Friday, November 30, 2007

Our First Holiday Party

Tonight is our first Christmas party with our Sunday School class -- no kids, just all grown ups with lots of hors d'oeuvres and a little Dirty Santa. Maybe even a little Not So Newlywed game. We missed last years party because it was our anniversary.

That's right. Six years tomorrow, but sometimes it seems so much longer;) We don't even know where we're going to eat yet, but I'm sure it will be anniversary-worthy. Last year, we ate at Bonefish Grill. It was brand new then, and the normal wait was 2-3 hours for a table. Good thing Beef called ahead for reservations.

It's almost time for us to leave for the party. Scamp is staying with her Meme and Papa tonight and her Nana and Pa tomorrow night, so lots of alone time for Beef and myself.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thankful Over Thanksgiving

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I always think about what I'm thankful for. Normally, it's for my family and friends, the time we have together, and God's love. But, this year we've had a couple other more immediate needs that God met that have made me even more thankful for His presence.

Thanksgiving night, I went to bed fairly early since I was going to be getting up with Scamp the next morning. Beef was going to bed soon there after, but when I awoke at midnight, he was outside. Our heat had went out, and it was only blowing cold air. The temperature was dropping rapidly outside and now inside our home. But, Beef stayed up to 1:30 am working outside on the unit to make sure we did have the heat we needed. He worked on it most the next day until a technician came out and fixed it for us.

I'm reminded of the verses Matthew 6:25-27. "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?"

God will provide our every need. In this case, He made sure we stayed warm.

The next day, Beef, Scamp and I were driving through town when we came upon an intersection. The light was turning yellow as we went under, and out to our left, another car was coming straight towards us through their red light. I put my hands up to cover my face and pray, "Lord, help us" while every bit of my being braced itself for the impact. But the collision never came. I opened my eyes to find Beef had gotten us safely across, thanks to God, of course. I was so thankful (and still a little anxious) for God sparing us that I teared up.

"Ask and it will be given to you..." Matthew 7:7. I believe God sent His angels to spare us from harm.

Thank you for Your love, Your mercy, and Your protection. I pray that I would remember these times to know that I can always trust in You. You will meet my every need. Thank you for Your grace most of all, for sending Your Son to die upon the cross for our sins so that we could have an eternal relationship with You. And thank you for my husband who sees to it that Scamp and I are safe.
In Jesus' name,

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Confesions of an Irritable Mother

Confessions of an Irritable Mother: Hope for the Overwhelmed Mom by author and friend, Karen Hossink, was an uplifting and encouraging book that spoke to my often weary soul.

Throughout her book, Karen is open and honest about her own battles of being a mother of three and shares how God is using those times to refine her into the holy vessel He desires her to be. God often spoke to me through her experiences as well as the many Bible verses and songs Karen included that have helped her along the way.

She has shared her heart along with the tears she's cried over being deemed the "Meanest Mom in the world?" But, she has seen God's hope and grace even through the mouths of her children. She wants you to experience the same hope and healing and come to realize that God is using this time of your life of being a mother to transform you into the person He wants you to be.

Thank you Karen for opening up your life in order to share God's message of hope for the overwhelmed mom. I, too, am now more aware of God refining me with the trials I have with my daughter and am trying to be the loving, compassionatae mother He wants to transform me into.

Karen also have a very inspirational blog, Surviving Motherhood, where she continues to share God's love. And please check out the Irritable Mother website where you can sign up for Karen's newsletter and receive a free Survival Kit. In addition, Karen is in the process of writing her second book, so be on the lookout for that.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

New Bible Study

Today, Scamp and I began a new weekly Bible study for women held at a local church in town. I am so excited to be apart of such a unique, Bible-based endeavor. It's an international study, and there may be groups meeting at a city near you.

The study lasts for seven years and covers almost all the Bible in that period. Each year begins and ends like a school year. This year we are going through the book of Matthew. Next year will be the life of Moses. We have assigned homework we must complete every week in order to participate in our discussion groups. Scamp, of course, doesn't have a discussion group. But, she too learns a small part of my lesson in her class as well as hymns, Bible verses, and how to have a quiet time with God. I am so thrilled about the teachings she will learn!

The session begins with a group meeting in the sanctuary where we sing hymns and pray, then we are off to our discussion groups, each limited to 15 people. Next, we return to the sanctuary for a lecture on the topics we just discussed. One of the amazing things is that even though we meet at a Baptist church, there are 12 different denominations represented in our group of I'd say over a hundred women. It has been such a blessing, and I've only been twice!

