Friday, September 28, 2007

What did we do before... photography? LOL

Of course I have photos from my family going back 60+ years. And, I have black and white photos taken with my first camera when I was about 8. And, I took many, many, MANY photos with my little 35mm camera during high school, college, and beyond.

But, now as a parent, can I *really* be all that shocked by MSNBC's claim earlier this month that kids now are the most documented generation EVER!? LOL

DaHubby and I often moan when one (or both) of the Vikings do something particularly cute that we don't have a digital video camera. If it was up to him and money wasn't an issue, we'd have a camera that did every but wash my dishes! LOL

So, we document e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g with our little digital camera...not wanting to miss a thing.

I had my little 35mm the weekend DaHubby and I met...and I "snuck" a pic of him to take home with me! LOL Then, more pics at our wedding, of course, a year later. We took a ton of pictures on our multi-hour drive to Ohio to pick up our brand new Corgi puppy from the breeder in 2001. Vacations. Holidays. And, the ever-present beautiful vistas which come with living in a town on the shores of Lake Michigan.

But, since the Vikings have's become an almost uncontrollable thing! LOL On our recent trip to northern Michigan, the digital camera record photo #9575! That's nearly TEN THOUSAND pics in the last 4 years! LOL

No wonder MSNBC claims parents are drowning in photos! *wink*

Thus, the rise in the market of scrapbooking and its accompanying supplies. Creative Memories. Close To My Heart. Businesses who business is helping us DO something with all those pics! I'm a minor victim or that as well. LOL Then, the creation of online scrapbooking - which I haven't tried just yet!

But, I did stumble onto a website via PayPerPost that might stir some creativity in those who DO online scrapbook. Ritz Camera is a name I recognize from around here - they have stores locally as well as where my family is in the Detroit area. What I didn't know is that they maintain a page full of scrapbook page ideas.

So, for those of you drowning in photos like I am, there's another resource to give us a reason to put off housework for a few more minutes! LOL Enjoy!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Better Late Than Never: Thursday Thanks Tank

As always, inspired by Peach and the ladies of Thankful Thursday:

It's been one of those days...been running since my feet hit the floor. Not frantically but commitments back to back from 8am 'til 4:30pm. I had time this morning to post but spent the time in the Word instead and then watched the NCIS season premier from Tuesday night. LOL

Anyway...major financial changes on the horizon here. So, as I look around at the things we have and the things we've been blessed with which may or may not remain in the coming months, I really am thankful.

I'm thankful for the roof over our head. While we are IN over our head unexpectedly with our mortgage, this house which needed MUCH work when we moved in has enough "sweat equity" in it now that we're fighting even harder to find a way to keep it. I now understand the difference between a house and a home.

Our transportation: one vehicle paid off and the other brand new. The payments have become a burden too but, while we decide what to do about that, I'm blessed with a vehicle that could travel safely and predictably to northern Michigan and back without worries.

Family: as much as it hurts our pride to admit our recent struggles, our families have been very understanding and sympathetic. They do what they can to help and we really, really, REALLY appreciate all they do for us.

Health: despite month-long snifflies for all of us and each of the Vikings' ear infections this month, we are blessed that those things are the only things we've had to deal with.

Church leadership/family: we're having some serious growth pains with the corresponding style, how-to, and why-are-we-doing-this debates. *sigh* Pastor started leadership meetings an hour before midweek service and, after only two, they are already making a difference by pulling us all together onto the same page so we're all behind Pastor's vision and we portray an united front to the rest of the congregation and visitors.

I'm also thankful that a church that was seeing about 30-35 people per service when we started attending in 2003 just recorded its' 121st member for approximately 150 "regulars" four years later!

I'm thankful and blessed by all the "by-products" of the fast that we're finishing this weekend. We are on the edge of breakthrough change here at home as well as at church. Let it all be His will and to His glory!

Psalms 100.4: Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, [And] into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, [and] bless His name.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Day Seventeen

Well, it's hard to believe this is nearly over already! Things have been in such a transformation stage that I don't know if I can sum it all up for everyone.

Greater peace. Better sleep. More patience. More "quiet brain" time. Conversations about growth, belief, faith, obedience with family and others. Blessed Scripture time. Dealing with stress better.

New motivation for our roles in church leadership. Reprioritizing. What will *really* make a difference in the Kingdom versus the "what needs to be done on my to-do list" rat race. Tackling our first class in a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course at a local church.

