just over a $1 at Hobby Lobby. Ethan also gave him an action figure that he always plays with when he is at our house. Needless to say, Mikey thanked me for the other gifts, but when he pulled out that little man, his reaction was sincerely appreciative. "Ethan, you are giving this to me?" Priceless.

Now, for my sister's, my mom, my close friends, and my oldest niece, this made a great gift. A key chain debit card/license holder. I also made two and put them in coffee cups for gifts to use at an exchanging game we play at my in-laws. The women were fighting over them!

It is quite possible that these were two of my favorite projects. My niece Raven is on the left, and my daughter Emma is on the right. I bought two cotton long sleeved T's at Belk for $6.59 each. Then I went to the fabric store and bought a corduroy material for the bottom. Made a front panel and a back panel, sewed it on, and wha-lah! With the extra material I made their small purses with sequence initials. Emma was completely surprised, she thought I had only made one for Raven!

Christmas Eve morning, Ethan and Emma worked on cards to take to the neighbors along with their cookies. This is Ethan's. It has the angel announcing Christ's birth, and the crosses are to represent the reason Christ came. Awesome.

What mawmaw and pawpaw wouldn't want to write down all their appointments on a calendar full of the faces they love to see? For $15 at Wal-Mart's photo center online, you can upload pictures and personalize a fabulous calendar. This has become the gift all of our parents and grandparents look forward to every year. Not homemade, but definitely personal.

Sawyer is my nephew who will be 3 in March. He loves to work with real tools and real bolts! He also loves to shoot his bow and arrow. So, my husband cut out two deer from cardboard and made him these targets. Then he made this wooden bolt contraption for Sawyer to learn lefty loosey righty tighty! Fantastic!

Now, I wasn't just this big giver this year! I received some pretty amazing gifts, too. My sister Indy's family made me fabulous earrings out of buttons. My sister Tarah's family made me a huge basket full of homemade detergents for the laundry and dishwasher. Ethan received a marshmallow shooter. Emma received a coupon to redeem for finger knitting lessons with Raven along with a loop and loom kit. They both got cool boxes full of homemade bath soaps and bath toys, and we all got lots of smiles as we watched our recipients open their gifts!

Hope this helps give you some ideas for your gifts this coming year!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

You're never the quarterback with me looking for the sack...

We talk football a lot in our house. I admit that after Ethan played his first season of tackle football this fall, I became a completely addicted football mom. Because of this, I can relate a lot of things to Ethan by using the sport we both grew to love.

He turned 9 at the beginning of November. He is a wonderful boy who can be caught smiling with joy on a regular basis.

However, he can also be caught arguing, whining, or questioning my authority on a regular basis. The other day, as I was correcting him for questioning me, I had to really break it down for him.

"We are on the same team here. Always. It's like in football, Ethan. If you were the quarterback, and I was the receiver, we both have a common goal. Get the ball to the end zone and score a touchdown. You're never the quarterback with me looking for the tackle. I'm either blocking for you or waiting to receive your pass, I'm never in your way on purpose. Our goal is to raise you up to be a godly man, right?" "I guess..." "Yes, ma'am. Not I guess." "Yes ma'am."
"How can you be that man if we don't work together?" "I can't." "That's right. God asks me to train you up the way He has directed, and He asks you to honor me. If we do that, together as a team, the promise is a touchdown that is worth way more than 6 points. If we are constantly butting heads something is wrong. Our game plan isn't working, and we can't make any substitutions. I love you, and I need you on MY team, not against me."

This pep talk is pretty accurate to the one that really took place. He looked up at me with tears in his eyes and hugged me. I held onto my little man thinking about what a great captain of some one's football team he is going to make some day.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Counting down...but may keep it around...

Okay, by now you should all have realized I'm terrible at being a consistent blogger. I think my last post was back in June after I felt so good about my family enjoying our day at Pipestem.

This morning as I wait for Emma to come back home for an all-nighter at Aunt Indy's, and as Ethan is off doing some chores prior to getting back to school, I thought I'd give myself a few minutes to see what I could spit out.

I found this craft idea here and immediately thought it was a great idea to use for a craft on December 1st. My sister, Indy, and myself decided to get together once a week from now til Christmas to do an Advent craft. We both homeschool and knew it would help to have that accountability to make sure these neat ideas turned into neat crafts done on a neat day. So, on December 1st, our Advent Jar starting to come to be.

Even Sawyer enjoyed painting his jar! So, what is the purpose of an Advent jar? Starting on December 1st, each day they will pull out a good deed from their jar. Examples of what we placed in ours are : Call Aunt Jamie just to say I love you, make a card for someone not feeling well, pray for a family in our church, ask Daddy what he needs you to do today to help him out, pray for those who do not know Jesus as their personal Savior, pray the Lord will help to keep your heart thankful as you receive gifts from others this Christmas. Granted, I do realize that praying isn't necessarily a good deed, but teaching them to think and pray for others is a great way to get them to start thinking about others. You get the idea. Each day, they pull out a good deed, and that is our countdown to Christmas. So far, I have received a call from Raven telling me she loved me, Ethan has said numerous prayers, he and Emma have both made several phone calls to mawmaws and pawpaws saying I love you, Emma has said some prayers, Emma made a lady from our church a get well card and received a "thank you" home made bracelet in return! We are considering switching up the good deeds inside and keeping this around to be a daily thing all year long!

Some children have tender hearts. Some children do not have tender hearts. As Indy and I discussed this yesterday at her home, I was reminded of something she said a while back. We can try hard to be good parents, and we can do all the things we think will help our children become good, godly men and women. But the truth is, if they turn out halfway decent, it is just God's grace! Praying for our children, and praying the Lord blesses our efforts, are two ingredients that may get skipped out as we just try to be more disciplined parents that do neat little crafts to teach hearts to be tender.

But for the grace of God...

I know we probably have all heard that. But it is so true!

I am a blessed woman. I love staying at home and being Greg's personal chef/wife, Ethan's basketball opponent/mom, Emma's personal stylist/mom, and I love to serve my family as I feel God intended me to serve them. But I'm not good at these things because I'm a good woman. It is God's grace that has stilled my heart and reminds me I am truly serving Him when I do these things even when Greg has hurt my feelings, or Ethan is being obnoxious on the court, or Emma is acting a little too prissy when picking out clothes.

I did not have a tender heart growing up. But God is changing me more and more to realize what it is to be a real servant.

I pray that as I teach Ethan & Emma the reasons Christ came to this earth, and the reasons we anticipate His return, I will be able to see God's grace at work on their hearts as they learn to be imitators of Christ.

After all, if I had been Jesus' aunt over 2000
years ago, it would have made me smile to get a phone call from Him telling me He loved me...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Biked, well pushed a bike...

Last spring, just as I was really beginning to grasp the reality that I loved being active, I bought a bicycle. I rode a little in my driveway, took it to my sister's neighborhood and rode one day, and yeah, well, that was about it.

I seriously wanted to do more, but because I would surely become road kill if I tried riding it on my road, I just parked it in the garage. Of course after the knee ordeal, I had no idea when I'd feel confident enough to mount the purple machine again.

But yesterday was the day. I have been taking a spin class for months now, and even though I am back in physical therapy and having a really tough time with my knee, I just felt it was time to take it to the outdoors.