I hope everyone enjoys there Thanksgiving holiday, and remember what the holiday is really centered around -- our Lord and Savior and what He has done for us! Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fall in Motion 2007

What autumn would be complete without pictures of a leaf fight? Alex, Bubby, Scamp and I made a pile of leaves to jump in, meager as it was since Poppy had already raked most of them up and threw them over the fence into the cow pasture. I considered throwing the kids over and letting them have a field day in the huge pile over the fence but thought twice when I spied several ripe and smelly cow pies. I knew the leaf fight would soon end up being a cow poo fight, and ick! Who would want to clean that up?! But, we made do with our tiny pile, and I got some great shots of all the fun. Click on the pictures for an upclose view.
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Friday, November 16, 2007

To All My Blog Buddies

I'm so sorry I haven't been visiting you guys as often as I'd like. I've been busy with our new little venture -- the teen book review blog. So even my posts here are short. I will be around to visit you guys soon.

BTW, we weren't able to go on Girls' Night Out. We had severe thunderstorms with lots of lightening. We are all a little more cautious since one of our own was struck -- such a freak accident . It's still hard to believe.

Today, Scamp and I will be Christmas shopping with my mom and grandmother. It's become a tradition every year that we as well as my sister go clothes shopping and pick out some of our own Christmas presents. Don't get me wrong, I love surprises, but I also loves clothes (that fit) and spending the time with the girls of my family. I need to go get ready, so I'll hopefully be able to do my blog reading rounds very soon. I love you guys!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Not Much to Say

I've got a couple of big posts (or at least posts that will take me awhile to write) coming. But for today, I don't have much to say. I'm a little under the weather so I'm trying to get my rest in. And tonight I have a planned Girls' Night Out with my 3 SILs and my MIL. We wanted to go to the movies, but not much is playing right now. Or at least, no movies I really want to see. I'm not a big fan of graphic scary movies, and there seems to be a lot playing at the theater. So, we may just decide to eat out or do something else fun. Hopefully, we'll choose something where I can sit. I feel pretty drained.

And many of you may have seem my post below about the Teen Book Review blog. We still need more reviewers, but we could also use some ideas. Have any of you read any Teen books lately? The only ones I've read are the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books. So, I will be mostly starting from scratch with teen books. I may read Frank Peretti's teen series, Nightmare Academy. Sounds pretty good anyway.

Well, I'm off to rest.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Happy Birthday, Jill!

Today is Jill's (Who Could Ask for Anything More) birthday. She is such a great writer, and I enjoy all her posts about her family, God, and just everyday stuff in general. She's not afraid to share her opinion, and I love her honesty. Go visit her today and say "Happy Birthday, Jill." I hope you have a blessed day.

And her sweet hubby Doug got a group of her blogging friends to help spread the message. He is my guest writer today, and here it what he wrote about his lovely wife, Jill:

"Birthday’s can be difficult. Milestone birthday’s can be devastating. To some more so than others, but to most people…they really seem to matter, to an extent, anyway. (How’s that for covering both sides of the fence?)

That is most people, except my wife Jill @ Who Could Ask for Anything More. Today is her 40th birthday and my co-conspirators I call BFOJ’s (Blogging Friends of Jill’s) have allowed me the distinct honor of being a guest columnist.

My hope is that wherever my wife goes within her circle of BFOJ’s today, she will see this message and know how much she means to me, not to mention how much the BFOJ’s think of her for letting a grizzled hack like me hijack their fantastic and very personal blogs.

Rather than do the traditional acronym exercise (J = Jazzy!) or the “40 Things I Love About My Wife” entry, I thought I would share the four most wonderful things about Jill -- the things that make me love her more every day.

She loves my older kids – Not everyone who marries into a new family will connect with the entire crew, but Jill never missed a beat. With my older kids, she accepted them and loved them – at first simply because they were my kids – and now because of who they are. She treats them with kindness, respect, gives them guidance on chores and other responsibilities, but is very respectful of their mom and never tries to “mother” them. She educated herself about Bay’s food allergies and is very cognizant of his limitations when planning and preparing meals. Rarely a day goes by that she doesn’t make a special version of our family meal just for him. Many times Jill has invited Kendra to come along to the salon to get their nails done. At 11 years of age, Kendra has always gravitating to older girls and more mature activities and this is a special way for them to spend time together.

