Thursday, April 30, 2009

New Ring...Same Great Guy!

Somehow over the last couple of weeks I have lost my wedding ring! I have been devastated about losing it...not for it's intrinsic value. There was no diamond...it wasn't an expensive ring to begin with. But it was the ring that Ben presented to me almost 22 years ago on our wedding day. It was a symbol of Ben's love for me.
Well, yesterday he surprised me! He took me to James Avery, a Texas jeweler, and we picked out a new ring! It's so beautiful and I keep holding my hand up to look at it. I am amazed at Ben's grace.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Conviction...Nasty Business

Conviction? Hearing something from God that tells you that you are not quite right? Something you need to change? Hate it? I do! Yet I love it also...knowing that I am important enough to God to continue to want me to improve coming closer to being like Jesus. It's painful for me, though.

This morning I was doing my study of Beth Moore's Esther. The whole lesson today was on honor. Not trying to gain it for ourselves, but letting God determine honor, letting others determine honor...struck me straight in the heart, it did! I realized that I am frequently tooting my own horn, trying to get others to see what an amazing person I am, gathering my own honor. How painful to connect with Haman of Esther's story!

How kind of God to show me gently...yet firmly...with the embarrassment of my actions to be viewed only by me in my quiet time! Oh, to be that kind of parent to my children...So I have been given my conviction...what will I do with it? Continue to work on it and give my actions that I would think would deserve honor, over to God...let Him decide what to do with them. Though I know that's easier said than done...I will keep striving. What are you convictions?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mama Bears Unite part 2

Kally came in crying yesterday after another altercation with the neighbor lady down the street. This was it! It was time to go talk to her. I went and confronted her about her telling my kid and hers (and others on the street, but didn't bring them into it) that I don't homeschool...Asked her what the deal was with saying that Kally couldn't play with them anymore...Asked her several things...all of which she weasled out of trying to tell me she didn't say them...

I was down there for a while trying to get to the bottom of all of this. It was interesting and frustrating and sad. Sad that a fellow homeschooler, who apparently also goes against the flow a bit, couldn't give another homeschooler grace for going against her flow! Frustrating that she tried to tell me that she never said any of those things, when even her own daughter came and said, "My mom says that..." Interesting to confront a MOM about things said to my SEVEN year old!

Anyway...the deed is done...I have protected my child from a bully and will do so every time I one of my kids needs me to! So once again...mama bears unite!

Monday, April 27, 2009

One of Those Days

Today is one of those days...gray, raining, windy, and oh yeah! the swine flu! Our whole county is closed because we have three confirmed cases of swine flu. When I say whole county, I mean, schools, city parks, libraries, all kids' activities, many churches.

It reminds me of the line in the movie My Cousin Vinny..."I tried to buy a suit but the store was closed because of the flu...the whole store had the flu! So I had to go to GoodWill and buy this ridiculous thing..."

Our whole county has the flu! Quite bizarre really. It's just one of those days....

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Jesus, You're My Firm Foundation

Home from Corpus Christi! It was great fun....had most of the kids with us...got to do a bit of Military Ministry work...best of both worlds!

Today we got up early and headed to the beach one last time before heading home. As I was standing there barefooted, feeling the sand under my feet it dawned on me that this could be a teachable moment...being the ever-on-the-lookout-homeschooling mom that I am! I talked to the kids about the old hymn:
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
As we stood there with our feet on the sand, as the water would come in, our feet would sink down into the sand. We shifted...we weren't where we started...there wasn't solid ground beneath our feet.
They got it! They now had that illustration for me to used over and over in the coming years. It also dawned on me that to stay on "solid" ground (or as solid as the sand is when the water hasn't come up in a bit...it seems a bit solid), I had constantly change my position. That's what so many people do who don't have their life built on the true solid rock of Jesus...they change their position constantly to appear solid! I don't want to do that! I want my position to be truly solid...formed on a firm foundation...I want the only changing I do to be because Jesus has shown me that my way was not His way. Jesus doesn't change...He is solid...He is firm.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Texas Beach--Port Aransas

We were able to go to Port Aransas today to the beach! The kids kept thinking it was Port Arkansas. They all seemed to see a "k" in the word! Goofballs! It was a cloudy day, but we had a bunch of fun! They were all so excited to see the ocean.