So, we did.

Don't worry, we left my nephew ( on the 4-wheeler ), and my niece ( with training wheels ) to go on with their parents for horseback riding, while Greg, Ethan, Kelci, Emma, and myself went on our 3 mile, 2 1/2 hr bike push. You heard me, push, not ride.

So, I hadn't exactly envisioned us pushing our bikes uphill through mud and horse poop in the hot sun, but that is pretty much what we did.

BUT we had a blast.

My Emma, who is just 6 yrs old, did do her share of asking when we would be done, but she wasn't nearly as dramatic as I would have been had my parents tried to make me do a professional mountain biking course on a Hello Kitty 16" 2-wheeler!

Halfway through, Ethan declared he was having fun. Which for my rarely content 8 yr old, that was enough to make my heart leap with joy.

Kelci, my oldest niece, was a real trooper. She would ride her bike ahead, only to park it to come back and help push Emma's through the indescribably yucky muck.

Greg, who just got his bike yesterday morning @ 9, when this ride begin @ 11, carried a very heavy backpack the entire time that he was riding his bike, pushing Emma's bike, or pushing his bike and Emma's bike.

We smiled more than anyone complained, we laughed, we talked, and we got more exercise in those 3 hours than I believe Greg has had in the past 8 years!

I'm so dreading having our cable turned back on...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Blessed by an excursion

After a friend of mine said a friend of hers had invited them to go blueberry picking yesterday afternoon, I felt the urge to invite myself, Ethan, and Emma along on the excursion.

So glad I did.

They didn't mind at all, and it gave me a chance to get some good pictures and to get Ethan outside doing something that he can do with his broken arm. Not to mention I've been eating blueberries nonstop since about 4pm yesterday.

I also had time to admire some different scenery, which I really appreciated. I've been rather overwhelmed lately with trying to keep my house up so that it can be viewed by potential buyers almost every single day. So, yesterday while someone was walking around our house and we were out in the midst of such calm beauty, I felt it was a good trade.

Emma was rather content at first picking berries, some ended up in her bucket, and some in her belly. However, it didn't take long for Princess Emma to start expressing her discontent with the heat and asking me if we could begin making our way back towards the shade.

I tried to keep encouraging her to remember the cause of the trip. To get a surplus of these delicious berries to bring home and enjoy for months to come. "You love to eat blueberries, Emma!" But she had moved past sharing the vision of blueberry bliss with her mama, and was now focused on a canopy with picnic tables that would offer her refuge from her nemesis, the sun.

Ethan has been struggling the past few weeks with obeying, and so unfortunately, I wasn't surprised with his choices to NOT quit throwing berries at his friends, to NOT stay close by where we could share his bucket, and to NOT argue or debate the instructions I was giving. I tried to keep calm as I encouraged him to appreciate the adventure and not to ruin it with bad choices.

And so we finally came to rest under that canopy with picnic tables. There we enjoyed some cold water and the children shared a soda pop. A sweet end to a not thoroughly sweet hour of blueberry picking.

Does my story sound at all familiar to you?

Through our daily walks with the Lord, we sometimes desire to experience something different. So the Lord will bless us with a little excursion that He knows will provide us with a surplus of goodies. As we start on this divine adventure, we gaze wide-eyed at all there is to enjoy! However, shortly into the journey, we are faced with the slightest feeling of discomfort, and before we know it, we're asking the Lord to go back to our comfortable little picnic tables in the shade. He tries to encourage us through our brothers and sisters in Christ or through our daily readings, but what we saw so clearly in the beginning is now overshadowed by a small cloud of inconvenience.

We struggle in listening to His instruction. We make poor choices thinking that we know our situation better than He does, and although we may glean a few treasures along the way, we miss out on joy of the experience, and also on the joy of sweet communion with Him along the way.

We come to rest in the shade with our selfish appetites satisfied, but our buckets are quite empty compared to what He had in mind when He made the plans for the adventure.

Does God have you in the midst of a full blueberry patch right now? Can you see the sweet fruit? Or, are you blinded by the sun and drained by it's warmth?

Sometimes I am convinced that I haven't even learned anything from the story of the Israelites.

What would happen if we spent more time obeying God's word, and less time coming up with our own plans? I have a feeling we may enjoy the soda pop at the end a little more if it is shared over conversation of our cheerful attitudes and obedience vs conversation of consequences for our whining and disobedience.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Been a while...words very worthy of reading

If by Amy Carmichael

If I have not compassion on my fellow servant, even as my Lord had pity on me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can easily discuss the shortcomings and the sins of any; if I can speak in a casual way even of a child's misdoings, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can enjoy a joke at the expense of another; if I can in any way slight another in conversation, or even in thought, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can write an unkind letter, speak an unkind word, think an unkind thought without grief and shame, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am afraid to speak the truth, lest I lose affection, or lest the one concerned should say, "You do not understand," or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness; if I put my own good name before the other's highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I myself dominate myself, if my thoughts revolve around myself, if I am so occupied with myself I rarely have "a heart at leisure from itself," then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I cannot in honest happiness take the second place (or twentieth); if I cannot take the first without making a fuss about my unworthiness, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I do not give a friend "the benefit of the doubt," but put the worst construction instead of the best on what is said or done, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I take offense easily; if I am content to continue in a cool unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love. For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted.

If I say, "Yes, I forgive, but I cannot forget," as though the God, who twice a day washes all the sands on all the shores of all the world, could not wash such memories from my mind, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If souls can suffer alongside, and I hardly know it, because the spirit of discernment is not in me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If the praise of man elates me and his blame depresses me; if I cannot rest under misunderstanding without defending myself; if I love to be loved more than to love, to be served more than to serve, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If in the fellowship of service I seek to attach a friend to myself, so that others are caused to feel unwanted; if my friendships do not draw others deeper in, but are ungenerous, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

That which I know not, teach Thou me, O Lord, my God.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Calendar anyone?

So today is the 16th, huh?

Way after I posted my last blog, while chatting with other mommies, I was informed today is the 16th.

So, for those of you who I wrongfully challenged to read Proverbs 15...go ahead...read that one and the 16th and call it a day!

Greg read to us yesterday, so when I picked up mine today and it had the marker at 15...well, I assumed it was the 15th and read and blogged as if it were indeed the 15th.

However - it is the 16th - so the children and I will be doing some more reading in just a few moments...and you guessed it...we'll be reading Proverbs 16!

Hope to be challenged, encouraged, uplifted, convicted, or all of the above...although I needed to hear Proverbs 15:1 today, so I'll not chalk that up to mishap!

I am thankful for a blessed day, and also thankful that it is almost time to call it a day!

Proverbs 15

Last year on this very day, my mother, my sister Indy, her step-daughter Kelci, her daughter Raven, her son Sawyer, my son Ethan, and my daughter Emma, and myself traveled to Lewisburg for some fun little shopping at their cute shops and a lunch at Food & Friends.

I remember this because it was April 15th, and my tax preparer is in Lewisburg. I had to go and pick up my taxes and mail them out by deadline!

Just thought I'd share that. This year I had my taxes completely ready, with the exception of things that come in the mail, by January 2nd. Praise God for his goodness in teaching me more about diligence and discipline in the past year.