She loves my parents - I can’t say I was ever really “close” to my folks in the sense that I sought them out for advice about life. So I wasn’t sure how that dynamic would play into my relationship with Jill. She has such a kind heart for that generation and quickly threw her arms around my folks and loved them unconditionally. Since we first met, my Mom has passed away and my Dad has endured a mountain of health issues. Through it all, Jill has been a steady, loving partner. In fact, on the occasions when my Dad visits, we have to make some alterations to the house to accommodate him, his wheelchair, his walker and his personal needs. Jill not only goes with the flow of the décor disruption, but lovingly plans meals that my soon-to-be 82-year-old father doesn’t get as often as he would like. It’s amazing how a simple plate of fried eggs and bacon can light up a proud man. My favorite time of our visits is in the evenings. Jill typically beats me home from work and when Dad is in town, they have usually already cracked open a new bottle of wine. Dad isn’t afraid to ask for service and Jill takes great pleasure in keeping his glass full. It is a precious time.

Her patience – Full disclosure: patience is not my strong suit. In fact, it is probably my greatest weakness and barrier to volumes of peace and happiness. That said, I find myself much more patient in the last four years in so many areas of my life (hmm…coincidence?). If you look up the word PATIENCE in the dictionary, you see a picture of Jill. Despite the chaotic nature of our house, I have rarely seen her react with desperation. In fact, I just see her continuing to raise the bar. As my patience has improved, she get even MORE patience. Her thoughtfulness and patience with Adam is uncanny…not that all mothers’ don’t have that nurturing gene…but even after a solid 10 minutes of whining about something that I find unintelligible…Jill merely says (for the umpteenth time)…”Adam, use words to tell Mom what you want.” She is amazing.

She makes our house a home – Imagine buying your first home together…and it’s already 27 years old. Granted it was in good structural shape, but the majority of the décor was stuck in the 70’s. Over the past two years, Jill has developed a beautiful vision of how our house should look…how it should become a home. We started with dark wood throughout and some of the most exciting beige paint you could imagine. We’ve progressed to vibrant colors, amazing window treatments and bright open spaces. The original kitchen was hideous, but is now a show place. The powder room was engulfed in mind-altering striped wallpaper but now looks like a museum exhibit. She goes bits and pieces forward as time and budget allows and every step of the way she is filling the gaps of her master plan. We’ve both said that this home is the first, last and only one we will ever buy and we joke that our next stop is either the Retirement Home or the Funeral Home. We want a home in which we can build family traditions and memories and one that the kids will want to bring THEIR kids to. We want to grow old right here. Together.

There are obviously many more things that make Jill the woman to whom I have given my heart and want to give my life. She is the woman I dreamed of marrying. She is sweet, but tough, Honest and direct. Kind and loving. She gives without request or expectation. She nurtures with care and patience. She loves unconditionally.

Truly…I am blessed. Happy Birthday, Sweetheart."

Monday, November 12, 2007

New Venture: Christian Teen Book Reviews

A couple of friends and I have been working on developing a community blog where we read and review pre-teen and teen books from a Christian perspective. We will not only list our opinions of the books, but also the content -- positive and negative -- in order to aid parents in finding suitable books for their children. We will review both Christian and non-Christian books.

We have had a few other bloggers willing to participate so far, but we need a few more book reviewers who are willing to commit to reviewing 1-2 books a month.

We want this to be a God-centered endeavor, something that would glorify Him, and if you would like to be included, please leave me a comment or email me. And if you know of anyone who might be interested, send them my way. Thanks!

Friday, November 09, 2007

When No Words Prevail. . .

Post a picture! I can't believe how long Scamp's hair is getting. She is starting to look more and more like a little girl instead of a baby. She is at such a fun (and exhausting) age. She has so much energy to run and jump and squeal. She loves for me to chase her while she runs screaming into her Daddy's lap. Her vocabulary is growing so much. She repeats a lot bigger words now.

She is also so loving, coming up and giving kisses out of the blue. She's on a "Sorry, Mama," stage. We, of course, encourage her to tell us and others sorry when she does something wrong, but now, if she bumps into me on accident she says, "Sorry, Mama." She's also quick to say "Sorry" when she knows she's about to get in trouble.

She is still her Daddy's Girl and prefers him over me most times. Many times she motions for me to get away or says, "Stop it, Mama," so that I won't take her from her Daddy (even though I may not be trying to). On occasion, this is quite disheartening to me because she will cry and scream for her Daddy if I do something like try to put her to bed. I know she's not trying to reject me, but when she begins to cry like I'm hurting her, it makes me want to cry.

All in all, she is a very sweet and lovable Scamp, and I don't know how I could love her more. . .but, I do!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

One Sweet Treat

Tasha at Life Is a Journey passed the "One Sweet Treat to Read" bloggin' award on to me. I've just recently started reading her blog and have found that she is one sweet woman with a big heart and a wonderful family. Thank you, Tasha!

