Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wrapping Paper Holder

I have a weird area in my bathroom. Can't figure out what it was originally meant for...so it's been used as a dumping ground for dirty laundry, pictures in boxes, etc....junk!

While perusing Pinterest one day, I came across this idea for holding wrapping paper. And bada boom, bada bing...it hit me! That is what I can do to redeem that small weird area.

So, I asked Ben to make it for me. And he did!!!! :) I have some plans for the other wall and will post when I get it worked on in the next couple of days.

Pretty great, though, huh?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Half Off!

I don't normally do New Year's resolutions. I, like the rest of the world apparently, don't keep them so well. And since I hate to quit things or be completely disappointed in myself over a made up issue.....(there are so many other really important things over which I can be disappointed in myself)....that I have decided not to do them anymore.

That being said, God has been working on me over the last many months about one thing in particular....the amount of stuff we have in our home. I began to be convicted of this several months ago when I was researching a Latin program for one of my children to do in school. The preview lesson that could be observed online made this statement: "in Latin, the word for "stuff" is impedimentum". It struck me....impedimentum...impediment....obstacle. WOW!

When we were in debt (because of our stuff), we always thought that once all of it was paid off, we would own it and it wouldn't own us anymore. In one sense that was true. But in another sense, it is another lie that we let ourselves believe. Once we became debt free and actually did own our stuff, then we began to think about how we would ever replace our stuff if something ever happened to it. There was a small, but crucial, twist in our thinking that wasn't good. Metaphorically we began to wrap our arms around our stuff and keep it close.

So...back to realizing that our stuff is an impediment to our lives and really becoming a big part of making decisions....I am coming to the conclusion that things would be simpler if we parted with much of our stuff. And by "much", I am talking about half! I want to shed half of the things that we own and allow others to enjoy them as much as we have. This will be a process for us, but I am up to the challenge. I am starting with my own things to show myself that I can do it, and to show my family that they will NOT die by following my example. I am trying to not exclude any part of my things...including my platters and kitchen things! (anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE my kitchen things and platters, bowls, etc...)

Does this mean that we won't buy anything over the next year and add to the stuff? No....it' doesn't. But I am going to try to be more mindful of what is purchased and think if it makes sense to have it or not.

I will keep posting with updates as I work on this. I feel that this will be much like an alcoholic who is determined to quit just after he has taken a drink....and then his determination begins to wane as the alcohol leaves his system.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Outward






As Christmas approaches, and we have all of our family's things settled, I thought it was time to look outward and see what we could do to bless our neighbors. I love to bake, so making cinnamon rolls seemed like the thing to do. Today I made 8 dozen cinnamon rolls and Ben and I will take them around to our neighbors tonight or tomorrow. I pray for my neighbors, but I know that there is so much more that I could be doing to fill needs for my neighbors. I could get to know them better. I'd like to do much better at that in 2012. Here is the recipe.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Remembering December 20

14 years ago today, I was pregnant with the beautiful girl you see in the picture. I was two months away from my due date and life was good. That evening, after a Christmas party with people from our church, we drove to San Antonio to celebrate Christmas with my family. Our small family was singing Christmas carols and hymns and having a good time. After singing Silent Night, we got a little silent ourselves and then it happened.

In the pouring rain, we hit a puddle and hydroplaned. Our truck twisted and hit the concrete barrier dividing the highway. The truck rolled three times and we ended up with the passenger's side down, Ben suspended above me, and our daughter, Bailey, in the back behind me.

God quickly provided people to help us in our time of need. I was rushed to the hospital, separated from Ben and Bailey, to see the condition of the baby. The doctor listened to the heartbeat with the doppler and I heard nothing. Silence. Dead. Several minutes later the doctor said all was fine. I wasn't hearing correctly apparently. I heard nothing on the doppler! He then told me that he had turned the volume down in case there wasn't a heartbeat!

I felt very blessed! I soon was joined by Ben and Bailey at the hospital. Though we were all sore and a bit battered, we were fine. That baby has now become a beautiful young woman. She loves the Lord, loves her family, and has a great future ahead of her!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Pondering

So...years ago I had this all figured out. As the years have gone by, I have decided that I really don't know about it at all and am profoundly confused by the whole thing. I really can't wrap my mind around it.

Why do men like women? Why is there a need to get together? What is the attraction on their part?

It all seemed part of how things should go when I was younger. I never thought to question it or to wonder about it. But as I have gotten older, it makes less and less sense.

Just what I am pondering lately.....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

God Speaks

Up to this point, God seems to have spoken to me first and then later, sometimes years later, HE speaks to Ben. I don't know why this is, but it has held true for most of our big adventures in life.

Years ago, I felt God tell me, in HIS still small voice, something. When I say "years", I mean like over 15 years ago! Though Ben and I have spoken about this on and off throughout the years to each other, and I have heard him mention the occasional, "Lisa seems to feel that.....", I heard him talk to someone the other day, with my own ears!, and he was speaking about it as though it is more and more in his thoughts!

I always smile when that happens. Not because what I think or seem to understand God to say is so perfect or desirable or even what I want to do. No, I smile because I know that a God that I can't see, touch, or define so well has spoken to both of our hearts....at different times...in different ways.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas

I LOVE Christmas! It is so exciting for me to think of things that will put a huge smile on my kids' faces.

We serve a God who likes to give good gifts to his children and I love to do that with my own children. I know it's something HE has put within me.

We have finished school and will spend many days doing fun things with the kids, getting things ready to give to others, and preparing for get togethers that we have been invited to.

It's a happy time around here.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

God's Calling?

How do you know when God is calling you to something and when there is just something that you are thinking of yourself?

God doesn't always call you to what you want to do: think Jonah.

God doesn't always call you to what you don't want to do: think Joshua entering promised land.

This will be my quandry for awhile.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Beginnings of God Moving

God has called Ben into seminary. He now has completed 36 hours of a 62 hour degree plan. Pretty exciting for him to be over halfway done! We are so proud of him!!!

We tend to live our lives with our hands open....allowing God to have HIS way willingly....giving or taking as HE sees fit. Living this way has been freeing for us. We trust that where we are at the time is exactly where God wants us.

So with that in mind, we are beginning to wonder where God will have us go and what HE will have us do after Ben completes seminary.

There are so many options and we can't wait to hear from God on which option is what HE has for us! It's an exciting time, I think. I can feel God beginning to stir our hearts and there are a couple of ways HE seems to be leading us at this moment. Over the next year and a half, those options could change or one could really solidify in a big way. Either way, seeing God move is hands down, the most exciting thing there is!!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Marriage

What is happening to marriages? Over the last year, I have probably heard of more marital issues, separations, divorces, etc...than in all my years put together! I am saddened by all of this.

But when I think of it in light of the messages the world sends us, I am not surprised at all. In fact, I begin to be terribly surprised by each marriage I know that sticks it out!

The world tells us: have it your way, you deserve it, you are worth it, happiness is what life is all about, do what makes you happy, if it feels good do it, and on and on and on.

When those are the messages you are listening to, why then would you stay in a marriage when you are feeling sad, lonely, alone, unhappy, and put upon?

Marriage is hard. There are times of great peace, ease, fun, and happiness. Then there are times of difficulty, pain, work, and feeling as though you are in it by yourself. But marriage isn't about us, or our happiness, or our feelings. Marriage makes us better. Marriage softens our edges and rough spots. Marriage makes us give ourselves up for the betterment of someone else. When you decide to push through the hard parts, to make it to the softer parts, you win!

Winning is remarkably satisfying! Be a winner and push through the pain to gain the rewards of your hard work. You'll be eternally pleased....and so will the children who see how you are doing this thing called "marriage". They will have a better foundation under them when it's time for them to begin making decisions about life and love.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hopes and Dreams

Get my private pilot's license. Get my master's degree in Education Administration. Own horses. Work as a translator for the U.N.. Live in Spain forever. Travel. Own my own education supply store.