So, today is the day to read Proverbs 15, if you haven't yet! READ IT! Enjoy God's words for you today & share your thoughts with the rest of us!!!

Let's just touch base on 15:1. We could spend all day, all night, and well, let's be honest....the rest of our 2009 striving to live out this verse, and none of us may find it easy to do in all circumstances.

A soft answer turneth away wrath. but grievous words stir up anger.

Do you find it easy to live this out?

When you are talking with your children, and nearly at the end of our short rope that is extended with God's grace, are you quick to speak quietly & softly?

Example: When I am trying to do a quick post, or answer email, or even pay bills on the computer, I struggle with my attention span. I can barely make it through if there is ANY noise whatsover. Because of this, I try to find time to do it when the children are upstairs, downstairs, or far away from any stairs that are close to my whereabouts. Today when I decided to jot this down quickly, Ethan decided to find a seat on the couch close by. I asked him to quiet himself in order for Mommy to concentrate about 7 times before I lost my temper and shouted at him to remove himself from my sight.

OOOOH - yeap, I did that. Now, don't go callin' CPS just yet. He will heal from Mommy's temper tantrum, however, I will now have to deal with his anger the rest of the day.

The 7 times I tried to quietly explain I needed him to be still, hadn't solved the problem. I even explained how hard it is for Mommy's brain to concentrate when it is quiet, much less when he is wrestling with the dog & squeeking the squeeky toy by my feet. But, as any 8 year old boy, sitting on the couch watching your mother ignore you to type, isn't easy to do!

I will be challenged today to speak softly.

I pray you will be, too.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Proberbs 14

So we read some Proverbs this evening. Well, Greg did. We listened. Well, me and Ethan listened. Emma kept getting in trouble for playing with Pugly.

Greg suggested we ready some Bible Stories to her. We got out our Egermeier's Bible Story book and read about Jesus' healing the blind, dumb, deaf, and possessed. I can't believe Ethan and Emma didn't say anything about the dumb.

Anyone have suggestions for other books who help our little one's grasp God's miracles?

Also, in our service tonight, we studied on passion. Some said passionate people act proud. I have never heard pride mentioned in a good way. I've always read, and always been taught, that pride means we had something to do with the goodness. If we believe that only God is the goodness, then there is no room for pride.

However, many in the crowd agreed that there is a good and bad pride.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Has a month really gone by?

Alright, I confess, I have not been spending near as much time on the laptop the past 4 weeks. So, imagine my surprise when I realized it has been a month since I posted my last blog!

We are continuing are daily Proverbs reading, although there have been days that the breakfast reading doesn't get read until the after dinner reading...going to work on that.

This is going to be a quick one, as Greg is just about done brushing his teeth, and we are going to enjoy watching the lightning for a few moments before finding slumber.

My leg is doing WONDERFUL! I am 6 weeks ahead of schedule, doing yoga, jogging on the elliptical, lifting weights, doing lots of stretching, and enjoying getting up and down steps easier.

We listed the house with a realtor, and we are currently in negotiations with hopes of closing and moving by June 1st.

Ethan is finishing up 2nd grade schooling, and Emma is working on her reading.

I am spending lots of time cleaning out rooms, preparing for yard sales, and imagining how I will function in a different home.

I've moved 7 times in my life. At age 20, Ethan and I moved in with my sister Indy and her husband for 2 months. We then moved back to my parents. Three months later, we moved to a small home in Stanaford. Six months later, we moved back in with my parents. Fourteen months later, we moved into an apartment on N Sandbranch Rd. Greg and I were married, Emma was born, and a year later we moved into his parents for 2 months until finally our home was finished, and we moved in here!

Needless to say, all of the other moves were done in one day and were very easy. Packing was a breeze, there was a minimal amount of belongings, and it just wasn't that bad.

However, this will be different story. Greg has lived here all of his 32 years, with the exception of one year when he grabbed his clothes and his toothbrush the day after we were married in order to move in the apartment.

I'll try to do a better job of blogging this month...no promises!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee - Proverbs 9

This morning as I read today's Proverbs to Ethan and Emma, this verse really stood out to me.

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.

There have been times in my life that I have had someone inform me of something I had clearly need to be informed of, but it wasn't always easy to digest.

Some of you may know what I'm talking about. You may feel conviction over certain areas of your life, and more so when you are congregated with certain people who Christ has maybe helped conquer that struggle. What if they rebuked you for your sin? Would you be offended? Probably so, huh?

I can remember when I was single with Ethan and I was working long hours. I really wanted to have a social life, work hard, and be a good mom. But that was the order I wanted things, too. My older sister Indy was wise enough to call me on it. I can remember the conversation still to this day. I was driving home from the place I worked in Princeton, I was on the phone with her. I can remember the feeling I had in my gut hearing her describe how wrong my actions were. I was so angry. With myself. Not with her! I couldn't be angry with her! I was the one who needed to hear it.

I challenge you to be obedient to Christ in this area. Ask him to help you learn how to rebuke with grace when necessary.

I am so glad my sister said what needed to be said. I am far from wise, and believe me, there are many times I'd rather not hear hers, or any other person's take on my actions. But I pray that I will hear the Lord's voice when He needs me to return that favor.

"They made me do it." - loved this article

Last week I received the March-April magazine from No Greater Joy. I thoroughly enjoy reading their articles and getting tips on various issues as they share their wisdom. I'm not saying I back them up as I would the Gospel, but they have pointed out lots of things to me through their writings that I needed to hear.

I just wanted to post a paragraph from an article by Michael Pearl.

I found it to be so, well, just right on.

Give sinful men white robes to wear, and some will inevitably alter theirs to be more fashionable or to "stand out". Give men the law of God, and some will teach for doctrines the commandments of men. Teach men about their liberty in Christ, and some will use it to fulfill their lusts. Instruct parents to use the rod to train their children, and some will see it as an excuse to abuse their children. Tell husbands they are the head of their families, and some will feel justified in emotionally and physically abusing their wives and children.. Tell wives to submit to their husbands, and some will tolerate criminal acts against themselves and their children in hopes of being a good help meet. And, if you assure people they have eternal security in Christ, some will sin before sundown. It is the way of humankind, the lot of the fallen sons of Adam and the reason Jesus said, "the road is broad that leads to destruction" and " there will be many which go in thereat." In the day of judgment, no one will be able to point to his teachers and say, "They made me do it." Every man and woman will stand alone before God and give account of the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or bad.

I hope you find it as right on as I did.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Proverbs 6: procrastinator?

So it is becoming a funny joke about my sheet-covered TV.

But after reading today's Proverbs I felt pretty good about our anti-laziness mindset.

6:6-11(Ryrie notes) The wise teacher rebukes the slothful person, who characteristically does not begin things (6:9), does not complete things (12:27), and makes excuses for his laziness (22:13).

When I find a scripture that speaks of something the Lord hates, I'm thinking that is worthy of our attention, right?

6:16-19 NIV

There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

I pray that you will find this daily Proverbs reading as insightful as I have. Ethan is reading us the story of Joseph's brothers bowing down to him now. So, this is the end of blogging for today. I am blessed.

Proverbs 5:hard questions to answer

For those unaware...

When I was 19 years old, on St. Patrick's Day of 2000, I found out that I would be bringing my firstborn into the world that year.