What I am or am not eating seems of little importance. The point was the obedience. And,
all this while it seems the world's roof is collapsing over our heads.

We will stand in Christ!

Wordless Wednesday: Worth the Mess? Definitely!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


There are a few blogs I follow that you don't want to read unless you have time to meditate, reflect, and simply gawk (LOL) at some of the profound, mind-moving things they come up with. Ones that should have a banner that reads "Danger: don't read this blog in a room full of squealing children while multi-tasking and checking your email!" Or maybe "don't read this blog without caffeine!" LOL

Everyday Mommy and In the Open Space are two of my faves in this category. Jules missed a calling as a professional apologist and Carmen cuts through the modern wordy entanglements and has an wonderfully soft heart for the true things that bring one closest to God.

Carmen posted recently a quote from the introduction of a soon-to-be-released book by Wolfgang Simson called The Starfish Manifesto.

"Most of us have been educated far beyond our obedience. What has been extremely important for many was simply a possession of the ultimate truth, or, a much more passive and religious attitude, to make sure that we are "in the right church." And I am the first one to admit my guilt in this regard. There was a time when I felt very strongly convinced about things, about concepts, about truth. Now as I am getting older, I am not so sure anymore. I have come to the realization that it is not we who possess truth, truth wants to own us. Truth is a person--Jesus himself. This makes us an appendix to him, not him an appendix of us. And in exactly this human weakness, I found profound liberation and freedom. As we give up trying to understand and figure it out, we learn something much more valuable: to trust and walk by faith, not by calculation. Rather than walking on the seemingly safe but extremely thin ice of frozen understanding (tradition), frozen faith (legalism) and frozen relationships (organizations), it again feels like walking on water, because Jesus is calling us out of our safe little boats."

And, all I can say!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Home again, home again, jiggity jig!

Well, Flicka and I got home safely from our 11 hour round trip whirlwind to northern Michigan. We were visiting my girlfriend of 30+ years and her two daughters, C and M. As usual, she was a wonderful hostess, her home comfortable, her meals fantastic, and her children polite. While I'm not ready to consider juggling working full time like her, she is my idol for mommyhood and teacher-hood! LOL

And, for the first time ever, I actually filled the memory card in our digital camera! LOL So here are a few...

M driving (at a very low gear) with Flicka and C along for the ride Friday night!

We went to the nearby city's park...right on Lake Huron!

My girlfriend's rule for her daughters: if you can catch a seagull, you can take it home! LOL Thus, the chasing ensued! Gulls 1, Girls 0 *wink*
Fearless Flicka climbing to the top of a retired lighthouse.

And, why they would have had stockades at a lighthouse....we're not sure.

Throwing rocks into Lake Huron.
Rocky beaches are a BIG difference to our Lake Michigan sand!

Flicka and Mom and the top of ANOTHER lighthouse a little farther down the coast!
She and I were the only ones brave crazy enough to climb all 100+ steps of winding staircase AND go out on the catwalk into the wind! LOL

And, of course, LOTS of bike riding!

We had a wonderful time! The drive was tough on both of us (my back and her patience) so we're taking a day off from everything including homeschooling. We've been playing most of the morning (Pojke really missed both of us A LOT! LOL) and we will be going to head to the park in a bit.

It's good to be home!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Who says homeschooling isn't fun? *snort*

Oh, yea, we're doin' the ABC's...

Why, yes, we're doing the numbers 1 through 20...

Actually, this week we're doing a mini-unit on the five senses...


Oh, today we did the sense of taste and touch...

Why, yes! That really is chocolate pudding being fingerpainted all over my shower walls!

Oh, man...I am having SUCH a blast! I hope she is too! *wink*

And, now some of the good news...Thursday Thanks Tank

The corporate fast I'm on along with my church family really has been about perspective and focus for me...something I definitely need with my struggles with ADD. With my mind's focus being on the fast, my perspective has sharpened on the things of God. Having a frequent reminder of what I'm attempting to honor has resulted in God, His word, His blessings, and His presence being around me moment to moment over the last week. For this I'm MOST thankful.

I'm also thankful this week that...

I seem to have more patience

I have been able to remember the "bigger picture" more often rather than getting caught up in the details.