These are just some of the dreams I had in my younger years. Some of them even into marriage. My kids are always amazed when they find out either things I have done in my life (I am certified in scuba), or things I have wanted to do. I know it's because it's hard to imagine your mom as being unmarried, with dreams and hopes.

I still have some of those same dreams....though I know that in reality most of them won't happen. I have new dreams now too.

Being the best mom ever. Loving my husband like no wife has ever loved her husband. Walking so humbly with my God. Trying something new everyday. Having grandchildren. Baking and cooking new things often.

New dreams don't mean settled-for dreams. They change as the reality of my life changes. Oh! Deep down I still have pieces of my old self from my old life....so some old dreams are still there...but I sure love the sound of my new dreams!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Friends

I have been blessed in life to have some really great people around me. Starting with my family growing up. We were a small family....two adults, two children. We were close. I was the youngest and the "funny" one. Good place to be in a family, in my opinion!

I've had some great friends. Friends who have been true blue, stand up, and wonderful. I don't keep up with most of them, but they have made an impression on me nonetheless.

I have amazing friends at the moment. I have one in particular who calls me each and every Monday and we hold each other accountable. The questions we ask each other have really helped me! I smile when I see her!!

I love that God has provided gals who are fun, funny, great to be with, and love Jesus! They love me, care enough to speak truth to me, lift me up. In general, they make my life better!

The greatest person God has given me is my husband, Ben. He is my greatest gift and certainly one that I don't deserve....as with all the gifts, people or not, that God has given.

I pray that I am a friend to others as they are to me.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My Life

My kids are gone to my mother's house helping her decorate and bake Christmas cookies. My husband is napping. My laundry is folded. My dishes are done. I have potpourri simmering on the stove. My house is decorated. And I am sitting here in the quiet, watching a sappy Christmas movie (the best kind), and grinning from ear to ear.

My life has had it's ups and downs. Mostly ups really....but a few downs have come my way. I have always felt very protected....from my family, my friends, and most of all God! As I look over my life, I can see where that protection has saved my life (literally in a couple of cases...and spiritually in most).

I don't have everything I want in life. I am not rich. I have stains on my carpet. And sometimes I pull out a fork and find that my dishwasher hasn't gotten all the food off. I smell my milk before I drink any (every time) because I have had rotten milk. I throw tons of food away because we don't get to it before green or white fuzz grows on it. I am addicted to diet cokes and will search my couch and seats of my van to find the money to get a route 44 diet coke from sonic. I love to eat and overdo it frequently. I am about three sizes bigger than I'd prefer to be. I am nut about traditions. I think you can never go overboard with giving presents. I love giving to anyone I know in need. I have a husband who loves to give to anyone he knows in need. I have one child who throws the biggest tantrums I have ever seen. I have trouble being consistent in life. I am moody and emotional.

But the most important thing is that I am loved.

So I sit here grinning from ear to ear. I have the most perfect imperfect life!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Friend of Old

I have been thinking about someone I used to know. We were such good friends. Did most everything together. We made each other laugh. We were there for each other when we cried. She and I shared so many memories with each other.

Several years ago, she became angry with me and wrote me a letter that our friendship was over. I was devastated. There was no talking to her.

So, tonight, I am thinking of her and hoping that she is well, having a great time, and enjoying this Christmas season.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Funeral...Strange, but True

A viewing and a funeral are a strange thing.

My uncle died recently and tonight was the viewing and funeral. It is surreal to be in a commercial, multi-faith use building. The decor was completely non-descript and bland in a boring classy kind of way. Looking at the front of the room, there was cross that was most certainly interchangeable with a symbol of any other faith tradition. Ewwww...

It's odd to see family I hadn't seen in years. I had cousins show up that I hadn't seen in 22 years. Is it acceptable to laugh in a funeral home? Seems wrong and yet it is what it is.

My uncle's body was in an open casket. And just as when you can't stop looking at a train wreck, I felt compelled to see "him". Of course, it looked just like him and nothing like him at the same time. I don't recall him having that grey hue before, but I do remember that fabulous white, thick, wavy head of hair.

I have some nice memories of my uncle, but I hadn't really seen him much in recent years. He had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's several years ago, and in the last couple of years, the disease had raped him of his mind and capabilities.

There were moments I was overcome with emotion, which was strange since I hadn't seen him in a while. But what was stranger was looking over at some people across the aisle, going through pages on an iPad.

I love my uncle. I love that I went to his funeral. I love that he is no longer trapped in his dwindling body and diminishing mind. I love that he is now in Heaven.

A viewing and a funeral is a strange thing.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Good Eats

Yesterday was a great day for me to cook up a storm! It makes me happy to be in the kitchen cooking for my family and creating things that I think they will like.


On Pinterest, I found a recipe (you can hardly call it a recipe)....but you take canned cinnamon rolls and put four of them in a waffle iron and leave them for 2-3 minutes. They become what I call...cinnaffles. Rawley loved his! Well, they all did and were gone faster than I have seen them eat anything in a long time!



The other recipe I found on Pinterest was for gingerbread cupcakes. They are so good! The gingerbread is not sweet, which is a nice change from so many cupcakes. The sweet comes from the frosting, which has my favorite spices...a bit of cinnamon and allspice. It's a cream cheese based frosting, and oh! so yummy!





I also made a creamy tortellini soup that my family enjoyed as well.


It was a good day, Tater!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pinterest

I keep demolishing that old saying, "An old dog can't learn new tricks." I am an old dog, but I have been learning some new tricks as of late.

The most recent is learning about and loving PINTEREST! I love seeing the recipes, the ideas, the crafts, the travel pics....I pretty much love everything about this site!

It's fun to do new things. So...an old dog CAN learn new tricks! Keep learning.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Our Recent Journey

In 1996, God called our family to begin raising support to become missionaries with Campus Crusade for Christ. We knew that God had called us and that began the most interesting of journeys for us. Though God had called, it didn't mean that it was going to be smooth sailing during the course of support raising.

We certainly had our times of extreme difficulty. There were times that Ben was working so hard on contacting people, asking, doing all the things we were supposed to do....and....nothing. There were moments when we doubted our call. Did we hear God correctly? Are we doing the right thing?

But just when it seemed as though we were about to fall into a bit of despair, God would bring confirmation, in the form of financial support, from somewhere seemingly out of left field. Usually from some area we weren't working. We know that HE did that just so that we knew for sure that it was God who was raising our support, not us.

That was 15 years ago. We have recently been going through something a bit similar. In the last 15 years, God has been very merciful to us with our support. While we have watched as other missionary friends have struggled with their support, we have not. So, it's been especially interesting, and somewhat disconcerting, when in recent days, we have had more supporters informing us of their decision to leave our support team, than in the last 15 years combined....just about.

What is God doing? What are we to do? Well, Ben began the process of raising more support. (this is not something that one does out of joy in the doing!) This is a bit of a chore and takes quite a bit of thought and work. Ben was his normal, hard-working self and just threw himself into the task.

So after a few, short days of despair, God did what HE has always done and provided in big ways for us! We know that HE wants us on this path we are on. It is clear to us that God wants Ben to finish his seminary degree and then to wait for HIS decision on what we do and where we go from there.

There is joy in knowing we are in the middle of God's will. There is peace in seeing HIS hand so clearly in our lives. Ben and I are anxiously awaiting what will be after seminary, but for the moment, we are just thrilled to be here!

Monday, November 7, 2011

RIP Van Doren



Ben heard about the death of the Vans co-founder, Van Doren, the other day. In honor of the genius who began the trend that has captured Ben's heart, he decided to pay homage with a photo of a small selection of his Vans collection. RIP Van Doren and I hope that my Ben's heart heals quickly. :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Rainey's Party

Rainey turned 8 in September, and losers that we are, just were able to get his party arranged yesterday! But what a fun time the boys had! We had a friend in the military give the boys a tour of the flightline. They got to go in a plane, try on a flight helmet, and learn so much about all the aspects of being a pilot!