I was young, unstable, rebellious, selfish, corrupt, ignorant, naive, and more importantly, still "going to church". I do not brag about my past as though the Lord came down and miraculously picked me up out of this sin pit of crazy drinking and drugs and now I am as clean as the fresh snow. I have never really been ok with people thinking that only wild and crazy girls fall into this sin trap and become young, unwed mothers. I tell the story of not a lifestyle of sin, but a lifestyle of straddling the fence.

You see, although I was the negatives I first mentioned, I wasn't the latter. I wasn't living a "lifestyle" of the partying and immaturity that one would assume breeds illegitimate children. I was living at home with mom and dad, working, and although I had been guilty of the occasional partying, at this time in my life I was honestly trying to live much better. That was the problem. I was trying. Not submitting.

I spent the rest of that spring, summer, and early fall feeling the joy of carrying a miracle, and the pain and heartache of being a disappointment, and a hypocrite, to all those I faced at church every week.

Ethan was born in November of 2000, and shortly after he was born my rebellion and selfishness drove me again. I lived the first year of his life just trying to prove to people I could do it all on my own. I loved him, of course I loved him, but I wasn't being the mother he deserved. Man, that was one of the hardest things I've ever typed. Whoa, tears, lump in throat, ouch.....ok.....moving on.

Just after his first birthday, I began seeing Greg. Greg was wonderful to both myself, and to Ethan. I started feeling a security blanket of having a man to complete my dysfunctional family. We dated for a few months, and just as I let my guard down to think that the Lord had given me another chance at normalcy, Greg decided he couldn't handle becoming a father and a husband so soon. As painful as those few months without him were, it is funny to me that exactly a year from the day we split up, we had been married 6 weeks, and I was nursing our 2 week old Emma Rae.

Although we were attending church, even helping out with Bible School the summer Emma was conceived, we allowed ourselves to spend too much alone time together. That is why when people laugh at the thought of courtship, or at encouraging boys and girls to wait til they are 18 or older to date altogether, I want to scream, "Why wasn't I told that?"

Why is all of this relevant to Proverbs 5? When reading it to Ethan and Emma yesterday morning, stopping and paraphrasing for them after every few verses, he asked, "So, you are only supposed to have children with one person?"


"But I had Bill for a dad, before daddy, and Emma had daddy from the beginning?"


"Was I at your wedding?"


The real question my 8 yr old was probably wondering, but graceful enough to not ask, is "Well, why do you have 2 children by 2 different people if you aren't supposed to?"

My answer would be, "Because I didn't head my mother and father's instruction. I didn't hide God's word in my heart that I might not sin against Him. I read the Bible occasionally, but I didn't submit my life to Him as we are to do. And because of that, I suffered a great deal of pain from the consequences of my sin, and now you, my son, will suffer pain because of your mother's sin." No matter how great of a relationship Ethan has with Greg, and believe me, it is wonderful, Ethan will always have to deal with the fact that his biological father chose to not be a part of his life.

5:11-14 (again from Ryrie) Loose living consumes one's strength(perhaps through disease, v. 11), activates one's conscience (vv.12-13), and brings public disgrace(v.14).

Read Proverbs to your children. Pray for them. Train them. Teach them about submission to the Holy Spirit. Hold them accountable.
And if you do these things, and they are as rebellious as I was, and they end up in sin....Read Proverbs to them, pray for them, train them, and teach them about submission to the Holy Spirit. God is faithful. My sin caused problems in my family that I cannot even begin to explain, especially with my father. Not one, but two children conceived in sin, that is a lot for a Christian father to forgive. But we now all have a wonderful fellowship together, especially my husband and my father. God is faithful.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Proverbs 4 - not a self-help book

Wisdom provides us with many benefits:(this is coming straight from my Ryrie, I tried to paraphrase...but it is just isn't working) watchcare and honor (1-9) guidance in the way of righteousness (10-19) and life, health and integrity (20-27)

I once heard an example of integrity being explained as though it is a complete circle. A complete unit or entity. That means there is no room for interruption in its completeness. No room for a small break in the circle, or it is no longer whole. Just like an integer, a whole number that can only be divided by itself. So what does this whole stuff mean to me? Well, I have found that a person of integrity has to be the Real Deal...the whole package...all that and a bag of chips...how do they get that way? What keeps a person from being those things?

If there is one small thing that breaks up the circle, they are toast, huh? You know this to be true. You've been in a circle of friends where you liked someone, thought they were charming and a sincere person. Then you've seen or heard them do something that shocked you. You never viewed them in the same light. They had a crack in their circle. No longer worthy of the description, a person of integrity.

How do I believe we achieve that description? Submission.

Submission to our Sovereign God who indwells us with the Holy Spirit. Not in a way that causes us to be chaotic or to act out emotionally at every little fleshly tug in our gut, but in a stable Christ-like manner that is seen by the world as we live our faith out loud. I believe that the reason I love Proverbs so much is because it is so practical. But we mustn't allow it to be come a Self-Help Book. We must instead realize that the only way to strive for integrity is to take us out of the picture. More of Christ's attitude, more of Christ's example, more of Christ's wisdom, for this is the only way. The crack in our human circle is proof that no one human can be a person of integrity without the Holy Spirit. For I can do all things through Christ with strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Let us not do this so that we will be described as a person with integrity here on earth, but rather so that we will be able to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service. Romans 12:1

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3

I pray we do not do good to be seen as good. I pray we do not read Proverbs to be seen as wise. I pray we read and study, so that the Holy Spirit can make us what we were designed to be, a living sacrifice. Get off your high horse if you are thinking that you are a good person for studying, or for helping someone, or for praying - none of this is you doing anything! Instead, find a joy in serving Christ by submission to God through the Holy Spirit, to God be the Glory.

Okay - so that was just the first verses of Proverbs and a variety of other stuff, but like I advised earlier, let the Lord lead your devotions, you will be blessed for it. I know I was during this short study.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Proverbs 3

My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. 1-2

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 7-8

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 9-10

Do not say to your neighbor, "Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow" when you now have it with you. 28

The way I see it, the citizens of the United States of America are exactly where we have chosen to be. Those who have forgotten the commands and teachings of their elders are living lives shortened by stress caused by lack of prosperity.

Everyone seems to think they are extremely smart and I haven't seen much shunning of evil, more like embracing it! America is the only country where the poverty level citizens are far from showing their ribs from starvation. Not so healthy, eh?

Is God getting what is left out of our paychecks these days? Then don't be surprised when you aren't getting the raise you have been praying for.

Are you "sharing your wealth" with someone who doesn't have what you have, and is in need? As I'm typing this, my husband just went in and got his friend Cliff some of the cake I just made for him to take it home. My first "made from scratch" chocolate cake and icing was pretty tasty this evening after our cheeseburger and fried tater dinner. His friend Cliff struggles with depression and is often found stopping by our home to see what was for dinner. He lives alone and we are the closest thing the man has to a family. As they were wrapping up conversation, Greg wanted to make sure he sent him home with some of that rich chocolate we got to enjoy. My husband makes me smile when he imitates Christ in such a giving way.

I am loving this time the Lord is blessing us with as a family.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Proverbs a day keeps the excuses away...