I am being SO blessed by our churchwide schedule of scripture readings during the fast plus I'm keeping up (and actually ahead for once) on my personal scripture commitment to read a psalm a day 'til the end of the year.

I've been able to find a new chiropractor who I started seeing last week who has been able to immediately decrease my chronic back pain and has a plan to keep it that way with my help! Praise God!

I have a hubby that insisted I go out for a moms night out activity last Friday night! Who is also insisting that I go on my been-planned-forever "girls-only" road trip with Flicka this weekend regardless of all that is going on.

My mom and step-dad were able to come out for a visit last Saturday and love on the Vikings a bit.

I have a pastor who is an obedient man of God and who is an encourager when I came to him looking for his opinion on a new idea/ministry I'd like to try to set-up.

Despite my ever-lengthening to-do list, it all seems to be supernaturally getting done! LOL

An added benefit of the fast...I've lost 7 pounds! *wink* DEFINITELY NOT the point but a nice "perk". LOL I'm looking forward more to the knowledge, skill, wisdom, and understanding God gave to Daniel for being obedient! (Daniel 1.17 and 1.20) LOL

If you would like to see how God has blessed others this week and their lists of thankfulness, stop by Peach's today or Sting My Heart for Thankful Thursday.

Good grief! The "bad" news first...

And, it just keeps coming...LOL (I will not break my fast, I will not break my fast, I will not break my fast....but I'm *really* wanting a gallon of chocolate almond ice cream, several 2 liters of CAFFEINATED soda, and a big, fat, HAMBURGER! LOL A stress eater? Who me? *wink*)

OK, let's see...

Pojke is on day SEVEN of a "mystery virus" which includes not eating (well, eating less than 1/4 - 1/2 cup of food a day for the past six days) and "watery diapers" (to put it nicely). He's hydrated fine, no behavior changes, no fever, no sleep problems, nothing. He's lost 1-2 pounds but since he was so...ahem...sturdy to begin with (LOL), the pediatrician isn't too worried yet. The doc as well as his parents are stumped. Plus, the wonderful experience of collecting a stool sample from a toddler in diapers with di****ea is just one of those mommy rights of passage that I could have missed and been fine! LOL We're hoping the test results come in today.

Flicka started complaining about her ear yesterday...and we'll be heading to the ped this morning sometime. Even thought she had trouble getting to sleep (she finally went down around 11:30pm), at least she slept through the night.

Oh, did I mention Flicka and I are scheduled to leave for a 5-6 hours drive upstate to visit my best friend of 30+ years and her two girls tomorrow! *rolls eyes*

And, the church newsletter, which I design and edit, is due next week. And, nearly all the submissions came in yesterday - five days after deadline. *sigh*

DaHubby's got issues at work: work hours cut but out-of-pocket insurance costs going up $50/week.

Property taxes due this week...and we could only pay half.

I just want the devil to take notice...I AM NOT BREAKING THIS FAST! We had the choice of a 10 or 21 day fast. I was considering breaking it today (it's day 11) but I hadn't been able to determine if that's what God's will was.

But, after all this stress and after Pastor Don's AWESOME midweek message last night, my stubborn streak is coming out! LOL I'm going for the 21 days! The devil won't win and Pastor encouraged me and reminded me that great things are coming!

God will provide. He will bless those who obey. He will strengthen my faith. I will not worry...too much! *wink*

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Bouncin' Baby Vikings

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pass The Torch Tuesday

Pojke might be better. LOL He FINALLY ate some dinner last night so we're waiting to see how that "comes out." I REALLY need to be prepping the grocery list for today but wanted to share this one moment from the past week...

We finished story time at the library last week about the time DaHubby would be getting ready for his lunch break at work. I had sent him to work with extra money in his pocket and - knowing him like I do - figured he'd be going to McDonalds. The library is near his "work McDonalds" plus it has a large playscape outside. So, the Vikings and I decided to surprise him.

So, as we waited for Daddy, the Vikings climbed and played and chased birds looking for throwaway fries. This playscape was designed for kids a little bigger than Pojke and, while he has no problem at the inside playscape at our "home McDonalds", he was strugglin' to get through the first level of obstacles to follow Flicka.

And, after what seems like weeks and weeks and months and months of sibling squabbling lately, it blessed my momma-heart more than you know to hear the following as Flicka turned back to a increasingly frustrated Pojke:

"Come on, little man, you can do're almost there...come on...yea! You did it!"

