Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The San Francisco Treat

Monday, September 29, 2008

Military Marriage Seminar in California

This gal and her husband just arrived at Travis a few days before the seminar, saw the sign at the chapel, and signed up! They were so excited to continue to work on their marriage.

These are the couples at the end of the seminar when they were invited to renew their vows. Always makes me cry to see that...

Ben's rental! He tried to drive it home, but Dollar rental wouldn't let him. Bummer....

Ben and I just returned from the military marriage seminar at Travis AFB in California. What a phenomenal time! There were 101 people in attendance for the day and a half long seminar. Childcare and lunch was provided. Many of these couples have just experienced, many for the second or third time, a deployment for anywhere from 2-12 months! There were 61 who turned in evaluation sheets, and 26 indicated that they made first time commitments to Christ! WOW! Is that amazing or what?! We give all the praise and glory to God for the mighty work done in these couples' lives this past weekend.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

California or Bust!

It is 4:26am as I write this and I am California Dreamin'. Why am I up at this really crazy hour when all of my children sleep through the night and well into the morning? Why, I ask you? I don't just love mornings until the little hand is at least on the 8 and the big hand is on the 12. (I really am a homeschooler!)

Actually there is a ministry event out in Sacramento and we are taking a day in San Francisco. I have always wanted to go to SF for a day or so! I am excited and will give you pics when I return.

Until then, dream of good things like Christmas, candy, little kids laughing, and big diamond rings.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Two Boys Brag Blog

We call the boys "Two Boys" like they are one person! Tonight they were cracking me up in the tub, with both of them. And then Rawley put on Kally's fairy dress up wings and hair! We were all laughing, so I thought I should snap a shot to enlarge at his wedding! Rainey is just plain beautiful, so when someone is that gorgeous, what does one do? Snap a picture of them, of course. Two Boys are great fun around here.

Countdown to Christmas!

I have looked on my calendar and, if my calculations are correct, then we have 13 weeks until Christmas. Each year, I try to make the holidays less harried and more focused on the reason we even celebrate. My major thing to do most years was shop all year long, so by November, that part was done. But I have always still felt crazy as Christmas drew near with so many other things that have to be done.

So this year I am making a plan! Each week, starting this week, I am doing something intentional to prepare for Christmas. It won't be major or huge things, usually, but I know I will feel the benefits later.

This week's action item: make several kinds of cookie dough and put in the freezer. That way, I have the dough made and can always make a fresh plate of cookies for the family or neighbors, or events that I need to bring treats. I made sugar cookie dough yesterday and today I am making chocolate chip, ginger snap, white chocolate macadamia nut, and a biscotti dough.

I'll keep you posted on what I will produce next week.

Christmas is my favorite time of year and I really want to enjoy every minute of it! I don't want to feel the chaos, craziness, and frustration of past years. I just want to enjoy the fact that my Savior was born!

Monday, September 22, 2008

First Day of Fall!

For the first day of fall, we decided to bake sugar cookies, and then decorate them! What fun we had! All five kids were with me, all in our aprons, flour all over and smiles galore! Bailey needed a "mental health" day from school and she also took off work. The rest of the kids finished school and most of their chores and then we started! It was an amazing day and the picture you see is the result of our fun. Am I blessed or what?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Brag File on Bailey and Darby

I must say that this blog will be very braggy about my two oldest girls, so if the thought of that turns your stomach, you might want to switch to something else right now!

God has given us five great kids, but Bailey and Darby are my focus today. Each of them have made me so proud lately and I feel the need to share. Bailey is in her second year of college and working full time at our church in the preschool ministries department. God has given Bailey the gift of administration, organization, creativity, and, she is learning, teaching. She gets to use all of her gifts in her job daily.

Tonight, Ben and I were stopped by a women who supervises Bailey at work and was singing her praises! What joy to my heart to hear someone else speak about Bailey in the way that I think about her. She has been such a delight to us and we are so incredibly proud of her. Bailey is the most hard-working person I know. She eagerly takes on new tasks, strives to excel at school, and loves the Lord with all her heart.

Darby has been recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, and we couldn't be prouder of how she has handled the whole situation. From the first day of her diagnosis, she has given herself the injections, checked her own blood sugar, and determines her own amount insulin by measuring whatever she is eating. One day she is a normal 10-year old and the next day, she is injecting herself and has never had a bad attitude about it at all! There has been not one complaint, whimper or whine, or sour attitude.

Darby has taken this whole thing in stride along with working hard in school and stepping up in handling her household responsibilities without being told, and has begun her own girls only Bible study with her little sister and her cousin. She leads the devotions and time of study weekly.

Hopefully you can see why I am the proud mama right now. They are not only beautiful girls on the outside, more importantly, they are completely lovely on the inside! The are followers of Christ, lovers of their family, and great fun to be around. Thank you God for allowing us to have the privilege of raising these girls...what a treat!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Good Information for a Bad Situation

Today my mom took me to lunch and we met three other women there. One of the women, Gayle, has been having a very difficult year. Her husband died suddenly while undergoing a routine surgical procedure. She had no warning, and in an instant her life was radically changed forever! She and her husband have three boys, so you can imagine the hardship this family has had to endure.

She is a believer, which certainly sheds a different light on the situation. But she is human, missing her husband desperately and trying to answer her boys' questions about why their dad isn't here to take them camping like he promised. Gayle is having to do all the things her husband used to do, while trying to do her own tasks, love her boys, and just breathe.