I read a pretty good book last week. Written by Michelle & Jim Bob Duggar, it tells their secrets of running their home in a frugal manner, and also the faith they are living out loud as a part of the Quiverfull movement. Although I cannot honestly say I have found myself to be convicted in all the same ways, I am finding lots of good tips in their book. Recipes, family chore ideas, and home school tips, just to name a few.

The one that we have applied the last 8 days, and I have grown extremely excited about, is reading a chapter from Proverbs that corresponds with the day of the month. We started last Monday with Proverbs 23 and since we only had 28 days this month, we read 29, 30, 31, and 1 last night.

I have found that Proverbs is addictive. I studied it some last fall, and honestly, I got out of my routine when I hurt my knee and hadn't got back in it!

However, the children and I read it in the morning with our breakfast. Then before bedtime, Greg reads it to us again. We pull out verses we liked, or verses we didn't understand, and then we talk about areas in our lives where we should have practiced more self-control or more wisdom.

However, the biggest thing for me is the the practical application there is in that book. It is not as easy to give into a temptation when you have this fresh scripture in your head that is saying, "If you do this - you are lazy and lacking in self-control, you are better to put a knife to your throat!!!"

I challenge you to try this. I know we all have our own devotions that we like to do. Hopefully you rely more on God to point you in the right direction as far as what scriptures you should dive into for the day instead of just The Daily Bread booklets or a devotional that someone else thinks was good for March 3rd. Or just reading 1 chapter from Proverbs because it is the same # as the day of the month, for that matter!

Now I also want to mention that I'm still really stuck on these thoughts I've had for the past year since Christy Mlekodaj (a missionary friend the Lord blessed me with) shared with me a study they were doing at church about relying more on being lead by the Spirit than trying to personally change your ways to do this or do that. The Word should be our main line of communication that the Spirit can use, it isn't like you're gonna get a neon sign saying, "Stop being lazy. Please turn TV off, computer off, and even the phone off and spend some time with me this evening."!!!

Read Proverbs 3 on March 3rd, and if you have a scripture that jumps out at you, share it with us!

Again - don't just read that and pat yourself on the back like you've just done a good deed for the day! Pray about areas where the Lord needs to strengthen your spiritual artillery, and then get to studying!

What am I studying along with Proverbs??? Submission. All the way around. Submission to Christ, submission to Greg, and even submission to authority that I have a tendency to rebel against.

Ignorance is bliss. This is kinda true, ya know it? There are some things that I may not feel as convicted about, simply because I haven't studied it as I should. But after reading something in the morning, hearing it at night, and then praying that God uses it to help me keep from conforming to the world, man, I'm tellin' ya, a Proverbs a day keeps the excuses away!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Off my crutches...

I met with my surgeon on Tuesday and my Physical Therapist Wednesday this week. I was given the okay to go off my crutches and to get out of my brace!

I'm about 3 weeks ahead of schedule with my recovery. I was given the release to do therapy only once every other week. But of course I have to do about 45 minutes of exercises and stretches every day. I'm guessing because I've been doing that for the last 4 weeks, the Lord is blessing my efforts, and that is why I'm bouncing back so fast.

I can start a light workout routine back up this week. I can do the stationary bike, elliptical, light weights for lower body, upper body and abs.

Somehow, I have actually managed to lose about 6 lbs since surgery. I don't know how, but I'm grateful for the boost towards being healthier!!

I still have about 9 months til I can get back to doing some of the things I did before like shooting ball, playing volleyball, and kickboxing might be more than a year away. But I can start swimming again, so I'm just ready for summer.

As always, thank you so much for your prayers! I'm telling you, I don't know how a knee can go through all of that and survive. But God is still in the business of healing and providing, even if I didn't have to go visit Benny Henn.

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List

By Deborah Markus, from Secular Homeschooling Magazine, Issue #1, Fall 2007

*1 - Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is — and it is — it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?*

2 - Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.

*3 - Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.

*4 - Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

*5 - If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.

*6 - Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

*7 - We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

*8 - Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.

*9 - Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.

*10 - We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

*11 - Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.

*12 - If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

*13 - Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.

*14 - Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

*15 - Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.

*16 - Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

*17 - Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.

*18 - If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

*19 - Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.

*20 - Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

*21 - Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's homeschooled.

*22 - Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.

*23 - Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.

*24 - Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

*25 - Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!

This is so funny! It is exactly how I feel sometimes. My prayer is I'll remember the grace that God has given me, so that I can answer with the grace He would want me to offer to others!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Started my Physical Therapy

Thank you to so many who are praying for me as I continue to heal from my surgery. I know that the Lord is giving me strength and is teaching me patience throughout this ordeal.

I just wanted to do a quick update on my recovery.

I started physical therapy this past Monday. They gave me a series of stretches and exercises to do daily. Although they are painful, I can feel the difference it is making.

I go back to see the surgeon next Tuesday. I am hoping to get the ok to just report in for therapy once a week. It is expensive and time consuming to do be there twice every week, especially when this could last 3 months. We shall see.

I helped Greg with dinner this evening, which felt nice. I started driving again this week, and I'm feeling more stable on my knee as the days go by.

The incision healed incredibly well, although that scar is crooked, it hasn't bothered me at all.

I am still on crutches, and from what I understand, I will be for at least another 3 weeks.

I'm not sleeping well at all,(note it is 4:11 am right now). Since Monday I have been experiencing quite a bit of pain in my thigh. The therapist said it is probably where my bone is healing around the screw and anchor. It comes and goes, but for some reason, I'm just not able to rest well.

Although, since I've not slept at all tonight, I am starting to get sleepy. So, I will end this blog and hopefully get a few hours of sleep!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hope to get a comment or maybe two!!!

Almost two weeks ago, I made an attempt to stir up some discussion amongst us.

I described 3 different types of communicators, and asked that you try to figure out which one best described you. I had hoped that it would break the ice and I would have a few of you leave comments on whether you were a Q, R, or G.

I was bummed that you were all Qs and couldn't even muster up the courage to admit it. But I'll give you another chance!

Here is just one scripture that I feel touches on communication.

James 1:26
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

This verse packs a big punch, eh?

Of course we know that we are supposed to watch what we say! Hello! We know that gossip is wrong. We know that cursing is wrong. We know that nagging our spouses is wrong. We know that telling an off-color joke is wrong. We know that telling a lie is wrong.

We know that we should speak up for Christ when given the chance. We know we should share His message with the lost. We know that we should disciple new believers. We know that we should encourage those who are hurting with kind words.

We know that we should pray.

So, I'm curious.

When was the last time you spoke about someone in a way that wasn't pleasing to the Lord?

When was the last time you expressed frustration with words that you probably wouldn't have used if your pastor was by your side?

When was the last time you used words that annoyed, frustrated, or even ridiculed your spouse?

When was the last time you forwarded a joke to select few, but again, chose to not share that with the pastor?

When was the last time you exaggerated the truth ever-so-slightly?

When was the last time you took a verbal stand for Christ?

When was the last time you were able to sit down and share God's love and forgiveness with a lost person?

When was the last time you took time to disciple a new Christian?

When was the last time you went out of your way to express sincere concern for someone in need of encouragement?

When was the last time you really talked with God?