Oh, yeah! Still "breathing" jellyfish...pretty blue color...washed up on shore...
Ok...Not so awesome picture of my backside, but holding hands after almost 22 years of marriage...awesome!
Almost all my best works in one place! A sweet group or what? They are all dry here...not but three minutes later...they are sopping wet!
It was fabulous!

Texas State Aquarium

Yesterday we packed up and headed to the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi.
Though quite a bit pricey...there were some great things to see...

Jellyfish...

regular fish...

poison dart frogs...

sharks...

dolphins...
It was fun! The wind was hurricane like...crazy...! Today we are attempting the beach...will show more tomorrow if we can withstand the winds again today to stay at the beach long enough to take a picture.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Being Humbled

I was humbled yesterday.

We have a neighbor who lives with her parents and is mentally handicapped. She comes over frequently, likes to call us, play with our kids, and sit outside with us. She loves to go places with us and always brings over gifts for our kids. She is very sweet and kind.

She also doesn't understand how to "read" people...so things have to be said straight out to her. So if we need to get going, she doesn't see that we are preparing to go and hurrying around and realize that she needs to leave. I finally have to tell her that she needs to go. If I didn't tell her it was time to go, she could be here for hours upon hours. Can be a bit taxing.

Yesterday she called in the morning and asked if I would come over and wait in the living room while she showered (she can't be alone in the house when she showers due to her unsteadiness and her parents were both at work) and then take her to her "day hab"...a day school for mentally challenged adults.

I was a bit put out that I would have to rush around getting showered and then go sit with her, but I felt the need to do it. So I did...I showered then waited in her living room for her to shower and then took her to day hab.

It was there at day hab that I was humbled. The people there were in all states of mentally disorders. Some much more "handicapable" than others who were more comatose. One woman came out to meet the van. She must have been over 60, very sweet, big smile, dressed well. She gave me a big hug and then stood there clapping about the nice van. Very childlike.

I got our neighbor dropped off and settled....looked once more at the people and building...walked out to the van...and proceeded to sob! How gracious God has been to me with my children. Even my neighbor...how "normal" she is compared to the others surrounding her.

I left with a humble heart, a grateful heart, and a broken heart.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Darby's Photography Skills are Blossoming!

So...I know she's my kid...but I think Darby pretty much rocks!







Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pure in Heart

I was reminded of my favorite beatitude today. Though I love all the beatitudes, this one is my absolute fav!



Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matt. 5:8)



I love the thought that I could see God! The other "rewards" from the beatitudes are:
the kingdom of heaven
being comforted
inherit the earth
being fulfilled
shown mercy
called the sons of God
As I look upon this list...it occurs to me that I already have these things! God has been gracious giving me the faith to believe, thus providing me with all the "rewards" I can ever think of. So now I want to be pure in heart. How do I do that? I don't know...but He knows and I trust He will continue to work on me.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Honesty is the Best Policy

Yesterday Darby and I needed to go to a bookstore to get some books for her summer reading. We looked, found the books we wanted, and then bought them. Having bought quite a few books, the bag was understandably weighty.

When we got home, Darby emptied the bag and asked me about a particular book. A large book. A hardback book. A book that cost $35! Yikes! A book I know that I didn't buy because my whole purchase was about $30. I looked over the receipt again just to make sure and sure enough this book was not on it.

Today I took the book back and told the cashier what had happened and that I just wanted to return the book. The three tellers that were there were all standing there with their mouths open! They went on and on about the fact that I was returning a book, an expensive book, a book that I could have kept without anyone knowing. I was told to stay there at the counter and wait a moment. One of the cashiers left and within a few minutes came back and gave me a $5 gift card!

Though I will use the gift card and appreciate getting it, I think their reaction to my being honest is so sad! It broke my heart to hear them raving about what a good deed I was doing. Can you imagine having the same thing happen to you and NOT returning the book? It never even crossed my mind and I am disturbed that apparently it does cross so many minds.

I do love the $5 though! Can't wait to use it!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Is It Just Me?

I wonder about the concept of grace...do you? I love the idea and I love being the recipient of it...both by God and others with whom I live and work. I try to extend grace to others. I don't always do so well with that. Why is that?

Why is it that we can extend grace to people we don't even know or care about yet have trouble extending grace to those closest to us?

I am humbled when I receive it from others, which is often from some and never from others. Why is that?

I am pondering life at the moment and rambling a bit because I am confused. Why is it the harder I try, the more I seem to fail? Am I being tested by God...would I be passing or failing if I am being tested? Am I being sinful? Am I the innocent dragged into someone else's sin? Is God trying to tell me something? Am I not listening?