Our friend, Matt, was so amazing in taking time out of his day to guide the boys all over. They had such a great time.

Here is Rainey with the helmet on. I think he looks like Top Gun! What do you think?


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Our Traditions

I was asked to speak at MOPS this morning on the traditions that our family does. It was such a privilege to be asked to do that. Of course, having family traditions is one of my most favorite things, so it was easy to talk about. I thought I would publish the list of traditions that I shared with the group.

Thanksgiving:
Trip to LR to be with friends
Black Friday shopping
Christmas:
Tacos
Christmas PJ’s
Christmas in July
Cinnamon rolls
Straw manger
Decorating
12 Days of Christmas
Friends of the kids for Christmas cookie decorating
Operation Christmas Child boxes
New Year’s:
Blessing box
Globes of gratefulness
Valentine’s Day:
Books on the kids’ placemats at breakfast
Easter:
Longaberger baskets
Miscellaneous:
Barbarian Night
Saturday Night Ice Cream Night
Birthdays: any meals they want
Restaurant of choice for lunch
No chores
No school
½ birthdays
American Idol each week as a family
Animal school
I love you first game
Ben cooking lunch each Sunday after church
Passport 2 Purity weekend
Girls get ears pierced at age 8

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Deja Vu?

I have been thinking about high school recently. I hated high school! I have never attended a reunion. I only keep in (light) touch with one high school friend. I have many not good memories of those days. Awkward would be the word to describe the whole endeavor from sophomore year on. (LOVED freshman year!....different school)

So...why are these memories and feelings coming back up again? I have been reminded of my social status (or lack thereof) recently with women around me. Though the memories of those old days are painful, I can actually laugh, most of the time, at what is happening now. OK...laugh might be too strong, but I can smile through it most of the time.

I was always friendly with the "popular" group and when the event was large enough or they wanted more people, I would be invited (think b-list...or maybe c-list). When it was just "the group" that was desired, I was not part of that. I understood this mentality clearly. I was probably like that with my own circle of friends, too. But there was this way that they had of making you KNOW that that was where you stood and that they held your social status in their hands.

I am finding that the same thing is still happening as a grown up. I am on the periphery of the "A" list (I am still probably mostly c-list, myself), and am invited to things when the event calls for more people. The interesting thing these days, is that, though it can still be strangely painful, I like who I am and I like what God is doing in me. So when this group tries to make me feel as though they hold my social status in their hands, I can boldly say, "No you don't!"

I can look at things differently these days, but odd how I can still revert to those old feelings.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Far-From-Ordinary part 2

God closed the door on my friend yesterday. What should have been relief, humanly speaking, washing over, knowing that my friend didn't have to go through something so scary, potentially, was actually sadness! The whole family was sad.

So amazing....yet another proof that my friend is extremely extraordinary and that God is doing something very special in the life of this family. I am proud to know them!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Far-From-Ordinary Friend

Ever had the feeling that God was calling you to do something, but that something scared you to death? Ever kept on doing it God's way, in spite of the fear?

I have a friend who is going through that right now. This friend has a nudging from God, has begun the process of looking into what God has presented, and has moments of sheer terror! My friend is extraordinary! Though that is the farthest thought from my friend's mind! Extraordinary is not the word that would be selected by my friend, but rather, ordinary, average.

The way my friend is seeking the Lord's wisdom and will, no matter the result, even in the midst of frightening possibilities....well, in my book, that is truly amazing, inspirational, and extraordinary!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Marriage

Marriage has been the topic of more discussions than I care to think about lately. Mostly, the conversations have been sad....tales of couples we know who are no longer couples anymore....or major failings on the part of one of the spouses. Sadness and depression everywhere! It is very distressing.

What is happening? There are even some "big" marriages that are out there for everyone to see, that are troubled.

Ben is in seminary and is finishing up his second year. This past almost two years, has been the toughest on our marriage. It has taken up so much time....has provided much more stress than we have experienced ever! BUT....though it's been tough, there is no other option for us than to stay married. We persevere through the hard times to come out stronger and better on the other side.

So we are surrounded with all things marriage these days. We will persevere and we will survive....not only for us, but for our children, and for the people who watch us as we live out our marriage.

And it will all be to the glory of God!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Humbling

Humility has never been my strength. I have always had too much pride, even when I really had no reason to be prideful.

Over the years, as I have gotten older, I have noticed that God is working on me in this area. I have been praying for HIM to help me without the lesson being too painful, and HE has generously answered that prayer.

But I must say that the latest situation HE has put me in is the hardest so far. I am taking karate alongside Rawley, our 5 year old. Twice a week, he and I go to class. We start class together and then quickly after, we are taken away with some of the more advanced students to learn the basics. Rawley and I are not together in this process. Some of the more advanced students who help me are 9 years old! They walk by me and tell me, nicely, that my belt is tied incorrectly. I humbly untie my belt and tie it correctly and then say thank you. ouch! Then, as I am fumbling through the basic moves, I have another youngster repositioning my fist, telling me to straighten my back leg, to stop scooping my hand, etc... Each time, I look him in the eye and say thank you, and try again.

I have never been in this position and it's an interesting place to be. But I know that God has placed me here for a reason and, not only will I eventually get better at karate, I will also get even better at humility and showing grace in difficult situations.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ugly Things I Have Learned About Myself

I've learned a lot about myself in the last days. Most of it not so great. I've learned that I am a bit mopey when I am not happy about something or don't get my way. I've learned that I use silence to attempt to hold power over people (that I learned from my parents growing up). I've learned that I am excessively self absorbed and selfish and tend to turn things going on with others into something about me.

Why am I like that? I don't like any of those traits when I see them in others...so why do I somehow think they are acceptable in myself?

I don't have the answers, but I am now much more cognizant of the problem and will be working on it! I want to model much better behavior for my children. I want to be much more pleasant to my husband (and others). I want to be a much better representative of Christ to the world!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ready To Face The World

We have tried over the years to expose our children to things of the world when they are the right age to handle it. We aren't always successful...but we have tried. Not to hide them from the world or isolate them forever...but to truly give them worldly truths when they are able to deal with it in an age-appropriate manner.

This week, our oldest has now been exposed to the reality of insurance, car wrecks, police reports, etc. She was involved in an accident that was not her fault. But, boy!, is she feeling the effects of the poor decision on the other driver's part.

Our daughter had a car, though not her uber favorite, was in excellent condition, ran well, not a junker, worked perfectly for her purposes! The insurance company has now deemed her car a total loss as it would cost more to fix it than it is worth. That is the problem....the harsh reality she is now ready for...the exposure we would have hidden from her earlier. She was sucked into another's sin and she is going to have to come up with the extra to find a new car.

Frustrating though it is, she is now ready for this and, I must say, is handling it beautifully! I am proud of her reactions and how she is dealing with all of this. Just like we don't expect babies to begin reading because we know that they aren't ready for it, we also should be careful of what we expose our kids to early because they just might not be ready for it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Generosity

I love being generous! Though being given gifts is not necessarily my top love language (but I do love a good gift!), I LOVE giving gifts! It brings me joy beyond all else.

Even as a little girl, I would tape quarters in handwritten notes to my mom. :)

Though we don't live on much, financially, God has always allowed us to be able to give to others. I am thrilled that my husband has the same view on giving as I do!

Yesterday, my husband had the opportunity to speak with someone about their financial situation. He had the ability to say, "I'll pray about that for you." or to give lots of ideas on how this person could help themselves. Though he did all of the above, it also dawned on him that we could help out also! We had the ability to do that for him. Why wouldn't we do that?

Josh McDowell once spoke about a time when he was speaking with someone who needed a car desperately. Josh said that he would pray about that and hoped that the Lord would answer with the provision of a car. When Josh got home, it dawned on him that he didn't even need to pray about that! He and his wife had a car that they didn't use and could easily give the person who needed one. God had already provided!

That's how Ben and I feel so often. We don't even need to pray about something that it is within our means and ability to provide! God has blessed us so often over the years in allowing us to be the ones to provided for others' needs!