She sounded just like me. *sniff, sniff*

Too bad Daddy went to the Burger King across the street - never knowing we were over there 'til he arrived back at work! LOL

Pop over to Kelly's blog today to check out other this week's PTT moments. And, as a side note, I'm incredibly flattered that Kelly picked an old PTT post of mine as one of her PTT highlights today! *blush* I should be thanking her for reminding me to focus more on the "legacy moments" than my to-do list. Now, I'm doubly blessed and tickled.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Checking In...

First of all, everything is fine. Just busy. It would seem the devil has decided to throw a bunch of little stumbling blocks in my way to increase my stress which would normally result in me breaking my fast. Rest assured - that rotten ol' devil hasn't won! LOL

It's been one thing after another from the first day of the fast. "Lost" things. "Missing" paperwork. Debit card not working with a long line behind me at the grocery store. Wasted time as it seemed every single thing that could go wrong DID. DaHubby needed emergency dental work....expensive. Then, found out today he has to go back. A procedure wasn't completed correctly.*sigh* Pojke hasn't eaten in four days and is producing "watery" diapers. He's hydrated. No fever. No change in behavior or sleep but still not eating. We have an appointment morning. One bright spot: my mom and step-dad came by for a visit last Saturday and spoiled the Vikings rotten for a few hours.

Trying to maintain a regular schedule...homeschool, play dates, daily chores, bills, groceries, etc. Blogging has got pushed down the list. I have a long list of blog-pending activities (book reviews, original stuff, thoughts and experiences with the fast, etc.) and I'll get to them as I can. I'd appreciate your prayers. I'll talk to ya' all soon! Promise!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Yikes! Today's Morning Schedule

Busy, busy, woke up with no internet connection initially. At least THAT'S working now! LOL

8:00am - Vikings' breakfast
8:30 - 9:30am Homeschooling
10am-11:30am my 1st visit to new chiropractor
12:30pm - 2pm Flicka's swim lesson + travel time

Not like I had anything else *I* wanted to get done today (LOL) 3 pending posts, 3 phone calls, about an hour of misc computer work, and another hour of housework. Oh, and I have some prep to do for dinner! *wink*

Just wanted to let those of you who have emailed and asked, the fast is going well. Already seeing results. Had an amazing church leadership meeting and service last night.

Thinking of you all...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

For more WW, go here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My Psalm Insight For Today

(With my additions from my Bible's notes...)

Psalm 24.3-6
Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place?

He who has clean hands (guiltless actions)
and a pure heart (right attitudes and motives),
Who has not lifted up his soul to (worshipped or trusted in ) an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully (including perjury - the willful giving of false testimony).

He shall receive blessing from the LORD, And righteousness from the God of his salvation. This [is] Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face.


How could ANY of us live up to these four simple requirements for an entire lifetime?

NO ONE - no, NOT ONE- deserve to go to heaven...but by the grace of the Lord!

"There but by the grace of God go I." - John Bradford

Try THAT on for size the next time you find yourself judging another person!


Love Your Life: Do Something For Others

I mentioned here about the article I found in an old copy of Family Circle magazine (FC) about loving your life right where you are at now. And, this is my second piece of rambling coming from that self-imposed writing prompt to take what FC offered and considering it from (hopefully) a more of a Christian worldview. LOL

FC's suggests to "remember every day what matters most to you." And, one way to do that is to do something for someone else. They suggest "giving of yourself is key to a sense of well-being."

I would argue that well-being comes not simply giving of yourself but giving yourself to God and gaining a servant's heart. Nowhere in Scripture are we to do unto others so we receive something in return. We should not seek our well-being in deeds but in Christ. And, whether the receiver acknowledges it or not, whether they appreciate it or not, or whether they know it's you or not, the true point is the service and the serving!

Romans 12.10-11: "[Be] kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord..."

Next, they suggest "Spirituality comes down to one simple word, and that is kindness."

That's funny - I thought it was all about the LOVE! LOL

Matthew 22.37-40 " Jesus said to him, " 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is [the] first and great commandment. And [the] second [is] like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

Again, Family Circle: "Feeling useful to those in need gives us a deep feeling of connection to humanity and a powerful sense of purpose."