I have often taken spells where I get into writing in my journal. I write down my thoughts from the day, events from the day, and even what I ate. Just the act of writing it down helps me to be more aware of what is going on in my life. When I am really serious about having a more balanced diet, I keep a food journal. I can't question why I'm up a few lbs if I have concrete notes stating I ate 4 slices of pizza for dinner 5 times this week! What makes it even more effective, is when I would turn it into the trainer at the gym. I don't want them thinking I am too weak to abstain from overindulging, so I can either lie and eat bad, or I can eat in a way that I don't mind admitting to.

Are you communicating in a way that you don't mind admitting to?

If you kept a journal of things you were saying, or things that you should have said, would you be embarrassed to share it with me?

Maybe you are a Q who is struggling with being more vocal with your faith.

Maybe you are a R who needs to go out of your way more often to disciple and encourage others.

Maybe you are a G who needs to practice more submission to Christ's authority when speaking.

If you are like me, and you answered these questions, but don't want to share your answers with any humans anytime soon, I hope you will share them with the Lord. I pray that it will encourage you to spend more time in His word learning ways to be more like Him.

If you feel comfortable, leave a comment with your thoughts on this post. Share another scripture, or even a testimony as to how God is using you and your style of communicating for His glory.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Educate yourself on your children's education

"What did you learn in school today?"

This is a question asked by thousands of parents around our nation around 6pm every single day.

I know when Ethan was in the public school system for 2 years, I asked him that a number of times. But I never really got an answer.

I trusted that the lovely teachers who were spending so much time with him had his best interests in mind, and that he was learning things that any 5 or 6 year old should learn.

But as Ethan was approaching the end of Kindergarten, I had to confront myself with a truth I had been struggling with. Why is someone else doing my job? God gave me and Greg Ethan and Emma as gifts. Gifts that we are to train, to educate, to disciple in such a way that God is ultimately glorified.

At 4 months, do we send our newborn away to a school to learn how to roll over?
At 8 months, do we send our baby away to a school to learn how to crawl or to walk?
At 1 years, do we send our toddler away to a school to learn how to talk?
At 2 years, do we send our little girl to a school to be taught how to go to the potty?

Then what PROGRAMS us to enroll our 4 year olds in Pre-School? By law, we don't have to enroll children into an educational program until they are 6. So why do we start them out at 4? Well everyone else is doing it????

Most people say they need the income of two parents to make ends meet, and that school helps with child care. I'd like to know then, are all these people out of work suddenly pulling their children out of school?

I'm not trying to be condescending. I know some of you reading this have children in a school system outside of your home, and I would hope you know I'm not attacking your parenting ability. I have every right to speak up on this issue, I had a very poor view of home-schooling not that long ago. I read many articles like this one I am writing, and I thought to myself, who are you to judge me? I hope that you are involved in their education outside of the school, and that you are more concerned with the condition of their heart than you are their ability to add and subtract. Just don't trust that the school system knows what is best for your child. You know what is best for them, and we need to ensure that we are just as involved in their training as their teachers are.

At 4 years old, I sent my Ethan into a school with hundreds of strangers to learn how to socialize. Right? Isn't that why we do it? That is what they say Pre-School is for. To learn how to interact with other children and to learn some basic skills in order to be able to function well in Kindergarten. Question: Why would I want hundreds of strangers to teach my son how to behave? Why didn't I just teach him how to behave? When a kid gets in trouble in his teen years, do the parents say, "I'm sorry, he has been running around with me and his dad and, well, I just don't know what has gotten into him." Or do they say, "He's a good kid, he has just gotten in with the wrong crowd."? Where did that wrong crowd come from? Yes, that is right, that crowd is the crowd you asked to teach your Johnny how to behave.

This is hard to swallow for some. Believe me, when I was facing the idea that I would give up a career I had worked so hard to build so that I could be full-time mom and full-time educator, I was confused. I was close to having my schedule opened up to mornings at the gym, lunches with friends, and afternoons of chores before an evening and night of children. Now I would go into weeks, months, years of having my children by my side. Oh my, can you picture the majority of moms at the soccer field screeching in horror as you paint the picture of being expected to tend to your children's needs all day long? I hear moms complain about summer because they will have to deal with their offspring. A snow day to some is exciting because they can sleep in and don't have to be annoyed with getting their children off to school, to others it is a nightmare because they will be the ones expected to entertain their gifts for the day.

I know this seems harsh. Maybe you will read this and become upset with me and never visit my site again. I will say I am sorry if you feel such anger because of my questions or my challenges.

But if you are set on your children receiving an education outside of their home, please, take the time to educate yourself on your child's education. Know what their science books are going to tell them about us coming to life through evolution. Know what their health books are going to tell them about reproduction. Know what their kindergarten reading books are going to teach them about same-sex marriages. Yes, you heard me right.

This will shock you, but my dear reader, anytime now - it could be your 5 year old reading about a young Prince finding himself another fine Prince to have as his husband.

Everybody wants to be a winner!!

So here is your chance.

The gentleman that has the power to make you a winner, is married to an awesome woman, and has a gift for conveying unique information.

Enjoy his & hers literary work, and hopefully you'll get to congratulate me when I win the drawing.

My investment of thought for the day...

I stumbled upon a blog sometime back and began following to gain inspiration from a fellow homeschooling mama.

Today when I logged in and read her latest post, I was intrigued with what I found.

So, I took a few moments to check out the first article, and decided to throw a comment in there to give some support to Ms. Stringer.

You can read my comment there, it was my investment of thought for the day.

I signed in under the username Cadle.

After you finish with that, I hope you'll find time to read the first post of hers that I read.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

the activity of conveying information

Hello my faithful followers who demonstrate your support by visiting my spot of blogging and create in me an experience that is altogether warm and fuzzy by making your presence known with a sincere comment that encourages me to keep on writing to appreciate...

I have lots of thoughts stirring around in my head today. I have been on and off writing almost all day, and I'm honestly struggling with the activity of conveying this information.

But here goes nothing...

The topic is communication.

I'm going to describe a few different types of communicators. After you read the descriptions, I ask that you try to figure out which one you relate to the most.

The first is Q - for the quiet person.

A Q is one who just simply doesn't feel the need to voice everything that pops in their head. A Q may giggle over a joke, or even add a story to a conversation if asked, but for the most part they are just more comfortable with someone else leading the conversation. Is a Q always just shy? I know of some Qs who do not feel as confident in their ability to communicate and so their level of interaction with people may vary on the environment. Some may be extremely secure in their ability to communicate and therefore feel no reason to talk just to talk. They may have strong beliefs and convictions, and yet are content to keep it to themselves. Silence in a room of a few people isn't so awkward that Q would begin a conversation just to break the ice. One thing is for sure, a Q rarely has to walk out of a room or hang up the phone asking themselves, "Why on earth did I say that? When will I learn to shut my mouth?"

The second is R - for the reserved person.

I am related to a spitting image of a reserved person but I will hold off on naming her in case she reads this and wants to try to label herself on her own. The "R" person may have strong beliefs and convictions, and they probably don't need to be given an electric volt in order to voice them. I would say that most feel secure in their ability to communicate, but don't have any desire to dominate the conversation. When needed, they could step up and lead a group in a discussion but know when to take a seat and be taught rather than to teach. Speaking isn't something they typically do without thinking and rationalizing first. Therefore, they typically can avoid leaving a room asking themselves the above named questions.

The third is G - for the gabby person.