How about you? What are you "praying" about that could already be answered through you?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ideas Anyone?

I heard a statement at a function I went to the other day that I have been noodling on.


Information without application is abortion.


It is, on the surface, an inflammatory statement, to be sure. But the more I ponder it, the more I agree with it.


When you receive information, and you don't apply the information you receive, it's like not letting the information come to it's full potential.


Still noodling on it. Ideas?

Friday, August 19, 2011

New Normal

Daddy is now living in a memory wing of a nursing home. His room is warm and inviting. He looks terrific. The food is fabulous. There are only six residents currently....and can only be eight total when the rooms are all full.

But it's still not right! Oh! Don't get me wrong. This was the best decision for Daddy and for Mom. She needed rest! Mom was wearing herself out and that wasn't acceptable. But it's still not right.

Years ago, when we were thinking of what life would be like when my parents hit their mid-70's, this was not the "normal" we were thinking of. We didn't contemplate the fact that Daddy would have Alzheimer's and have to live somewhere else. We didn't anticipate having to visit Mom in her home and Daddy in his "home".

So...our idea of "normal" has had to change. It has been a difficult time mentally, for my children and for me. We visit Daddy, and though in general, we don't cry when we leave anymore, we leave with a heavy heart.

Oh, for the day when Daddy gets a new mind and body and is at peace worshipping Jesus! These are the days I am most frustrated with the Adam/Eve saga!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Feelings: Real or Not?

I am ssslllloooowwwwlllyyy learning to not trust my feelings. There are days that I am so sure of some emotion that I am feeling....only to discover the next day or a couple of days later, that the situation is different.

Why am I like that? I don't know that I am different than any other person, but since it's something that we don't talk about very often, it seems as though I go through this alone. I am discovering that most of my uneasiness about life comes with the change of my hormones.

But my question is: how do I finally decide when what I think is happening, really is happening, and when it isn't?

Just what I am pondering today!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Routine

The "un"-routine of summer was delightful in the beginning. No plans. No place we needed to be. No hurry.

But now the routine of the new school year is just as pleasant. A bit more of a schedule. Some every week kinds of things. Structure.

I would not normally think of myself as a "structure" kind of gal....but the older I get, I am appreciating it more and more. I think it comes down to a bit of pride, really. (seems as though many things head that way for me these days) I enjoy that feeling of accomplishment that comes with completing my agenda.

Oh! Don't get me wrong! I am still a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal...especially when compared to most everyone around me! But I am beginning to really appreciate the idea of routine. I don't want to become so enamored of routine that I become one of the cantankerous old women.

Eventually I want to have grandchildren running amok in my house/yard and I don't want to be the one yelling at them to "get off the grass"! I want to enjoy life with them.

I think that is what it comes down to....I want to enjoy the life God has for me....whether it's in the routine or the spontaneity.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Friends

I feel like the apostle Paul when he kept wanting to go to Spain to visit believers there and the Holy Spirit kept him from making that trip. Paul didn't understand it, but he lived with it...and probably rested in the fact that God had a reason for it.

I have a dear friend from years and years ago with whom I am visiting right now. We lived together, obviously, when we first met, but haven't lived near each other since then. She and her family almost were able to move near recently, but the Lord had other plans. How I would love to be near her, learn from her, grow with her...laugh, cry, encourage, and be encouraged. But the Holy Spirit keeps it from happening. The Lord has other ideas.

So, like Paul, I don't understand it. Like Paul, I will live with it and have for years. But unlike Paul, I don't always rest in the fact that God has a reason for it.

I DO, though, appreciate very much the extremely short times we do get to spend together. Though they are few and far between, the Lord allows them to quench my thirst...to settle my soul...to encourage me once again.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Conflicted

I seem to be conflicted about a lot of things lately. I don't particularly like that feeling, but I guess no one does, really. There is much more comfort when you are completely confident in your decisions, opinions, and thoughts. But confidence and being sure is not where I am at these days.

Do I keep homeschooling?
Do I get rid of certain things in my home?
Do I get involved in that activity?
Do I stop being involved in that activity?
Should the kids be doing some other outside thing?
Why are my friends going through difficult times?
How do I calmly and patiently accept things that happen?
Do I really believe in mission over method?
Why do men want to be married?
Why did that guy say that thing to his wife?
Who are my real friends?
Why are we having to change our "normal" with Daddy?
What is God calling us to after seminary?

Those are just part of the things that cross my mind on a daily basis. Always something. This doesn't seem to be the season of answers, but of questions. So...I wrestle with them and will continue to until God brings answers or brings me into a different season.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Contented

We went to see a newborn baby the other day. He is a beauty! Quite a keeper. His family is so excited that he is here finally. He has a big brother who is very curious about this new little guy coming into his family.

He is a true gift from God.

The interesting thing to me was my feeling as I watched him. I found myself perfectly content with the family God has given me. No deep-down ache to have another little one....no sadness that he wasn't mine. Just pure thrill for his family!

So....since that feeling has never happened before, I am assuming that God is clearly telling me that my quiver is full. I am grateful for the sweet lives HE has given me. I am grateful for this content feeling. I am grateful that we are moving into new phase in our lives.

What a joy to look upon others' happiness and just be able to enjoy their happiness with them. That is what God wants from me in the rest of my life too! Oh! How hard that can be. But I have tasted the peace that comes with contentedness for just a moment, and love it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Acquitted...Sadly

So....here is the question that I am currently pondering...for those of you who love to know just what I am thinking....




If I were accused in court of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me?



Sadly, as I am being reminded daily...there would NOT be enough evidence to convict me. God is showing me so many areas in which I need to be bolder, speak up, share, do, be, etc...


How about you?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Skin on Skin Part 2

I was able to see this "skin on skin" concept lived out last week. I was in Little Rock and was privileged to go out to breakfast one morning with my friend, Lisa. During our normal routine of eating, making fun of how she orders food, etc...I began to share some struggles I have been having...not major things, but nuisances big enough for me to blab. Lisa was able to redirect me, point me to true north, and remind me of who I am and whose I am!

Skin on skin lived out. I left breakfast warmed, thriving, and ready to begin this journey called "life" once again. Thanks, Lisa!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Skin on Skin

I have been thinking about when my kids were born. At some point, while I was in the hospital with each one of them, I was told that their temperature was a bit low. To solve this problem, the nurse had me completely undress my baby and place him (or her) against me, skin on skin.

It always seemed a bit strange to me. Seemed like the baby would be warmer by bundling up in more clothes or blankets.....but that's not what worked. What worked was both of us becoming completely vulnerable and getting as close together as possible. Very quickly, we both could feel the effects of this skin on skin method. We became like toaster ovens and soon, my baby would be out of danger and thriving again.

Isn't that like the life that God has designed us to live? We tend to think that when we aren't doing well, that we can just isolate and bundle up more and somehow warm ourselves up enough that we get ourselves out of danger and thrive again. But we couldn't be more wrong! God wants us to live in community...accountability and mentoring. HE wants us to become vulnerable and live so closely with others that we warm each other, get each other out of danger, and thrive again...all done skin on skin.

Who are you helping to thrive? Who is helping you? Try living skin on skin and see how God warms you up enough to really live!!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer Time

Darby took this pic of the three littlest ones. I love these kids very much. I love the photographer. And I love the one who isn't in this pic! Fun summer picture.

Monday, May 16, 2011

To Remember....

Daddy has Alzheimer's.

He is slipping away, mentally, right before my eyes.

The other day, I was sitting with him while my mom was taken out by a friend for her birthday. When I sit with Daddy, I always ask questions about his past and love to hear the fun stories he tells. This time it was different. He didn't know who I was.

Now, I know that that is the way with Alzheimer's! I get it! But up to this point, he might not have known others, but has always known me.

It was quite a shock that rocked me to my core. I don't know why it was so horrific for me....he goes in and out of knowing my mom (his wife for 51 years) and my brother...but I guess since he had always known me, I allowed myself to live under the delusion that he would always know me.