My first thought: aren't we ALL in need? LOL But, seriously, serving (again) is not about what we gain but about how we act as the Lord's hands and feet here in this world. We serve because we are compelled to in thankfulness and in love ideally with no regard for what we'll receive in the future but what we have already received through Christ. It's not about our gain - it is about His glory.

Psalms 100:4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, [And] into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, [and] bless His name.

1 Chronicles 16.28.29 Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples, Give to the LORD glory and strength. Give to the LORD the glory [due] His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness!

Family Circle: “If your schedule is too crowded to serve meals at a shelter or soup kitchen on a weekly basis, devote one day to rounding up coats and blankets to give the homeless, or shovel snow for an elderly neighbor.”

While I agree with the idea of act where you are with what you have, Christians need to make the time to serve! It should be an outpouring of our spirits and as natural as breathing. Using one’s discernment and through prayer, we should be able to find people all around us in need of service on a daily basis.

Matthew 6.21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

So, where is your treasure? And, is service one of your jewels? *wink*

Monday, September 10, 2007

Another day of homeschoolin'...

Well, today was Flicka's "day two"of homeschool. We're doing about an hour each Monday and Thursday mostly during Pojke's afternoon nap.

I gave Flicka the choice of getting up early or doing school in the afternoon today - and she chose later. I had some concerns doing it in the afternoon following a busy morning filled with a MOMS Club meeting, an hour worth of errands, and lunch. And, to make matters more complicated, Pojke broke our routine by falling asleep in the van during those errands about 11:30 before he'd had his lunch. *sigh* So, by the time Flicka and I ate lunch, got into our classroom, and did our lesson for the day, it was 1:30pm. Just in time for Pojke to wake up...*really* hungry.

Now, that may not seem like a problem on the surface but in a household where Momma relies on at least an hour of uninterrupted "down time" while Vikings rest or sleep - this was NOT what I wanted. But, we slugged through the rest of the afternoon without TOO many problems.

So, we did our memory verse. I'm learning (again and again and again *wink*) that repetition here for a pre-reader is key! LOL

Then, I read a story about manners by D.W of "Authur"/PBS fame while Flicka practiced her A's (for Aurthur) and 1's with her new "big girl school pencils."

We next introduced the idea of the five senses by listening to 5-6 different CD's, smelling 5-6 things Momma pulled out of the cooking cabinet, touching different textures in the basement via crayon rubbings, and then...Flicka's favorite...we read "Little Blue Little Yellow" and played with the watercolors making a huge (but fun) painting mess.

After cleaning up, we read "Ask Mr. Bear" about Danny's search for a perfect birthday gift for his mom and then filled out a birthday cake with five candles printable . Above each candle, I wrote on of the senses and Flicka had to tell me something she would see, hear, taste, touch, and smell at a birthday party. I wrote those down vertically on the candles and then she colored the cake with her brand new school-only markers! *big smile*

It was a good day! I hope she is enjoying this as much as I am! LOL

Daniel Fast begins

The wandering of my mind this afternoon...

Well, this is it. My church is starting today. I'm almost afraid to admit it out loud for fear of failure. Y'know how it goes...maybe if I don't TELL anyone I'm giving something up, then if I DO slip up, no one is the wiser, thinks less of me, could care less. *sigh*

Just being transparent here, people.

I'm thinking the dessert-fast is insufficient. I had relatively little issue with giving up chocolate, caffeine and the like while nursing the Vikings. So how much "sacrifice" is that really? And, I'm feeling pulled to do m-o-r-e. Have no idea how I'll do it...which is a little freaky for a big-time organizer/planner/list maker as myself.

While I initially figured giving up sweets would be sufficient (and isn't that an issue all unto itself - that I'm looking for "sufficient" instead of OBEYING *sigh*), once I googled up information of what a serious
Daniel fast menu entails- I'm feeling hugely convicted that I was already thinking of ways to "get around" the fast "rules."

I'm clueless to how to integrate this into a home situation where I prep and cook for everyone else and have all the food I will not be allowed to eat around constantly. Trying to discipline the Vikings to eat what I prepare and to realize that Momma won't be making them special and/or separate meals may provoke behavior problems when Momma "gets" to eat other things than what DaHubby and them are eating.

So, I guess that I'm doing a "Vikings-modified" Daniel fast. I will abstain and modify as much as one can. Not that convenience is the deciding factor, but as a repeatedly, mostly-unsuccessful dieter, I don't want to set myself up for failure and/or additional problems.