I have found that a G is typically unable to tolerate silence in a room of a few people, they must break the ice with conversation and then continue to either dominate or facilitate until the very end. There is no question as to if a G does or does not have strong beliefs or convictions, if G does have them, you will need to administrate an electric shock to stop hearing about them and their point of origin. Details are necessary for the shortest of stories. If you already have a G in mind, you know that sometimes you just have to give them that extra hour to finish the 3 minute story or your interruptions may give them a moment to remember something else they must share with you. A G is comfortable leading a group discussion, and probably interrupts often if it is being lead by someone else. The G will almost certainly walk away from every conversation asking the question,"Why on earth did I say that? When will I learn to shut my mouth?"

Communication - the activity of conveying information.

I am a recovering G. Almost all my life I really thought that it was just who I was and that I needed to embrace it rather than feel insecure about it. I finally realized that the insecurity I felt over it was the Holy Spirit trying to help me find a style of conveying information that could help others to see more of Christ and less of Jamie.

Old habits die hard, and I still have days where I wish I wouldn't have been so vocal, but I am hoping that maturity in Christ will create a more reserved spirit within me.

I am grateful to God that, in spite of my flaws, He is still working in me and through me. There have been times when I have had a few people asking me about leading a Bible Study, or ladies from my church who thanked me for something that I may have offered up as we studied together in a group. The Lord hasn't called me to do any of those things right now, and I am quite content with being a keeper of the home that is ministering daily to the needs of my husband and children.

Since I am not going to be starting up my own cult anytime soon, I have been entertaining an idea of sharing some things I am learning here on the blog.

Now, I want to be careful here. I do not want to start a Bible Blog Club that would tempt someone to just read it, comment back, maybe look up a scripture and it just become another drive-thru devotional to add to their ever-slowing digestive system. Some of you may have a daily time that you set aside to study God's word. Some of you might be slacking in that department and need to quit trying to justify why you aren't in God's word in between church services. I am guilty of times where I have let life, hobbies, schooling, and even laziness deafen the voice of my heavenly father who desires more time with me in prayer and the reading of His word. I pray that you and I will be challenged to make that a top priority in our lives.

The objective of starting this will be to open up the lines of communication so that you feel okay sharing whether you are a Q, R, or a G.

The topic of communication is my first attempt at getting your brain going.

Find a passage that gives us an idea of how our Lord wants us to communicate, and what type of information should we be conveying.

I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I shouldn't have...

After surviving my check-up on Wednesday and taking the kids to their annual check-ups on Friday, of course with the help of my paternal chauffeur, I was feeling a little brave yesterday. Maybe too brave?

I woke up around 8:00 to get a shower and get ready for Ethan's game. I was feeling so much better because Friday I had managed to get in the downstairs bathroom and get a shower all by myself. All of us got ready and headed to Ethan's basketball game at The Place, I was feeling really good and was so relieved to be able to get around so much better than the previous Saturday's game.

It turned out that Ethan's team would be playing against the team of Kaitlyn Sweeney. Kaitlyn is Kelly's daughter. Kelly and I had been the bestest of best friends from first grade up. Although the years of jobs and motherhood have kept us from talking and seeing each other on a regular basis, it seems no time is lost when I run into her at sporting events throughout the year. It is as if we are back in high school as we chat each other up about the current phases of life we are experiencing. It was a great game. Ethan's team didn't pull off a victory, although they don't officially keep score, Kaitlyn's team dominated and we had to swallow our pride to admit defeat. Okay, so I'm a little dramatic about it, but I'm telling you, I find great happiness in watching my son play ball.

After the game, I knew Greg would want to grab some food before picking up some groceries and heading home. I thought it best to go ahead and use the restroom at The Place than having to wander around a slippery restaurant floor with my crutches. As I attempted to exit the restroom stall, my extremely handy cell phone slipped out of my sweatshirt pocket and was swept off by the current of the massively strong toilet. I've heard of folks dropping their phones in the toilet, I spent almost 2 years working at US Cellular, I heard lots of things. But actually managing to flush it down the toilet...geez...

Greg found it quite amusing. Let us pause for a moment as we try extremely hard to imagine my husband finding humor in this situation. Okay, I'm done, are you done? As we drove down the hill leaving the gym, he cupped his hand to his ear and looked over at the culvert swearing he heard it ringing.

Moving on.

We went straight to US Cellular where they confirmed my dreaded thoughts...I had remembered calling and taking off a few bells and whistles to lower our phone bill because of my surgery. I knew that I would be at home more than anything in the upcoming months and therefore thought it would be in my best interest to drop the insurance I had on my phone. Um, yeah, well, enough said. I had just purchased this phone back in October. It had cost me almost $200. I had ruined my ipod by accidentally running it through the washer, so I wanted a phone that would also work as a music player. It wasn't too fancy, but it served it's purpose perfectly. I had hundreds of #s stored in it. And now it was gone, and I was paying $110 for a used phone to try to take it's place.

We ate lunch and decided to make the best of our time, we would split up and I would go to Wal-Mart while he went to Sams to get the few items on our list. Greg dropped off Ethan and myself at Wal-Mart. I had every intention of getting one of those scooters and attempting to not humiliate myself by pulling a back and forth Austin Powers episode in front of a Saturday shopping crowd. But I just couldn't bring myself to do it. So, with my faithful silver crutches, we headed off to pick up 5 things. He dropped me off at the grocery side. We walked over to get some pencils and erasers for school, then to get nail polish, then to get a mini sd card for my phone(my other one was now in the sewer), then all the way to the back to get yogurt, and finally back up to get lettuce and to check out. All this time Ethan is pushing the cart while I am walking about 1 step per minute. On the way to retrieve the lettuce, I started to feel my leg giving out. It was getting really heavy and my brace was feeling really tight. We checked out and when i got in the car I realized that I had made a huge mistake. My thoughts were a little walking wouldn't hurt, and would maybe even be good for me.

I was wrong.

We came straight home and I put on some shorts and assumed my position on my reclining couch. My leg was huge. I'm talking HUGE! From the back of my knee down to my toes my leg was bulging. I removed the brace and just couldn't believe how tight my skin was. It was extremely painful and I was just so angry that I had went from feeling so much better to having to prop it up and ice it again.

I spent all of the evening, night, and this morning with it propped up, and also icing it as often as I could. I wanted to be back at church really bad today, but there was just no way. I called the ER last night and talked with a nurse. He said to stay off of it for 24 hrs and then to ease myself back in to walking.

Greg was really disappointed with me for walking all that way in Wal-Mart, he kept saying that he thought I was going to get a scooter, and he wouldn't have dropped me off had he known that I was going to walk it. He was right, it was dumb, and I was paying for it. But in my defense, I thought a little exercise would be good for it.

It is almost 10 this Sunday morning, and here I am in the bed getting ready to eat a bacon biscuit that my husband just brought me.

I don't know if you ever find yourself doing this, but at night when I lay my head down, I do what I call a little emotion evaluation. I just kinda run through what is going on with the relationships in my life to see if there is a little something out of whack that I should work on the next day. The typical things like me and Greg, me and the kids, the people I talked to that day, the people I should have talked to that day, and then I usually pray and drift off to sleep. If there is something not right, and it is something that I have done and I can't fix, I have a hard time just praying and going to sleep. Let's face it, there are worse things that could happen to me than flushing my phone down the toilet or having a swollen leg, but because I caused those things and I can't fix it, it troubles me. I mean it really troubles me.