And who will I pass this on to? Well, look over at my Blog Roll and see all the wonderful blogs that I enjoy. Really, I read each one of your blogs because I like what you stand for and enjoy hearing all the sweet, enduring stories about family, work, new beginnings, God's hand, and so on. You are all "Sweet Treats" to me.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Trick-or-Treating 2007

This is the first year Scamp has had any concept of what trick-or-treating was -- "Get Candy" as she said. She even managed to spout out a few "trick-or-treats" and "thank yous" when going door-to-door in her Meme and Papa's neighborhood.

It was a new experience for me as well. Growing up in the country, we didn't walk from house to house. We had to drive, repeatedly getting in and out of the car with as much as 10-minute intervals between houses. Then, we only went to close friends and relatives houses, which wasn't such a bad thing. Many were waiting on us with "special" bags of candy and toys reserved for only the grand kids and nieces and nephews.

As you can see, Scamp rode in style through the small community streets in Meme's walking stroller, holding my paper parasol and her pink pumpkin, which happened to be a free yard sale find. She only got scared a couple of times when some of the older teens approached with more grotesque costumes. She would cling to Beef or myself until they passed.

After trick-or-treating, we walked back to Aunt Boppy's house for a Halloween cookout. Scamp was so thrilled (not to mention chocolate filled) with the evening, she wanted to stay at Boppy's and Fluff Fluff's, but we convinced her to come home and go to bed. Mama and Daddy needed a rest.

Click the link above to view the video. We stopped by a neighbor's house on the way to Beef's hometown. They filled her bucket with candy, and the sight of brightly wrapped candies and chocolates was too much temptation for Scamp. We gave her "a little" hoping to tide her over until later, but she managed to tear the wrapper of a pack (or two - we weren't quite sure) of M&M's. With her face and hands stained chocolate, Scamp decided to sing her rendition of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" to the other candies in her bucket. I hope you enjoy.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Hidden

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started "the Hidden" by Kathryn Mackel. I do not read a lot of thrillers anymore, and this is exactly what this book was, a Christian supernatural thriller. Even though I was quite on edge for much of the book, it ended up being one of the best books I've read in awhile. It's definitely in my top 5 as of now.

Synopsis: Susan Stone left the beautiful vast horizons of her childhood home nestled in the Rockies of Colorado to outrun the painful memories of her past only to find new ones camping at her doorstep. Now, news of her father's hospitalization and the need of her help on his horse-breeding ranch to stay afloat brings her back. A series of murders along with the discovery of a young man chained in a cavern on her father's land is only the beginning. Is hope and forgiveness even possible in a place where so much evil abounds?

Mackel tells a riveting, edge-of-your seat story. I couldn't put the book down. Yes, there are some gory scenes, some similar to what you might see on shows like CSI. And the plot of the book deals with the supernatural. But, it was such a great ride. I've read several books recently where the author takes their time introducing you to the plot. But not so here. I jumped right in and enjoyed every page. The characters along with the plot were intriguing and exciting. I didn't once grimace over having to read the thoughts of a boring character. There were none.

And did you know Kathryn Mackel was a screenwriter for the movies Left Behind and Frank Peretti's Hangman's Curse? I should have known this book was going to scare me, but I would still highly recommend it.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Vote for the Best Costumes

**Scamp's Place hasn't been added to the Best Adult Costume yet. The poll is open until Nov. 5, so I'll let you know what to do about voting. But, I think you can leave a comment at An Island Life to vote if you'd like to go ahead***

It's time to vote for the 2007 Halloween Contest participants at an Island Life. Scroll down or click here to view my two entires.

The poll is open. Click here to vote for Scamp's Place for the Best Child Costume AND Best Adult Costume.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

God's Clapping for You

How wonderful to know that when you woke up this morning God clapped for you and told everyone in heaven to rejoice that you were awake. He rejoices because He can't love you enough. You are so precious to Him, like a child to her mother. But, God loves You more than you could ever know. Hard to imagine isn't it? Take a minute and really think about what it would feel like if that was what God did for you this morning. How does that make you feel? It made my heart feel overwhlemed with joy. I wanted to get up and spread that love with others. I wanted someone else to feel the way God's love makes me feel.

God wants YOU to feel loved today. He wants to hug you and kiss you even when you pull away. He wants to protect you even though sometimes He does allow you to fall. Not out of punishment or pleasure though. He wants you to learn from your mistakes, to grow into the person He knows you can be.

Thank you for your unconditional love through every trial and temptation we've encountered. Thank you for helping us to grow even though it pained Your heart to see us go through those trials. Help us to really believe in the truth of your unconditional love and to be able to to love others in that same way.
In Jesus' name,