So, it will not only be desserts but also meat and "rich"/processed foods as well.

Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pray, pray, pray.

Seek, seek, seek.

Discipline, discipline, discipline.

Part of this fasting season includes a schedule of Scriptures chosen by our pastors that we will all be reading at the same time. If you are interested, I'll share those as well.

I'm excited, freaked, frightened, thrilled, anticipating great things, scared that God may actually "show up" goes on and on.

Your prayers would be coveted.

My Planet Has Swiftly Tilted...

My elementary-level, beginner-reader's heart of distant memory is broken:

Madeleine L'Engle
Nov 29, 1918 - Sept 6, 2007

May she rest in the Father's care.

Carmen has a sweet memory/tribute to her here.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Psalm 19 points

"The law of the LORD [is] perfect...
The testimony of the LORD [is] sure...
The statutes of the LORD [are] right...
The commandment of the LORD [is] pure...
The fear of the LORD [is] clean...
The judgments of the LORD [are] true [and] righteous altogether...

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer."

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Kelly at Pass the Torch has been asking moms to consider what their school year resolutions are for the 07-08 calendar. As a rookie, first-time homeschooler, the list of things to keep track of and/or accomplish between now and next summer seems exhausting. But, I'm submitting the following seven for Kelly's carnival.

1. To remember that this is a win-win situation! At this level, it is inexpensive; and how bad can I screw it up since she'll still learn her letters, colors, and numbers whether we do this or not (LOL); and we get to try this out to see if it'll work for us in the long term before any state requirements, scope and sequence, curriculum, lesson plans, etc become "required".

2. That I want her to LIKE school (or better yet to like learning) whether under my direction or someone else's.

3. To remember that I am blessed that God led me (and I eventually, finally followed) to become a certified teacher which gives me more confidence (and more reasons) to stand up for our decision to homeschool.

4. That we'll increase "school time" from 1-2 hrs/week to 4-6 hrs/week by spring.

5. That she'll engrave God's word on her heart through our memorization.

6. That our "girls only" school time will build a stronger bond between us

7. To remember that the journey is the point and not how much of the lesson plan gets done or not.

Stop by Kelly's carnival and see what other things various moms will be accomplishing this year!

Psalm 18: edited for emphasis *wink*

I love you, Oh Lord, my strength...
my rock, my fortress...
my deliverer...
my rock...
my shield...
the horn of my salvation, my stronghold...
He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me...
the word of the Lord in flawless!

If it is flawless, then everything above is TRUE! *wink*

He is the EVERYTHING that protects us...

Where did He bring YOU out of or away from recently?

And, He delights in me...and in YOU!


*big smile*

Thursday Thanks Tank

A little different twist...again.

Well, I'm thinking that the Daniel fast and church-wide Scripture reading program that my church is beginning next Monday until September 30th will include me giving up sweets.

And, since the thought of giving up the following makes me break out in a small sweat and in serious need of anti-anxiety meds, and since I'm a confirmed emotional eater - just ask the 40 remaining pounds that I gained since getting married and havin' the Vikings - I'm listing the sweets I'm most thankful for but will not be eating those three weeks.

1. DaHubby's Little Debbie's Swiss rolls. Often his work lunch is bereft of a dessert because my emotional panic/stress on the occasional mid-afternoon "brain lock" is somehow miraculously improved by one of these.

2. The Vikings' candy from DaGrandparents. *sigh* I admit it...but I only eat it for their benefit, right?*wink*

3. Ice cream! *sigh* From the grocery store. From Walgreen's. From Dairy Queen. From Kilwin's. Doesn't matter I'm not picky. But, did you try DQ's Kit-Kat Blizzard last month?

4. Candy. My most popular, immediate craving is generally for chocolate. Anything that available. Enough said.

5. Cookies. DaGrandparents are my enablers here too! LOL They either bring them over when we have them here for dinner or they have a L-A-R-G-E stash at their house from visitors!

The fact I'm able to wax so philosophically about sugary goodnesses is probably the Lord's "nudge" that I'm using too many of these things to "medicate" my stress instead of turning to Him.