Not to be the case.

I realize that I have allowed myself this little delusionary fantasy before. For instance, since I have worn glasses since 2nd grade, for some reason I thought that I would never have bi-focals! I know....why would one preclude the other? But you see where my mind lives! :)

Yesterday, at church, he knew me by name again. What a blessing for me! I will treasure those moments from now on in a different way than before.

I love Daddy so very much!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tale of Two Cities

After having spent a week in Little Rock, the kids and I are back home. Lovely to be home. Lovely to be in Little Rock. I always feel so very loved when I am in Little Rock. I always feel so very loved when I am back home.

How is that?

God has provided two very different places that are both my homes! Each place has special people...near and dear to my heart folks.

I am truly blessed!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Emotions! Ugh!

I am an emotional gal. I have always been an emotional gal. And I can only assume that I will always be an emtional gal.

I hate it!

I was able to meet with two sweet gals yesterday. They are gals who were in our Sunday School class in Little Rock....I love them dearly. We were talking about homeschooling and our lives and our children....and our husbands. It was just regular conversation. Nothing spectacular. Nothing earth-shattering.

So after a terrific time of chatting, catching up, and seeing babies I hadn't met yet, what do I do?

I cry! All the way home, I cried! Ridiculous...yet, there was something in that mundane, everyday conversation that made me miss them so much. Made me miss the relationship we had when we saw each other at least weekly.

I am emotional and I hate it!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Reconciliation!

Reconciliation is a beautiful thing.

When two people have been misconnecting...living separate lives while trying to get back...well, that's pretty painful and sad.

But when God, in a moment that could be seen as ordinary and even mundane, brings those same two folks together, and in that ordinary moment, creates an explosion that melds their hearts once again...well, that's miraculous!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Regret

Do you ever look back on your life and cringe a little with the regret you feel over certain things? I don't mean wallow in it...or live in it...but just a little, teeny peak with a feeling knowing that you wish you had done things differently?

I do...periodically. I have been thinking about things the last day or so and so many events come to mind for me. Strange things from weird times in my life. Some as far back as elementary school.

The way I made fun of how the new girl in my 2nd grade class spoke.

The lie I told to not get in trouble.

The friend who wrote and told me we were no longer friends because she felt I slighted her.

The kids I taught my first year of teaching...did they learn anything?

The way I have put my children, so many times, above my husband.

The eyes that no longer twinkle as they look at me for various decisions I have made.

I don't live amongst these thoughts and memories, but they do cause me to regret things I've done (or haven't done) over the years. Sadly, they aren't the only ones on the list and even more sad is that fact that I will regret things that haven't even happened yet.

Monday, April 25, 2011

How to Encourage a Loved One?

How do you go about encouraging someone? How would you make someone feel loved, cherished, accepted? When someone you love feels a bit beat up at work, how do you go about making him/her feel wonderful again?

These are my questions for tonight.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Jonah and Me

I am ashamed to admit that I was just like Jonah yesterday....not the good Jonah who eventually went and proclaimed the message God had for Ninevah...but the Jonah after the deed was done.

Let me explain:

I had to participate in a potentially difficult meeting yesterday. An incident had been brewing and it was time to have a chat with someone to attempt to correct the situation. The meeting went really well...much better than could have ever been anticipated! What a praise! What a great thing! Right?

Well...later in the day yesterday, I realized that I wasn't right emotionally. It took me a while to put my finger on the whole thing. But then it hit me!...I was mad that the meeting went so well. Apparently, deep down (okay..not so deep), I wanted a different result. I wanted this person to leave the group. I wanted this person to pay just a little (or a lot) for some of the trouble that I felt I suffered.

Wasn't that just what Jonah did after Ninevah responded positively to God's message? Shouldn't he have been thrilled that they realized the mistake they were making and stopped immediately and repented? I have always thought that his reaction was strange. Who would react the way he did?

Well...it was humbling, painful, and embarrassing to realize that I was responding just as Jonah did. I am grieved that I didn't immediately praise God for HIS faithfulness in this situation. It was a near miracle of Ninevah-sized proportions that the time was so very positive and instead of rejoicing, I chose to make it all about me...mope about...and then be a bit angry at God.

I hope I don't respond like that ever again! I am praying that this was a wake up call for me!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Interesting Day

We had an interesting day on April 9.


Our oldest turned 21! How exciting! She LOVES her birthdays, but this one naturally had a bigger expectation that went with it. We had been planning for quite a while. She had picked out her lunch place and then some of her good friends were taking her out to dinner. Her main party "function" was happening the next day as several of us went to a paint place in town and painted for three hours! It was so much fun. The interesting part was the morning of her birthday.


As we are getting ready to walk out the door to go to her lunch, we get a call that Ben's oldest brother had passed away. WOW! It was a real shock. He was only 7 years older than Ben. The blessing was that he died in his sleep. It was an apparent stroke. Though Ben's family is not the most close-knit family ever, it was difficult to not be sad, stunned, and introspective.


We went to lunch and celebrated with Bailey and then came home. Ben discovered that he was vascillating between being okay with the news and being much sadder than he ever anticipated being.


Interesting day to celebrate a birth and a death in the same family.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Haven In A Heartless World

I read a quote the other day from Christopher Lasch who once said that "Family is a haven in a heartless world." I love that...but I am changing it a bit.
HOME is a haven in a heartless world.


I want my family to view our home that way. The minute they walk through the door, I'd love to see a visible release of the stress, tension, and problems of the day. I want our home to be an almost magical place of grace, peace, love, acceptance, and the arms of Jesus waiting to envelope.


What is your home like? Do your children enjoy being out of it more than being in it? Do they do whatever they can to escape it or do they rush home to the haven that takes them as they are, but loves them enough to push them a bit?


I want my kids to love being here. I want my kids to come back even when they have moved out. And I want my kids to love it enough to be compelled to create their own haven for their future families.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Not Ordinary, But Extraordinary

Ben and I have this talk we have with our children who turn 13. It goes something like this: All the books and professionals say that now it is normal for you to rebel and become unfun to live with for several years, but it's not required and we don't do that. So far, that little talk has worked. Almost like they needed to know there really was another option out there for them to choose. I have decided that we need to bring a similar talk to the rest of our children. It goes something like this: The rest of the world is ordinary....they act unloving, unkind, rude, impolite, uncompassionate. But DeBusks are extraordinary...we are children of God...so act like the extraordinary people you are...be loving, kind, nice, polite, and compassionate!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What I Suck At!

My friend, Gregg Stutts, has a great blog (http://blog.greggstutts.com/) and has a fabulous post today! He makes a terrific point that we should believe what we know to be true about God, instead of what we see in our circumstances, but how hard that is for us as humans to do! I highly recommend you checking out his blog today. But reading his blog and watching the video he has posted, got me thinking about how well I believe God instead of what I can see. Bottom line is that I suck at that! I hate that I am horrible at that. I want to be better...so I am on a new mission to believe what I KNOW to be true! I have one area in particular in which God has allowed for just this purpose, I think. (I'm sure I have more than one, but there is DEFINITELY one area) What about you? What do you believe in?