While I was listening to her story, I was thinking about what would happen if Ben died suddenly. Would I have to get a job right away? Could I continue to homeschool the kids? How would I sell his truck if I had to? Where are all the important pieces of information that I need? What are his computer passwords? The list went on and on. Gayle was telling us about some of these things as I was thinking them. She was relaying the difficulty in selling her husband's truck and a pop-up camper because they were in his name. She told about having to stand before a judge to get things changed into her name. She was completely overwhelmed with the tasks of life and my heart broke for her.

Why do I share this story? I came home and told Ben that we need to make sure that we have everything in both of our names. I need to know where things are...where we stand...think through what my options would be...

I share this because you need to do this too. None of us want to think that anything will happen, but not every death is a slow, drawn out one where you have time to get your affairs in order. Life is hard...death is hard...let's do what we can to make a horrible situation less hard by being a bit prepared ahead of time.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Figuring Out Coupons

So I really do understand coupons, but since moving here, I have discovered a new level of shopping and what people around here call "couponing". It is a bit to get used to, but I am doing my darndest to try and learn it and in the process, save my family big bucks on weekly groceries! Since we have seven people in our family, groceries take up a large part of our budget. I want to whittle that number down without giving up the things we normally have around. Here is what I discovered today:

4 boxes of Kashi cereal 4/$11, but I had a $2 off coupon AND Target gave out a $5 gift card for every four boxes purchased. That means that with the coupon, the cereal was $9 and then take the $5 off and each box was $1! How's that for savings?

Also at Target...St. Ives Elements facial cleanser was $6.64 and on sale for $4.99. I had a buy one get one free coupon AND there was an additional coupon around the bottle for $1.50 off. So each bottle came to $3.50 and the second one was free!

Walgreens has many great deals also. Did you know that when they offer items that have a rebate, you can opt to take that rebate back in the form of a Walgreens gift card and if you do, the company will automatically put an extra 10% on the card for you? In their stores, they have a small coupon book that is good for the month called Easy Saver. It outlines all the sales, has coupons, and explains how to get your rebate back on a card. So at Walgreens today I bought Excedrin, Crest Pro-Health toothpaste, Lypsyl lip moisturizer, Chemistry leave in hair conditioner, and a several other things. My out of pocket today was $58 but I will end up getting back about $30 on a gift card. The goal is to have a couple of trips to Walgreens that are a bit more out of your pocket, but then to use the gift card, register rewards, and coupons to make your trips "free".

I know that many of you want to save money for your family like I do, so I thought you'd be interested in this. There is much more info on how to save at Walgreens at www.moneysavingmom.com if you are interested with LOTS of other links to women just like us!

Anyway, hope this helps you. I'd love to hear what you do to save money.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rainey's Birthday!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Vote...But Don't Take it too Seriously!

Don't get me wrong, I view voting as a right and as a privilege of living in the United States. I encourage you to vote! So let me explain the reason I am writing this.

Ben and I have watched with complete attention to both national conventions that have taken place recently. We have listened to every word the candidates themselves have said and have listened to most of the pundits and their views. It has been a fascinating process this go-round. We think that this is the most interesting election to take place in our lifetime.

So while all that sounds very detached and logical...don't be mistaken. We have booed, hissed, cheered, yelled at the screen, the crowd, and the media! We have ended evenings of watching with knots in our stomachs at what we perceive as lies, exaggerations, outrageous statements, and the like. Though we have never said it, there is a feeling of live or die in this election. There is a feeling of mountain top hopefulness, and then in the next second, pit of despair hopelessness. We get up off the couch angry at things that have been said, outrage at things not said, and incredulous that others could be duped so easily.

Why does this matter? Why shouldn't we feel this way? Didn't I just say that voting is important? As Christ followers, we know the ending! We know that God is in control! We know, most of all that this is not our home! Do I get all worked up about Portugal's politics? Does my stomach tie in knots over Sweden's elections? Do I care so much about Sri Lanka's nominating speeches? NO! Because I don't live there. I am not a citizen of those countries. For the most part, I don't give a hoot about those places and their election seasons. I should feel that way here too, because I am a citizen of Heaven, not here. I should engage in the process and take the opportunity to vote when offered to me, but the outcome...not my responsibility...it's God's! Who else could I trust to bring about the results that our best for us?

So, if you want to know, I will happily tell you my reasons for voting for the party I have chosen. I can give you a list of all the reasons you shouldn't vote for the other side, if you are a Christ follower. I do care. But from now on, my stomach will stay out of it, my anxiety will go elsewhere, and I will participate in a semi-detached way as though I really belong somewhere else!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Information Overload!

We had our appointment today with the diabetes educator. Oh my goodness! Just when I think that I have the info I already have pretty much down, we get hit with more! So today's discussion was all about what to do with extreme highs and lows in Darby's blood sugar.

What we discovered was that any little thing going on in her body, will cause her blood sugar to pretty much go sky high! The onset of puberty, sickness, stress, etc...all effects her drastically.

We all just walked out of the appt. with a glazed look on our faces, trying to digest everything we have just heard. I know that God has a plan for Darby and that this diabetes is in the plan. I have to keep reminding myself of that, placing all my cares on Him.

I want the best for my kids, and I know that anything in God's plan is the best, but not necessarily the easiest or the most fun! Sometimes I mix those up and what I am really asking for is an easy life. I know, though, that the things we most value are what we have to work hardest for, so...Darby's life will be of utmost value to her, hopefully, because she is going to have to work diligently to keep things normal. I pray that God speaks to her during this time and that she realizes just what He is wanting from her.