So, this is my first Daniel Fast. I'm hoping to "do it right" and follow the Lord's lead. I want to be obedient. While DaGrandpa argues otherwise, my "church grandma" and godly woman mentor assures me that while obedience is always better than sacrifice, any sacrifice is what the Lord is looking for.

I am not trying to turn the Lord's eyes or ears in my direction by my lofty sacrifice. It's not meant to be a "works" thing or an if -->then thing (IF I fast, THEN the Lord will do X). And, my mentor says I may find by day two or three that the Lord leads me in another direction but this will be where I start.

Since this is a little out of the format of Thankful Thursday and Thursday Thanks Tank, I won't be listing my post with them but definitely stop by and see what others are thankful for this week.

And, the "After" (actually during) shots!

Well, our first "day" took about 50 minutes. A little longer than I planned but Flicka made it through well. But, we prayed, read two books, introduced our theme/memorization verse for this month, practiced small motor skills (using scissors), took a nature hike aka "used our eyes", selected three of the best goodies we collected, introduced visually ID-ing numbers one, two, and three, did some printables to reinforce it, and reviewed our theme verse. And, she seemed to love her apron! LOL

We read "Flower Garden" by Eve Bunting, part of a KidSparkz resource, which tied together the "using our eyes", the nature walk, and the scissors-using. "Prayer For A Child" by Rachel Field is part of the Before Five In A Row curriculum that we using loosely for various subjects during September including our memory verse: Numbers 6.24 - The Lord bless you and keep you...

We're planning on doing Mondays and Thursdays for now about 45 minutes each day and increase our time up to 2 hours 3 days a week by spring.

Wow! *wiping forehead* First day down...several more to go! LOL

The "Before" Shots! LOL

We're just about to head downstairs to our "new" "school room". At only two weeks post-flooding - it isn't quite what I wanted but will do in a pinch! LOL It's only half the room I wanted since I could only get a few carpet pieces to cover up the sticky post-carpet-pull-up concrete. My old dresser and some file cabinets break the room in two.
Our "work aprons" on the doorknob. We'll only wear them in school for our "uniform" for now. That's a piece of $10 bathroom wall board on the left that we're using for a whiteboard.

My childhood bookcase...*sniff, sniff* never thought I'd be using it for THIS! LOL

Don't ya LOVE the look of all new school supplies?

Pray...LOTS (LOL)...and we'll ck in later with a report!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

WFMW: Brand Loyal Edition

Well, uh...we don't really "do" brand names much. LOL I'm big into Aldis, off brands, and generics as well as making things on my own like baby wipes!

However, DaHubby does request certain things in their brand name form: Breyers ice cream, Kraft cheese slices, and Dannon yogurts are his favorites. In addition, his "brand delicate sensitivities" has created a certain Kraft habit in the Vikings.

Apparently, (to my mother's homemade-isn't-that-hard-and-you-let-them-EAT-that-stuff? chagrin) no one in this home can eat ANY other boxed mac and cheese but Kraft Macaroni and Cheese...and not JUST the original but the "premium thick and creamy"! *wink*

So, I guess that's about as brand loyal as I get! LOL For more brand loyal recommendations, go to Shannon's site.

Wordless Wednesday

For more WW, go here.

Love Your LIfe: Rituals

I was browsing through old articles I'd ripped out of Family Circle magazine. As I purged the ones that I no longer wanted and/or needed, I nearly threw one out entitled "Love Your Life: Ten Ways To Feel Better About Everything Right Now." While it boasted ideas that were "spiritual", they weren't particularly Christian. And, I thought about it again. The ideas were solid but just needed some "tweaking" to be helpful to a believer.

So I selfishly thought that writing about them would ingrain them deeper for me but that sharing them as well here might also bless someone else!

I sat down Sunday morning in the church nursery. We head to church an hour before services begin so DaHubby, the singers, and the musicians can warm up for praise and worship. I often sit with the kids alone in an otherwise empty building for at least 30-40 minutes. I drafted up a post about keeping balanced by maintaining rituals using Family Circle's explanation that "a routine is merely something you do; a ritual had emotional significance."

I created an outline, had Bible verses, etc. I was all set to "wow" y'all with my insight. Then, service began...LOL

Our pastors are a married couple. Our denomination certifies women as pastors. Pastor Don does the majority of the traditional "pastor stuff" but Pastor Deb oversees several ministries as well all while working full time doing accounts payable for a local nursing home. Traditionally, Pastor Don does the preachin'. LOL But, as I slid in the back doors of the sanctuary after confirming that the Vikings were in their respective classrooms, I saw Pastor Deb up on the platform. While hardly shocking, it was still unusual.