Living the Undreamed Dream

My kids are always amazed when they find out something about me that they didn't know before. I guess I was like that with my folks too, but it amuses me nonetheless. I remember being so much younger and actually having dreams and thoughts of my own. Most of those have not come to pass, but it's ok.... My dreams in my younger years were for experiences that I wanted to have...things I wanted to do...all about me, basically. Dreams for achievement and accolades. Dreams for fun and frivolity. As I have gotten older, (dare I say "matured"), my dreams have turned a bit more outward focused. Dreams for others. Dreams for God and His glory. I could let myself get very defeated about this, if I chose to think that way. Yes, I had wanted to get my private pilot's license and never did....yes, I wanted to get my master's degree in educational administration...so many others. BUT...what was the point of those things? To make me happy? To bring me some sort of fulfillment? To bring security to my life? I have all those things already in the form of undreamed dreams! I have a fabulous husband...five great children...a beautiful home...a wonderful, quirky extended family...I get to stay at home and teach my own children and watch their eyes light up when they get it...I get to volunteer for things much greater than myself and make a difference... In short...I am living the dream! It's just a different dream than I used to have. But oh! so much better of a dream!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Held Hostage

We've all heard the saying: If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. I don't really like this saying, but I must say that in our house, it's the opposite: If Papa ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. Ben is such a strong, central figure in our home that we do tend to hang on his moods. If he has had a great day, he comes home and it just shows all over his face...all over his actions with us. The opposite is just as true. I hate that we allow ourselves to be swayed by one person. I think it's a lot of pressure on Ben, too. I have a saying that I use on our 5 year old. He tends to like to manipulate us by using his emotions. I say to him, "We will not be held hostage by your emotions." (I know...sounds goofy to say that to a 5 yr old...but one day he will get it...and for now, he understands that we don't like what is happening.) I think I am going to use a version of that on myself from now on with Ben (or anyone else I might allow this from). "I will not hold myself hostage to your emotions." Just a thought...we'll see how it works in reality.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Not To Us, But To God...

So....this is my 500th blog post! WOW! God has blessed Ben and me so much with our children. We have had so many folks compliment us over the years about our oldest, Bailey. How mature, how polite, etc....And now we are getting compliments about our second, Darby. It is an honor to get these kind words, but I must say that God just plopped our kids into our home this way. We have hardly known what it's like to parent really. We are humbled. Why God has chosen to bless us in this way, I don't know. We love our kids, and it's quite a privilege to know that others love and appreciate them too! It's not to us, but to God be the glory.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Forgotten Love

I knew when I was little that I was being called to be a teacher. I did all I could even as a little girl to gain knowledge and experience along those lines. I taught each year, from as early as I could, in vacation Bible school, helped my teachers as much as they would let me...(though I am quite sure I became quite obnoxious!) I ended up getting my degree in Elementary Education and taught for nine years and then started my adventure in homeschooling with my own kiddos. Teaching a class of 30 is very different from teaching 5 individual students....I love both ways of doing it. But with homeschooling, it's been a long while since I have taught a class. Last night I was privileged to teach a group of 3rd-6th grade boys and girls for their council time in AWANA. What fun it was! I forgot how energized I get by doing that. Anyway, it was wonderful and I hope I get the chance to do it again sometime.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Old Friend....Tina

I love, love, love reconnecting with old friends! I have a dear friend who has been in my life for almost 24 years. She and her husband were there going out to eat with us when we were first married. They decorated our home for when we brought home our first baby. We have prayed together, cried together, and most fun of all....laughed together. We both think the same things are funny and we laugh a lot!

I was privileged to speak to her for over an hour last night and I have been on a high ever since. She always leads me back to Jesus and grounds me. She knows me so very well. And, yes, we laughed most of the time.

God has been so gracious to me over the years in the people HE has brought into my life. Tina is just one of several...but such a special one. I am deeply in love with her and will be for life! Thank you, Tina, for what you have brought to my life.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Just Wondering....

When one has been praying for something and then it happens....is it automatically God that has answered that? Meaning...is it always a good thing? Or could it be we have worked hard to make it happen? Or some other reason it is occuring?

Just wondering...interesting things seem to be happening and I just think about these things.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Life Is Better Together!

I truly do NOT believe that it takes a village to raise a child....it takes a mom and dad. But, that being said, I do think that we live better, easier, and follow Christ's example more when we live in community.

What does community mean in this case? Well....I think it means allowing other believers to get all up in your business and them allowing you to do the same. Just knowing what is going on in each others' lives. Caring enough to stick around and see what is happening and then to help fill any holes there might be.

Perfect case in point is my dear friend, Nikki. She is so very special and lovely and wonderful...but she is quite an independent thing. She broke her foot a couple of weeks ago, which required surgery. She also has two young boys who need her (or someone) to get things for them and do for them. Her husband has stepped up in mighty ways, but there are still holes.

Nikki never let anyone know of her need, hence no one knew of it. They carried on their lives as normal. Now...they aren't too be let off the hook totally either. She had not been attending church or Sunday school lately due to myriad of issues and they never called to check in and see what was happening.

Living far away from Nikki means that I don't talk to her frequently either...(doesn't let me off the hook, either), so I didn't know about her foot. But when I did, I scrambled the fabulous ladies in the Sunday school class to get meals going for Nikki's family. They rallied so quickly....I was stunned!

That is the way community works. We see a need and then do what we can to fill it and walk with folks through the current fire. We can do this thing and I think it is one of the most glaring greatnesses that non-Christians see out of the Christian community!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Modern Day Job?

Remember Job? I do. God allowed Satan to do his thing in Job's life and was allowed to take all he had except for Job's life. Job had to have gotten completely discouraged and despondent losing his entire family, his home, and his livelihood. Though discouraged and confused about what was happening, Job continued to have faith and trust God. Amazing!

I have a living example of that in my life. My dear friend, Sara, is close to living out Job's life. She and her family have experienced so many trials. Livelihoods have been taken. The next grocery shopping trip and the next rent payment are not taken for granted. They are, once again, causes to praise God and HIS faithfulness.

But they are tired and are getting discouraged and they are confused. Yet through it all, they have faith and trust God that HE is good and knows what is happening.

I am confident that God and Satan have had conversations similar to the one they had with Job and that God actually said, "Have you considered my servant, Sara?" I think that Satan has taken God up on HIS challenge and that Sara and her family are proving God right!

Hang in there, Sara! You are dearly loved and I have never seen God provide in such miraculous ways as HE has with your family.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Not Just FOR, but THANKS!

Someone posed this question to my daughter the other day:

What if all you had when you woke up were the things you thanked God for yesterday?
What a question! It had made me think about how I am praying.
I pray FOR my family, but do I THANK God for them daily?
I pray FOR my homeschooling, but do I THANK God for the ability to do that daily?
I pray FOR neighbors, folks in my church, etc.., but do I THANK God for them?
You might pray FOR your job, co-workers, etc..., but do you THANK God for them daily?
We might pray FOR the trials and difficulties we have in our lives, but do we THANK God for them, knowing that they have been allowed for a purpose?
You get the idea....
Ask yourself this seemingly innocuous question and then watch how God uses it to transform your prayer life!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Thin Veil

I've probably written this before, but I need to say it again. Years ago, Ben and I were given an opportunity to go to Gettysburg and attend a leadership conference. The big part of the conference was going to all the battlefields there and re-living, in a sense, the things that took place. It was an amazing time and one I will never forget! Our first night there, we began at a small field near our hotel and listened to the speaker talk about different things. One thing he said has stuck with me. He said that he always thought of Gettysburg as a "thin veil"....meaning that it seemed as though the events in history and God's hand were only a thin veil away...as to almost be able to see it happening.

As we got back home, things began happening in our church at the time where I felt the same there. Aslan was on the move and God was working mightily. Prayers were being answered seemingly right in front of our eyes. Lives were being changed. I was privileged to be a tiny part of the whole thing. I said then that I felt as though our church was a "thin veil".

Well...it's happening again. The church we are in now is moving! Not in the physical sense, but spiritually. Things are happening and God is very present. Once again, I am feeling the "thin veil" and I am overwhelmed by the way God works. I am in awe!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Wicked!


We were given Wicked tickets for Christmas! How fun to go, take the girls for an afternoon, and see a fabulous play.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Words

I remember my daddy saying to me one time that I was fat. Why do I remember that one particular statement, when the only other things he ever told me was how much he loved me? how great I was? etc....

It was just the one time...but I remember just the house we lived in when he said it. I remember where I was in that house when he said it. I remember what I was wearing when he said it. I remember the feeling I had when he said it....like I was punched in my apparently-too-big stomach.

Do we know, or care, the effect our words have on others? Do we even pay attention to what we are saying or do we just proverbially vomit all over those around us based on our emotions and then just walk away?