I find myself wallowing in regret. Now, I know that I shouldn't. I know that the Lord would want me to be focused on my blessings, to be thankful for so many good things going on in my life while others around me are currently suffering major heartache. But I have to admit that I struggle with forgiving myself for doing stupid things. I pray that I will start remembering that as a child of God, He has a purpose for me, and I am getting in the way of that purpose with my ignorant self pity.

Alrighty then, my biscuit is getting cold.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's all in your head :) That's nice

I had crazy dreams last night, and even though I did get some rest, I was seriously tempted to call and cancel my check-up appointment this morning. I would say that due to the weather I just can't make that trip to Princeton.

Then I opened the blinds and realized it was disturbingly clear outside. There went that plan.

We began getting ready, which is just kinda slow and awkward with my brace and crutches, when we realized my keys weren't anywhere to be found! My dad was coming to my house to drive us to Princeton in my van. Looking for keys on crutches is really hard. Up and down all around and the keys weren't anywhere to be found. As soon as my dad got here, he said, "Wouldn't YOUR keys be in YOUR purse?" I said, "No, I haven't driven in almost 2 weeks, so they would definitely not be in my purse."

So you know where they were now, don't you?

In my purse - of course they were in my purse, this wouldn't be worth typing if they weren't in my purse!

I got into the exam room and a lovely little lady with long fake nails came in to help me get up on the exam table. She said, "Oh, you have stitches, we'll get those out." She came back with a paper towel, tweezers, and scissors. She said, "This may sting a little bit." Then she took the tweezers and pulled my skin up and apart as she snipped the fishing line that was holding my skin together. um-ouch All the while she was poking my incision with her long nails.

The surgeon was out of town this week, so my check-up was with his Physician's Assistant Greg. We had met him at a previous appointment, and I just wanted to know if my leg should be able to do more than what it is doing, so that was fine.

They took X-rays and I got to see the cute little screws in my bones. yuck

They had me take off my brace and then lay back while he tried to bend my knee. um - ouch

He explained that there is only one problem with my post-surgery situation.

I'm a scaredy cat, and I'm holding back on my leg for fear of what might happen.

He demonstrated this by having me let my leg hang over the side of the table. I was extremely scared and kept wincing at the slightest feeling of discomfort. After letting it hang on it's own for a minute, I realized that it wasn't that bad. Thus the diagnosis - it's all in my head.

In my defense, I didn't exactly know what I could or couldn't do, or what I should or shouldn't expect it to be able to do. That was why I wanted to quiz him and then I could feel better about it. I did quiz him, quite a bit actually. Since he does everything except for the actuall surgery, he was probably not prepared for all my questions about what they did to my knee to remove the graft and then to reinstall the graft with drills and screws and anchors into my bones!! um-ouch After all, I've watched it on YouTube, I knew what I was talking about, did he?

I feel much better after finding out that I'm just making it worse in my head.

I'm on the road to recovery and will start my re-hab this coming week.

I can put 25% of my weight on it this week, 50% next week, 75% the next week and then full weight bearing for 2 weeks with crutches.

So I actually will be able to get off of my crutches if all goes well in about 5 to 6 weeks.

The numb feeling that is weirding me out is because of a nerve they cut during surgery. I may or may not get feeling back, which really isn't that big of a deal.

I should be able to lift it within the next week or so, and the Physical Therapist will help me with ways to try to keep the strength up so I don't lose all my muscle tone throughout the next 6 months. However, he did say I am losing a lot of muscle tone and it will be hard to get it back to where I was before.

I love a good challenge.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Thanks for a better day!

So - my dad graciously agreed last night that he would escort me, kinda like driving miss daisy, to my hair appointment today. As well as help me get up and down my steps, which was what I was the most nervous about! Then considering the snow and ice today, I decided I probably shouldn't attempt the journey.

We spent the day inside, again, but it was a better day. I was able to get in some decent sleep last night, and that seems to be a good thing these days.

Right around 12 I realized that I had to come up with a way to get us lunch!! Ethan had fixed us cereal for breakfrast, but I still am a little uneasy on those lovely silver crutches. I have a phobia of spilling out on the floor and trying to coach Ethan through calling me in some help!

Of course I am the baby of 3 girls, so I called up my ever-spoiling, ever-helping, ever-wonderful mommy. And she did what she does best, she sent my dad over with Wendy's!

YAY, a baked potato and a chicken sandwich and I was a happy girl.

Thank you Mom and Dad - the best part of being down is having a reason for them to wait on me hand and foot!

It's almost 8 pm and Greg should be home soon, so that will make it an even better day.

My daddy will be taking me to the doctor tomorrow so we will have him to get us lunch. I will be attempting to fix chili for tomorrow evening...I have faith I can do it!

I'll let ya know what the dr says about my crooked scar tomorrow.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Been home over a week now...

It is almost 7 on a Monday evening. My crazy pug is running from the front door to the back barking at noises he hears outside because for once, there aren't any noises inside.

It is just the pug and me right now.

Ethan had basketball practice, so my mom was gracious enough to come straight here after working almost 12 hrs, to take him since Greg isn't home yet. Emma wanted to tag along, of course. Which leaves me sitting on my couch all by my lonesome.

One thing that is going in our favor during this downtime is the amount of true "teaching" I am getting done. I am able to put so much time into each of our lessons that our schooling is turning out to be quite productive.

My leg is another story. I cannot lift it on my own. I wouldn't have ever thought about this being such a problem, but it is.

I physically cannot raise it. I have to grab the end of brace, towards my ankle, and tug on it to pull it up on the foot rest of the couch, or onto my bed.

The incision hasn't caused me any problems, but I am only able to bend it ever-so-slightly, and I'm starting to get concerned that it being straight for over a week has made it so stiff that I'm in for some serious pain when I start my rehab.

I cannot walk, not even one step, without my crutches. What does that mean? I cannot go into the kitchen to whip up a little something, or to even pour myself a drink, or I could maybe pour it I just couldn't carry it back to my seat. I cannot carry anything from one room to another, therefore, tidying up on my own is impossible.

So, I'm seriously looking forward to Wednesday's check-up appointment so that I can find out why I can't lift my leg. That is the only exercise that they specifically tell you to do the first 10 days after surgery, and I'm thinking I may have a small problem if I physically can't do it....hmmm...we shall see.

The help I have received from family and friends has been wonderful! My parents helped keep my children last weekend, then my sister Tarah came over on Monday and made some chili amongst other odds and ends, my sister Indy sent me an edible arrangement as well as bringing me lunch today after taking my children to their Gym n Swim class at the YMCA. A friend, Betsy, made some chicken pot pie for us on Thursday and another friend Lisa made us lasagna for Friday. My mom had a roast, potatos, and carrots delivered from the Butcher Block on Saturday - so thanks to all these folks, we have been taken care of quite well!

I go to the doctor Wednesday am, so I will post another update after that.

Tomorrow I have to go out for my hair appointment, on my own, with 2 kids. I'm not quite sure how I will get up or down the steps on my crutches without Greg's help, and I'm not quite sure how I will get in and out of the van, I do think I'll be okay driving though.

Prayers are appreciated!