It happens a lot these days....I am going along happily, minding my own business, loving my husband and kids, trying to serve others...when BAM! something happens to plunge me into this line of questioning. What did I do this time? Did I say something? Did I not say something? Why can everyone else seem to be able to do and say things and I get caught either doing the wrong thing or not doing the right thing? How can I try so hard and still fall short?

These are the questions I get to try to ponder as I go to bed. Probably won't sleep much tonight...Am I the only one this happens to?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Family Pic Day!





Thanks Rebekah for coming and taking our pictures! This was about all we got accomplished today!


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Still Learning

In an effort to keep learning about Ben, I have started asking him questions. I have gotten the biggest kick out of doing this and have really learned so much about him in the process. So I thought that I wold post the questions I have been asking. Maybe you can use these on your husband or best friend (if it's not your spouse!) or somone you've been wanting to get to know!

What's your favorite childhood memory?
Who was your best friend growing up? Why?
What's your mom's best trait?
What's your dad's best trait?
What's your greatest fear?
If you could live anywhere where would it be?
If you could do any job what would it be?
Describe your ideal house.
What's one trait about you that you would most like to change?
What's one trait about me that you would most like to change?
What would your favorite car be?
Where would you like to be five years from now?

These are just a sampling of the questions that I ask Ben when we are driving or have a bit of time alone or late at night. They are great conversation starters and we find that just one question can spark hours of tons of other things to talk about! Try it and let me know how it goes.

One of My Favorite Things

Ben and I had to go to Florida one time for a meeting and got to hear a great speaker. He had us close our eyes (exercies that I usually hate, rebel against) and imagine what Jesus would say if he stood right in front of us at that very moment...knowing what we were thinking, had ever thought in our whole lives, and most certainly what we had done! uugghh!

We are imagining all sorts of things...how disappointed He would be, how sad He would be at our behavior, how frustrated....

Then we hear what has become my favorite verse: Zephaniah 3:17 and we were presented with the idea that Jesus would say this:

The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.

Is that an awesome thought? So have that thought for today...He takes great delight in you! (and I do too by the way!)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Jesus and the Stool

Our church showed this video the other day and I think it is awesome! Tell me what you think!

Life Begins for Bailey

Today Bailey turns in her application for a three month mission trip! Yep...I said three months! We have friends in Udine, Italy...about an hour and a half northeast of Venice. She would stay with them and teach ESL classes. The classes are strictly ESL, but after class and on weekends, apparently the students do a lot together and that's where Jesus comes in. She can share Jesus during those extra, after school times. Our friends are church planters there and work at the Bible College in Udine.

You might think...Italy...what a boondoggle! But listen to this: out of the 34,000 towns in Italy, 32,000 don't have anything evangelical at all! No evangelical church, no missionary, no evangelical bookstore or radio...nothing...kaput...nada...1% of Italians are evangelical! Italy has become so dark and lost that the major missions organizations like Campus Crusade and Wycliffe have put it on their lists of the most unreached people groups!

So in September when most kids are heading back to school, Bailey will most likely be headed off to Italy. Please pray for the application process, for Bailey, for our family, and for God's will to be done. This is an opportunity for which we think is just right for Bailey. And every day, I feel more and more convinced of it being God's will for her!

Her life is really about to begin!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Rainey
Four of the five munchkins
Kally
Rawley
What a lovely day at the DeBusk home! This San Antonio weather couldn't have been more perfect for this day of celebration. The kids looked through their Easter baskets before church and then we headed out to church for a terrific time of worship.

When we got home it was time for the annual Easter egg hunt and then the grandparents, my brother, sis-in-law, and niece came over for a dinner of brisket (cooked on low for 17 hours!), mashed potatoes, and lima beans.

All-in-all this has been a near perfect day.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Big Girls do Cry!

OK...you know those pieces of old news footage that show Elvis or the Beatles singing and then the camera pans the crowd and shows teenage girls crying? Ben and I have seen those and then wonder why those girls are crying. What's up with that?

Well...I discovered at least a bit of that yesterday for myself.

I was gone running an errand and when I came home and pulled in the driveway, Ben was sitting outside in a chair watching the kids playing. He made some goofy motions like he was guiding the van into the right place to park. And it was then that it hit me: HE IS GORGEOUS! He is even more drop-dead gorgeous than when we got married, and I thought he was pretty hot then!!!

