August 27, 2011

The Gifts Just Keep Rolling In...

--sunny days with the kiddos
--the park with sweet friends
--impromptu lunches
--school days that go well
--bare feet in the grass
--paper plates
--perfectly roasted marshmallows
--gathering around the fire pit with my little family
--little girls growing up (even though we don't want them to!)
--sleeping little boys
--siblings playing together
--time in the Bible all alone
--Jillian Michael's kicking my tail each morning
--jump ropes
--science lessons
--the Bible app on the tab
--the NLT read to Sophie in the mornings (also on the tab) so she can begin spending some time in the Word on her own (and that she loves that there is one person who narrates and a different person for each quote!!!)
--Family Quest
--sweet voices lifted in praise
--the many silly, crazy songs and dances this precious girl creates!
--sweet little boy grins
--watching Ethan eating a roasted marshmallow
--friends for my children whose parents strive to share Christ in all they do
--God's sovereign plan in the lives of friends...it may come unexpectedly, but the joy of the perfect gift sent in God's perfect timing is pretty much indescribable
--watching God use man's folly for His glory
--sitting next to the hubby in the couch watching The West Wing
--seeing college students back in the pews
--memories

August 25, 2011

College Days (or perhaps Daze?!?!?!)

Just returned not too long ago from meeting new students at Lewis Hall and Brown Hall (the dorm formerly known as Memorial Hall).  My, oh my, how the memories came flooding back.  It was 14 years ago that I was moving onto campus, and so much has changed since then!

Back then, we moved in on a Sunday.  Since my dad was preaching at the time, it was a pretty crazy day for us.  Church, then quick lunch, then off we went to college.  I had no email address before I went to college (yes, I am old enough that email wasn't all that "important" at the time), so I'd had very little contact with my roommate before we got there.  Monday was a day for finalizing financial aid, some test with Dr. Richardson, and a quick "orientation".  I can't really remember what happened on Tues, but pretty sure that Wed. we started classes.  It was long enough ago that they actually used a typewriter to make our ID cards....and your student ID number was your social security number! 

There was no Swarm Squad to help us move in, just faculty and staff carrying our stuff up each flight of stairs.  Needless to say, it was a much longer process. I don't remember churches being there the day we moved in, but I am sure they probably were.  And I have to admit, finding a church was probably not one of my highest priorities at the time!

But, to all you college students out there, let me just say, it really is important that you get involved in a local church.  It provides accountability and many opportunities for you to learn from those who are older and wiser than you in many spiritual and practical ways.  I know this from experience.

My first semester of college I don't know that I ever went to the same church twice.  One of the guys I had gotten to be friends with did pulpit supply so I pretty much just went with him each week wherever he was preaching.  My second semester I actually went to the same church most weeks, but nothing more than showing up for the service on Sunday morning.  My next two years were spent traveling most weekends with New Ed and my last year I traveled with Praise Song.  I truly enjoyed those ministries and wouldn't trade them for anything!  I would still do New Ed if I could figure out how to do that as a wife and mother of two!!!  But, when I graduated from college, it was very hard for me to be at the same church two weeks in a row.  It was very hard for me to sit through a service and just listen, just be there.  It was really a struggle for me to sit and learn and not be doing something.  It was hard for me to get involved and really get to know people because I had spent 4 years doing anything but that!  It took almost a year for me to feel even the slightest bit comfortable truly being a part of a church! 

So, all that to say, get in a church.  Find out what they believe, get involved and serve in any way you can!  Ask questions, meet people, and let God bless you as you participate in worship, service, and learning with a church family!

August 20, 2011

Gifts, Gifts, and More Gifts

I've almost made it to 1,000 gifts in my list and am amazed at what the Lord continues to lavish upon me and my family!

--perfectly roasted marshmallows
--family time around the fire pit
--girl time
--encouragement from sweet friends
--realizing harsh truths about myself
--time alone
--Bible study with other ladies
--seeing God moving in so many lives around me
--the hubby's sweet tea
--successful first week of school
--when going over our shape flashcards, every time Blessing Boy sees the orange square, he calls it "cheese"
--looking at old pics and reliving precious memories
--brief relief from with heat with fall-like weather
--sharing the Gospel in the middle of our science lesson
--a community with so many Christians in the public school system
--being stretched, even when I don't want to be
--little boy grins and sweet girl smiles
--spikey hair
--"You Alone Can Rescue" with Gift Girl in the car
--Christians devoted to their calling outside the church walls

August 17, 2011

Musings while I wait for the Hubby to get home from band practice...

--We started homeschooling this week.  It has been better than I expected, but I must admit that I still feel completely inadequate for this task.  Without a doubt, I know that I DO NOT possess the gift of teaching, so I feel like most of what I am doing is reading from a script (which is something I know I AM good at) and hoping that she can't smell the fear behind it all!  So far, I think it's working!--Tonight God really opened my eyes to a truth in my life.  I am a quitter.  Well, not sure that quitter is the right word, but I definitely don't follow the rule "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."  My motto is more like "If at first you don't succeed, give it up and stick with what you know you are good at in the first place!"  I feel torn about this, I mean, I know that there are things that I need to try and step out and do because it's what God has called or commanded.  But, I also know that we aren't all good at everything and it's really not true that we can do whatever we put our minds to and work really hard at.  Pretty sure I'll never be a basketball star or a concert pianist, no matter how hard I try!  So, how do I work through this and do my best to ensure that my kiddos are learning the right lessons? I mean, there are some things that you will try and fail because they were things we were never supposed to do in the first place.  Of course, there are also things you try and fail because it was the only way for God to teach you a multitude of lessons.  How do we discern between the two?  How do we know when it's time to turn around and go in a new direction and when it's time to give it all up to God and trust Him as we continue on that difficult path?  Yeah, that's right, discernment isn't high on my gifts list, either!  But, I will continue to ask God to fill me with discernment for those moments (and many others) so that He receives all glory and many will turn to Him.
--I have truly enjoyed getting to sit with Sophie in the service for some of the worship and the sermon.  Don't get me wrong, she's a long way from fully understanding anything she sings or hears, but, I do know that she is listening and that God has promised His word will never return void.  I am clinging to that each day!  I love that she is now asking to hear songs that we sing in the service and that she'll sing them at the top of her lungs in the van and in the house.  It has also been really neat to get to share with her what those songs mean.  (And I am really thankful for a husband who is much better at explaining things than I am!)
--I love that Kevin still takes Sophie on Daddy/Daughter dates.  I love even more that she asks him to take her.  She loves her daddy and her daddy loves her.
--I love that, when Ethan found out that Daddy and Sissy were on a date, he asked me if we could go on a date.  It melted my heart!!!  We had a picnic lunch together, just the two of us.
--Lord, I have been soooo richly blessed, in so many ways!  Thank you for the many blessings, not just in this world, but the many spiritual blessings, as well.  Open my heart and eyes to see You at work around me and in those around me. 

August 10, 2011

Vacation and Lots of Gifts

Wow!  It's been awhile since I wrote something on here.  We just returned tonight from our two week Arkansas vacation.  It was a lovely time!  We had a great mix of scheduled events and just lazing around.  It was wonderful!  But, at the same time, I am glad to be back home and in my own house and my own bed.  I am also very excited to get school started here!  Next week we'll start with a shortened schedule just to get us all used to what's going to happen, and then the next week we start full force!  Yay!  God, you are so good to me!!  Here are pics of some of the gifts from the last two weeks!