I am very guilty of saying the wrong things at the wrong times. (is there ever a right time to say the wrong thing?)

Just remembering that today and feeling sad.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Creativity

I was watching some of my kids yesterday and began smiling and feeling quite contented. Why? Because I was watching them pursue things that was a creative outlet for them. Ben and I both have our creative outlets...they manifest themselves very differently.

Ben is exact, detailed, anal (some would say ) :). You can find him drawing doodles, but they are more technically correct doodles. He also loves to make the AWANA Grand Prix cars. But....he puts in dozens of hours (could be hundreds of hours), making sure the details he wants are perfect. His creations are beautiful!

I love to cook and bake. I love trying new things and seeing a bunch of regular ingredients on my counter become something truly delicious. I also have begun to enjoy going to the Paint With A Twist and try my hand at painting. I would never classify myself as a painter, but I realize when I am there, that I am happy and content and I can get lost in my painting.

Yesterday I had my oldest daughter in the dining room with my table completely covered with things to make invitations to her party. These creations are gorgeous! Each one is a piece of art in itself. She also has an eye for interior design and decorating. She can move one piece and voila! the whole room looks different.

My second daughter was outside refinishing a chair that we got for free. She has glued it back together, sanded it, and has now repainted it. Next she has to recover the seat and it's done. She also has an eye for fashion and style. She can put the most different pieces together and all of a sudden, you want to wear what she is wearing!

My third daughter loves crafts and working with all sorts of things...beads, paint, any artwork. She is constantly re-organizing her craft area and room (which I think is very creative in and of itself). She has an eye for fun! She enjoys the pleasure of doing something new.

My boys, so far, are all boys. Haven't seen too much in them, but they are little still. I can imagine that they will discover their own creative heart in a few years.

Creativity is just one more way I connect with God. In my creative endeavors, I can get the smallest of tastes of the joy that God feels in creating. I can get the tiniest of inklings of the pleasure that God gets in creating. I can get the infinitesimal of ideas of how God loves HIS creations.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kiddos

Darby's birthday was great! Isn't she beautiful?

Rawley...enjoying a carrot cake cupcake...his eyelashes are insane!


Rainey finally decided that he liked carrot cake, but like the ones with frosting better! Now that's my boy! :)


Kally and her ever-so-delicate way of doing things.



Darby at the end of her day! She is now waiting oh so patiently for her new laptop to come in the mail!



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Darby Turns 13!!


Darby turns 13 today! What a fun 13 years it's been.
Darby is so very interesting. She is tall, gorgeous, funny, smart, child of God, great friend, lovely daughter, beautiful singer, creative, artsy, imaginative, photographer extraordinaire, budding pianist, has her own style.





Darby...you bring love to our lives. Thanks for these great years and here's to your 14th year! We love you!!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Music vs. Music

Heard a comment yesterday about music in the church. "We can either make the old guy feel comfortable or we can reach his grandchild." On the surface, we all go..."YEA! We want to reach the young." But...really? It's either or? You can't do both? Those are my only choices? I don't think so. I think that if the church is made up of different age groups, then you view it like a one-room schoolhouse. They ALL have to be reached at some point. They ALL have to get attention. They ALL have to know that they are important. Why would you purposely leave out one group because YOU don't like to play that kind of music? YOU don't feel comfortable slowing it down, pulling from the archives of fabulous hymns that are out there, YOU don't like to listen to that sort of music? Who should be the one to put themselves aside in this case? The audience member or the leader? Traditional music lovers (and I love it too) love to demonize contemporary music lovers (and I love it too). But, I think that contemporary music lovers do the same thing...as evidenced in the statement I heard yesterday. As the fabulous theologian, Rodney King, once said, "Can't we all just get along?"

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Paint With A Twist

I got to go to Paint With A Twist again! A few friends and I went out to eat and then to paint. The picture last night was called "Looking Up". Though it was much harder than the last time I went, I had a great time. It's a bit therapeutic actually....and so much cheaper than a real therapist! :)
I can't wait to go back.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

It's Working!

I have tried to adopt this new attitude about events happening around me....kind of a "whatever it is, it's ok" kind of attitude. It's all part of the living-with-my-hands-open philosophy/theology. Most things in my life are not life or death and I am trying to put them in the correct category and react accordingly.

I often wonder if I am failing miserably at this! It's my natural instinct to raise the importance of things to an insane level for my reaction.

BUT!...just yesterday, as I was telling someone about a decision that had been made by someone else (that effects something I'm involved in), my friend said, "Lisa, isn't this bothering you at all?" I had to giggle inside knowing that, while the decision did bother me, I wasn't showing it on the outside! Success! ;)

God IS working within me....and I couldn't be happier!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mama Bear...Again.

It's been a while since my 'mama bear' instincts have shown up....but here they are again. What do you do when someone is not nice to your baby? (and by 'baby'...I could be referring to any of my kids)

I fully recognize that my kids aren't angels! They are not perfect. I know these things all too well. But this particular one is especially sweet and wonderful.

So...I will cope the way I always do when this happens. This time doesn't require my stepping in....YET! But I will step in when needed. I will keep a close eye on the situation. I am sure it will blow over soon.

But until then, I have one child who is a bit down and saddened and I will be there to do the cheering up...ice cream might be in order! :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mentoring

A very, very sweet gal I know and dearly love asked me several months ago, if I would be her mentor. Is anyone ever ready to be that in someone's life? I couldn't be more honored....it means many things to me....

But I feel inadequate. Each time we meet, I feel as though I have failed to do or say something to her. It is a growth experience for me.

Odd....humbling....honoring....

So, I keep at it....keep meeting with her...keep praying for her...keep opening myself so that maybe she can learn from my mistakes (that's a lifetime of learning right there!)....keeping the faith that God has a plan in this relationship.

I will stay in it until God calls me elsewhere.....but I don't think it will ever be a natural thing for me.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Headache

I had a headache for two days! How does one get a two-day-long headache? I don't really know, but I am now also nauseous due to the amount of medication I have been taking to try to rid myself of this monstrosity. I have also discovered that my ears are ringing....probably due to the large amounts of medicine I have been taking to rid myself of this monstrosity!

So...now that the headache is gone, why am I so tentative? I feel as though my head is tender and that the pain could come back at any moment.

I think this is also the phenomenon that happens to me once I have made some grievous error and then gotten forgiveness. I am tentative and scared to do anything for fear of doing the same thing again.

Frustrating! But certainly something to work on! :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

How Good It Is!

How refreshing it is to be able to speak to a friend about matters I might normally wouldn't speak about.

How lovely it is for that friend to be the initiator of the conversation and notice the need/desire for me to chat a bit.

How encouraging it is that God has provided me with a few special people who care.

How humbling it is to know that I am on God's radar and that HE cares for even the smallest need.

I am one blessed woman, indeed....and S.M., you are one big blesser! What a friend you are! Thank you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rawley Turns 5!!

Our youngest, Rawley, turns 5 today! What a surprise he was initially and a surprise he continues to be!


Rawley as a newborn.

Rawley at 6 months.
Rawley at 14 months.

Rawley more recently at 4.

Rawley being goofy at school.
Rawley this morning!
Happy birthday, Rawley.
We love you!

Our Zoo?!

We don't have animals. Not that we haven't tried having animals. We have had gerbils, fish, birds, and dogs. And while the idea of them is quite appealing, the reality of them makes me want to go over the edge.


I grew up with dogs. But once we got a dog, I realized that my mother had done all of the training and that I was horrible at it...but wanted it done...NOW!


Cats and clowns share the same space in my heart....spooky! They completely creep me out. They are mini-lions and always eye my toes as though they are sick gazelles ready to be taken out!