I actually began to cry looking at him and feeling so proud that he is MINE!

I know...goofy...but true.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Boys of Summer





Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bailey's Birthday Meal

Our tradition here is that on your birthday, you get to plan the meals for the day. You plan...I fix! All the kids love doing that and knowing that whatever they want will be had on that one day of the year, if never again through the year. Bailey normally has really decisive choices for her birthday, but this year, random was the word. But it was what she wanted so....here we go. Breakfast is not a meal that Bailey normally knows even exists, so she had no order for that one. Lunch was with friends. Dinner was the meal I go to prepare for her! She wanted:

pizza rolls,
and chili cheese fries (forgot to take pic of fries),

and bagel bites.

For her "cake", she wants peanut butter ice cream pie each year, so this year I made two! I hope that she had fun with getting all of her favorite things! I had a ball preparing them...and they couldn't be any easier to fix since it was just warming everything up!
Happy Birthday Bailey!

Happy Birthday Bailey!

Bailey at about 19 months!


Bailey at 19 years!
My sweet Bailey.
Our oldest turns 19 today! Hard to believe that! She is such a beautiful girl and we are so proud of her. She has so many great strengths and gifts and abilities. God has gifted her greatly and we love watching her work within her giftings! It's a beautiful to see.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

To Defend or Not Defend...That is the Question

I have a dilemma and I don't know what to do about it. Can you help me?

There is a neighbor down the street from us who also has five children and homeschools. You would think it'd be a perfect friendship, wouldn't you? Well...I would have thought so too. I went down to introduce myself when we first moved in and I knew right away that we would never be best friends. I was at least hoping for "friendly" though.

For most of the almost year that we have been here, there wasn't much contact as we all seemed to be busy. But as the weather has gotten so nice, my kids have been outside a lot riding bikes, scooters, etc... and have run into the kids down the street more. They have ridden bikes together and enjoyed life.

The dilemma comes from the mother down the street. My kids wake up pretty early, much to my chagrin, and get started with school early, hence finishing school early. The mother down the street made a comment to my Kally one day questioning the fact that we even do school since my kids are out earlier than they are. Well, that frustrated me, but I thought "whatever".

Then one day their daughter came to our house to play with Kally and she said that her mother thinks that we don't homeschool because our kids are out playing early. Really? She tells that to her children? So...that really began to bother me then!

Yesterday we took a gal from down the street with us to Kally's swim lesson. On the way, she mentions that the woman down the street (same one, 5 kids) has commented to her that we don't homeschool! Are you kidding?

So my dilemma is: do I do my normal mama bear act and go down and talk to her or do I leave her alone and let her think whatever she wants to think. I know that I am doing the stuff I am supposed to be doing! Just a bit of frustration on my part...trying to do what God wants me to do...maybe venting to y'all will just help me get it off my chest and then allow me to in a lame way follow Jesus' example on this very week so many years ago and not defend myself....

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I Want to Live on the Second Level

Our pastor gave a sermon the other day on willingness to serve God. He described two levels to which we must commit if we are fulfill the plan God has for us. The first level was an overarching, more generic willingness. The second is much more specific and the place where most of us fall short.

For example: The first level: I am called to serve God. (This is the level that most of us eventually are willing to do) The second level: I am called to serve God in Africa. (This is the level that most of us rebel against, pretend that we don't hear)

The levels don't have to do specifically with serving God. They could be things like having children. The first level could be: I want (am called) to have children. The second level could be: I need to stay up all night with a crying, unconsolable baby maybe for many nights.

First level: we want to be married.
Second level: we need to respect our husbands at all times unconditionally. (much harder)

Many of us find the first level of committment fairly easy...the second level, not so much.

So I have decided that I don't want to just commit and be excited about the first level. I want to immediately serve in the second level. How about you?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Yesterday's Fabulous Day!

Yesterday Ben and I had our SS class leadership over for a cookout. We loved it! All the kids came...surprisingly we are the only ones with girls! All the families have two boys, except for one family that is expecting their first boy any day now. So many sweet boys running around here...what fun to watch them.

It was such a relaxing time. We had hot dogs, beans, potato chips, and ice cream sandwich frozen cake for dessert. Easy and wonderful. What a gift God gave us to begin the process of making so many fabulous friends here...and friends with whom our boys can be friends also. What a precious gift.