She proceeded to spend the next 45+ minutes relating what has been going on between her and God lately. Struggles, discouragements. and LOTS of prayer led her to a morning about a month ago when she felt specifically directed by God to the Book of Daniel. More specifically - to the verses about Daniel's 21 day fast.

Now THERE is a ritual with emotional significance.

Our church has been having a lot of growing pains lately. The summer season hasn't helped much while good weather, traveling, and family functions beckon. Attendance has been down. Those that ARE there struggling with a critical spirit. It's been older folks vs. younger folks. New converts vs. lifelong members. Hymns vs. contemporary music. "I'm not listening to a woman preacher." "I don't like that kind of music so I'm coming in late after praise and worship is over." People coming in late. People coming in "inappropriately" dressed. People who "can't control their kids." Kids belong in regular service. Kids belong in children's church. It's been a rough couple of months.

But, DaHubby and I have always looked at being at a church like a marriage. Church jumpers looking for what feels good we are not. LOL This is where God put us. And, despite what's going on right now, we're gonna stick this out and make it work! We believe in our pastors' ministry and their call. And, while we might not understand or even like all their decisions, we're submitted to their wisdom, direction, and vision.

My humble opinion - Pastor Deb's teaching was just what we all needed to hear. A Daniel fast is something that would bring us all together for God's glory, help us regain our focus, stretch us into some much needed growth and break us out of this critical rut we've been in.

Problem is...I don't know the first thing about a Daniel fast. LOL

So, I've been reading...and reading...and praying...and thinking. Pastor Deb called the whole church to participate with either a 10-day or 21-day fast. The thing fasted was of our choice but was to be symbolic of something that was "defiling" our bodies (as was Daniel's example in Daniel 1.8). And, I'm having difficulty identifying that thing for me.

Ritual. Emotional Significance. Something that "keeps" me from God or is symbolically "defiling". I want a powerful, meaningful experience with this. A obedient answer to God's call. But, I feel like the Pentecostal rookie! *wink*

So, that's where I am now. I went from "Love Your Life" to identifying a fast. Routine vs. ritual. Hmmm...I'll keep y'a ll in the loop of how this transpires.

Looking for beads or glasswork?

Have you been looking for beads for a crafty endeavor? Do you like decorative glass? Stained glass? Would you like to support a SAHM who started a business so she could stay home full time with her kids? Have I got a site for you!

I've been wanting to make two necklaces for the Vikings for when we would go to a large public place so they would have our contact info. It was an idea I got from FamilyFun magazine. I wanted to spell out in small beads (unreadable to a stranger from a distance but readable to a Good Samaritan) the following: "If found, please contact my parents at XXX-XXXX or XXX-XXXX"

So, after checking all around here at local craft stores, I've been scouring the internet the last few weeks trying to find beads with numbers on them. Letters are easy to come by but the numbers were proving more difficult.

Then, I found Johnna's Decorative Glass. While my beads were pretty simple, the other items at her sight are just gorgeous. She's incredibly customer-service oriented, her bead prices are reasonable, and I received my items TWO days later.

I immediately offered to give her a plug here to see if I could drum up some more business for her. So, if you are in the market for something like this, please consider visiting Johnna!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Are We Unstoppable Worshippers?

"The year is 1744. Hymn writer Charles Wesley is in Leeds, England, holding a prayer meeting in an upstairs room.

"Suddenly there is a creak in the floorboards, followed by a massive crack, and the whole floor collapses. All 100 people crash right through the ceiling into the room below.

"The place is in chaos - some are screaming, some are crying, some just sit in shock. But as the dust settles, Wesley, wounded and lying in a heap, cries out, 'Fear not! The Lord is with us; our lives are all safe.' and then he breaks out into the doxology: 'Praise God, from whom all blessings flow...' - perhaps a bizarre choice of song, considering what had just happened!

"But here's the point: while everyone else was still licking their wounds, the heart of this unstoppable worshipper was responding with unshakable praise"

Taken from The Unquenchable Worshipper by Matt Redman who subsequently cited W.J. Limmer Sheppard's Great Hymns and Their Stories of the Religious Tract Society.