Gerbils, hamsters, and rodents have those darned sharp teeth that they enjoy stabbing right into my fingers. They also are nocturnal...those crazy wheels make a lot of noise at night!
Rabbits are fine, but what do you do with them? They are extremely sensitive to the weather...which in our area is bad! It gets amazingly hot around here.
So...it's interesting that I am looking out my back doors into our backyard, and I see a cat just waking up on a chair on my porch. I just saw a dog run through my yard (don't we have a fence?). We have a rabbit living under our porch. And two days ago, we discovered that a mouse has been living in our garage!
Really?! Didn't I say that the reality of animals makes me want to go over the edge?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Bro

Family is a funny thing. There are these people you live with....when you are little, they are people not of your choosing at all. Later, they are folks of your choosing (or making). Both ways, you have good days (so glad that they are yours!) and bad days (extra! extra! free family member!) Interesting though, I think.

I grew up with a fabulous family. But as I have gotten older, I have realized just how different I was in that group of folks. :) I would probably have searched for adoption papers if I didn't look almost exactly like my brother, who in turn, looks exactly like my mother!

My brother and I got along famously. Better than any other siblings I ever knew as a kid. I liked my brother and he genuinely liked me. What a blessing!

But honestly, would we have been friends if we weren't family? Who knows? Who cares really at this point...but I think that's how God works. He puts people together...calls them family...and then uses that relationship to make us more like Christ. We are family, no matter what!

Through the years, my brother and I have had our ups and downs in our relationship. I have always loved him and I know that he has always loved me too....but we might not have always liked each other. I can honestly say, that now, at this point in our lives, we really like each other again. What a blessing! He makes me laugh! He reminds me that he cares about me! I am proud to count him among my friends.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Resolved, Once Again

I am finding that I am allowing circumstances around me to dictate my moods lately. I hate when I do that. This time, I seem to be recognizing it earlier than I normally do, and I am nipping it in the bud instead of letting it get to full bloom.

There is a buzz around that something that I am really involved in and dearly love is going to be stopped.

I am trying to view this situation as I am most others in my life....living with my hands open. It might be that God has something else in mind, or somewhere else for this event to happen each week, and HE is removing it. It might be that HE is doing nothing with it, and I am being tested with my faith and my responses to things. Or it might be that the "in charge" folks don't understand this thing and are just wanting to scrub the whole thing.

So...not only has God reminded me of my desire to live with my hands open, but has also reminded me of: "Be anxious for nothing. But in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Phil. 4:6

and...

"....do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matt. 6:34

So, I resolve to keep my focus on JESUS and not on world events, knowing that the God who created the universe and also cares about the littlest details also cares about this thing too.

Friday, January 14, 2011

He Cares!

It makes me laugh to see how much God cares about such mundane, little, goofy things on which I place great importance!

Today began our homeschool co-op. There are over 100 families totaling right at 400 folks who come each week. The first week can be crazy! Fires to put out....issues to take care of....questions to answer....complaints to resolve....hugs to give....smiles to pass out....lots of great and not-so-great things can happen.

We had had computer issues this semester that we hadn't had before, so I was expecting some pretty big fires. I had tried to warn the membership, so that they were aware walking in the door that everything wasn't going to be perfectly smooth. I was right...there were fires.

But....everyone was so gracious! You could tell that God had gone before and even made this day...unimportant in the grand scheme of things....wonderful!

What a joy to know that the God of the universe....creator of all things....Savior of the world...cares about our homeschool co-op. Cares about my desire to make this a great day of the week for all of our members. Cares about our littlest concerns.

I am truly blessed!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Failed Already

So....just a few short hours ago I wrote a post about thinking "Lord, make this a place of peace." wherever I go and whatever I do.

Fast forward just a few hours....how I have failed to do this already!!!!

I just got off of a phone call where I completely lost it. I lost my temper. I raised my voice. The person to whom I was speaking was not passing harmlessly through my mind. (refer back to older post)

So...I begin again! Anew. Afresh. Aware of my failings. Ashamed of my weakness.

As I leave my home in a few minutes: "Lord, make this a place of peace."

Place of Peace

I'm reading a book right now where the main character says this frequently:

"Lord, make this a place of peace."
I really like that! I am trying to incorporate that into my thought whenever I go anywhere.
So:
When I wake up in the morning, "Lord, make this a place of peace."
When I head to church, "Lord, make this a place of peace."
When I go to a friend's home, "Lord, make this a place of peace."
When I go to Target, "Lord, make this a place of peace."
I hope when you read this blog you find it a place of peace.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Encouragement

Funny how God works, isn't it? I had just posted today about someone being a great encouragement to me and not but a few hours later, I was able to be an encouragement to another gal!

I love that!

Who has encouraged you today? Who have you encouraged today? Ideally, there should be a name for each question that you can answer! That's the way life in community works.

Sweet Words From a Friend

How do you place a value on the encouragement of a friend? What price would you put on someone stepping out of their busy life for one moment just for you? To lift you up and speak words of love over you?

Well....that just happened to me! And it's priceless!

After reading some of my recent blog postings, a friend took time out of her incredibly busy day to ask me how things are going....to say that she'd been thinking about me....to encourage me to keep up the faith and to keep going.

I'd say she completely fulfilled the admonition in Ephesians 4:29:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building other up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Thanks, friend....you know who you are! But you don't know much you mean to me and how much I value you!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Gifts, Talents, and Abilities

This Friday begins our homeschool co-op for spring. This is no small 3-family co-op....our co-op has over 100 families and there are 400 people on our church campus each Friday! It is a large endeavor!

I am the director of this machine....and I LOVE IT!!! This position fits my gifts, talents, and abilities....and certainly falls right in line with my passion...homeschooling and helping to encourage others who want to homeschool.

Yes, there are frustrating days....Yes, there are days that it crosses my mind to drop this off my schedule...Yes, I want to keep doing to even with that!

What I have discovered and have been reminded time and time again, is that God has given me certain abilities and it's OK to work within those. It's not more spiritual for me to be miserable, necessarily. It's that I am to be wherever God has called and when I do that, I am not going to be completely frustrated always...I am not going to be completely miserable...I am not going to feel as though it's drudgery all days. I am going to feel more encouraged and uplifted by working within my abilities.

What are your abilities, gifts, and talents? Are you working there?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pride

I have a lot of flaws! But I have been working on one in particular over the last several days....pride! My pride manifests itself in thinking that I have to do everything myself...and that I am the only one who can do it correctly.

Now...I HAVE had many times of being encouraged to think that as I have delegated things to be done and they haven't been done...

BUT...that having been said, I have been very guilty of taking on too much and leaving co-laborers feeling inadequate and unnecessary. I haven't asked for help or tried to find out areas in which my fellow workers are gifted.

The Lord has convicted me of this and I am actively working on it. The initial results have been super positive! Those who work with me seem to be happier....seem to feel as though they are valued and needed....! Once again, God is working in me!!!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Faith of a Child

Two boys were in the living room while I was in another room the other day. I begin to overhear a conversation and it went something like this:

Rawley (age 4): Rainey, why did God make the world?
Rainey (age 7): So that he would be friends with all the people. But he doesn't make you be friends with him, but he would love it very much if you did. We need to be friends with God so that we go to Heaven one day. Well, we don't need God, we could become like God IF we did everything perfect all the time and never messed up. But we can't do that. We keep getting tempted to do the wrong thing and we all end up doing the wrong thing. So we need God.

Isn't this the stuff that theologians debate ad nauseum? Isn't this the stuff in which folks get the most detailed degrees in seminary? Isn't this the stuff that fill books ad infinitum? Seems to me like a 7 year old cut through it pretty quickly!

It made me smile because when you teach something to others you really come to master the material even more....Rainey was teaching Rawley. It made me smile because it means that Rainey has heard that information more than once and I can tell you he's never heard it just like that....so he was able to compile the info and come up with his own version. It made me smile because it means the God has got HIS hands on Rainey!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Over My Head

Do you ever feel over your head? I am feeling like that right now. A bit in a quandry as to what to do. I am seeking the Lord and am waiting for His answer. So that tells me that I need to wait where I am....but boy, do I feel out of my element!

So until I hear clearly from God, I will remain where I am and try to keep my head above the waterline!