Friday, April 3, 2009

My Day

Darby and I spent the day in Austin at the state capital. Darby attended TeenPact which is a day-long seminar that helps students to understand how government works. Though it was a long day, I must say that it was enormously educational! I learned so much myself!

Darby had to do homework ahead of time including writing a bill to be debated in a mock legislative session. She wrote hers on the state of Texas having a Type 1 Diabetes Awareness Week. It was a well-written bill and passed in "committee". There wasn't time for it to come before the "legislative session", but even so, the experience she got from just writing it and then hearing others' bills...incalculable!

The most powerful part to me was breaking up into groups and circling up outside of the House of Representatives and then the Senate and praying for each member! The witness these kids were as tourists and others passed by and these young people were praying! Amazing.

So it's the end of the day, and it's been a good one....spent special one-on-one time with Darby, learned a lot, and then came home to the hub taking all of us out to eat! What could be better than that...except tomorrow being ice cream night! :)

Edgy

Darby and I are up early today on our way to Austin for the day. She is attending TeenPact, an organization that helps students (mostly homeschoolers) about government. She has had homework, reading, writing a bill, and memorizing a Bible verse. The dress code is very strict, so we have worked for a week, just making sure each of us were wearing the right thing.

This morning Darby comes down in the outfit we had picked out and then adds a headband with a bow in her hair. She says, "I'm going to put the "edge" in "legislature!"

I thought that was pretty funny so early in the morning!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

God is Calling...I am Answering!

It seems as though God is calling me...Back in Little Rock, I had been active with Sunday school, teaching Bible studies, AWANA, homeschooling activities, ministry opportunities. In short, I was busy.

When we moved here, my slate was clean, my calendar empty, my days free and easy. Yesterday I looked at what is in store for fall, and I am busy again, but I have been very careful to really pray, seek, listen to God as I add things to my calendar. It certainly seems as though this is where He wants me right now. Most of me is thrilled (I loved being busy!). A little of me is sad that there are fewer empty boxes on my calendar. (I was learning to enjoy the space) Every fiber of my being is excited because all but one of my activities are done side-by-side with Ben! (Even the homeschooling things!)

But most of all, I am thrilled to be used by God and to be confident that He is calling me and I am not seeking out opportunities on my own...opportunities where I could be prideful (argh! I am desperately trying to stop that!), opportunities where it's all about me. I want every activity that I do to be about God, pointing others (and myself) back to Him.

So...God is calling me, and I have decided to be like the disciples and drop what I am doing and immediately follow. How is God calling you?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

They Rise up and Call Me Blessed

Back almost 19 years ago, when I first became a mom, and with each baby after her...I would dream of what each child's strengths/weaknesses were, what he/she would look like later in life, the kind of person he/she would become.

I have discovered in the last couple of weeks, that many of those questions are being answered right before my eyes! It hit me that each of my children are displaying some sort of strength, talent, gifting. I have been humbled to see the hand of God working so clearly in my family within the heart of my children.

Bailey (who turns 19 next week! aahh!) displays many strengths (and a few weaknesses, but we won't focus on those here) and talents. She has a talent for interior design, color, space, etc...Her face completely lights up when she talks about the subject. She also loves working with children and while that started as working with younger children, she has developed a passion for working with middle school girls!

Darby (age 11) gets all excited thinking about her speech and debate abilities. She will join a club next year, and she is thrilled to use her thinking skills, logic, and speaking abilities in tournaments.

Kally (age 7) most certainly has a strength of being tenacious! She gets a goal in mind and keeps trying until she attains it! The most current goal is being on the swim team. She is one of the hardest workers I know.

Rainey (age 5) has been given a heart for homeless people. He collects money by doing good deeds to give to homeless people. Every prayer of his includes people who live on the train tracks, or for some reason don't have a home. I don't know where he got this, I can only assume that God has given him this love for others.

Rawley (age 3) is so funny and makes everyone happy. He lights up the room the minute he enters it. He enjoys making people laugh and we all do when he is around.

I've been a mom long enough to know that things change, but it struck me that all of my kids have strengths that can be used for the glory of God! It is clear to me that working with kids, oral speaking, being tenacious, having a heart for others, and being a positive person are all things right up God's alley! They are qualities that can be used easily for God's glory and purposes.

The Bible says that "they will rise up and call her blessed"...I surely am blessed! How are you blessed?