Thursday, December 13, 2007

Finally Here Again!

We have had such a wonderful first semester to our school year. Our new co-op has made this the best year yet. Doodle has been writing wonderful poems, stories and reports in her writing class. I was amazed to see just what the teacher was able to pull from her. It is such a blessing to see this talent soar. She is also really enjoying her science class as well. I think Spanish is fun for her but it truly difficult. They are using a high school book. She is in 4th grade. So naturally it will be tough.

Bean is reading! She is really sounding out everything she sees. She is able to read the Dr. Seuss books and is so proud of herself. So now we are working on getting her confidence built in reading so she can soar.She wants to read chapter books so badly. So I know she will keep working until that goal is reached. She did start piano lessons in September. I had told her once she could read Green Eggs and Ham, she could take lessons. So that was a big moment. She loves Spanish at our co-op. That is her favorite class. I think co-op has helped her most in coming out of her shell. She is really starting to stretch her wings. It is great to be able to watch her make friends and not need Mommy there to tell her what to say.

We have really enjoyed our new curriculum from MFW. It has been great to study the different countries we have learned about so far. We have visited three continents since August and will finish up the other four next semester. The girls love the passport and learning about the different cultures. I love seeing them excited about learning. We have done several projects while studying the countries. Some are lapbooks others are more crafty. The girls just love to bring learning to life that way.

I am really working on preparing the house for Matt's surgery next week. He is having surgery on his knee. We pray he will be back to normal and able to run by spring but only time will tell. Meanwhile, I am trying to get the house ready for crutches to be used without falling! So I better get back to work. Can't wait until Christmas. Shopping is all done. Cards are sent. Now we can focus on celebrating Jesus' birth. What a joy!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Summer Recap

I'm baaaaack!!! Since the last time I wrote, we have been able to do so many neat things as well as to go to so many cool places! We had the chance to go to Orlando, Florida in June. Matt had a meeting so I tagged along. It was just what I needed. A much needed paradise and reprieve. Only God can meet those needs that you have not spoken to anyone. He knew what I needed and provided that in abundance! Matt and I enjoyed a great weekend while our girls were able to spend precious time with Nana and Poppy. Such great memories for all of us.

The girls were both involved in swim club again this year. My sister is their coach. She does such a great job with them. They were swimming everyday. It really was amazing to see the progress in both of their strokes by the end of summer. I must be honest, I will not miss the swim meets nor the humid swimming pool sitting area!

Both girls were able to go to VBS with the Olin boys, dear friends of ours. They had a blast! Our church does not have VBS anymore and it is such a sad thing for me. So I just love that they are still able to have fun with their friends while learning about Jesus and God's Word. Thanks, Miss Lori!!! It was so much fun to see Bean come out her shell and venture out to new things with VBS and all the other fun things she did this summer.

We also spent time with friends hanging out. We enjoyed Stumpf Day and were so happy to be able to have Em and Meg stay for the day. We painted, rode bikes, beaded, danced in dress name it, we did it! We also visited the wonderful Stumpf-a-doodle-do bed and breakfast! Lovely place! We were able to see Laura and Ben again. Very nice to spend that time with them both. It had been too long! Most of all we played with our cousins as usual. We love the time we get to share our lives with them. We played with frogs, turtles, hermit crabs, you name it...we had it!

We did get to go to Holiday World as well. That was a fun day spent with family. Nana, Poppy, Ennie, Uncle Mark, Aunt ConCon, Drew, Krista, Carley, Sammy, Doodle, Bean and Matt got to go. They loved it so much! Just a few weeks later, the girls went up to Aunt Tammy and Uncle Rex's house for the week to go to their Summer Sonshine Camp. It was so much fun for them! They loved the time they spent together with Randy, Maren and the new friends they met.

The girls were only home for a day before we were invited to join my sister, her kids, a friend of my sister's and her kids on a trip to Panama City Beach, Florida. They had a 15 passenger van ready to leave and decided to include us. That was so gracious. While I struggled on whether to go or not, Matt told me to go and enjoy. So I did. The girls and I had a great week together. It was eye opening to them to watch Mommy boogie board or snorkel...things Daddy usually does with them. I think Mama gained some respect that week. We all laughed a lot and loved the location. Thanks so much Hines Family!

Of course, in the middle of all of that we celebrated both girls' birthdays. Doodle is 10 and Bean is 7. Mommy also had a birthday, but truly I feel perfectly fine with letting my girls have this moment! :) Finally, school started August 10! We have had a blast getting back to work. I will write more of what we are studying soon. I think the recap of our summer has made me sleepy again!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Summer Begins!

Aaahhhh...the wonderful breath of fresh air has hit my home....summer has arrived. (well, as far as school is concerned.) We finished school on May 18th. We were able to meet the goals set for us this year and I think this has been the best year yet. I look forward to an even more exciting year next year. It is great to finally know what we are doing and be confident that it is what works for our family.

I have been getting back into the swing of things recently. I think I have posted about my need to get plugged back into the world since my Gram's passing. I feel we are doing that so gracefully. God is just bringing things to my door! It is such a blessing. I keep praying that soon that will be an issue of the past. I know we will miss her presence but we really needed to get back to God's work.

The girls have started swim club again. That is always a wonderful time for them to connect with my sister each summer. She is the coach and drives them to and from practice. Special memories.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Sad Hearts!

Wow! What a night we had last night! This past month has been very emotional for me and I did not realize just how much that pours over to my kids. I keep thinking that I am hiding it well but then you find out you have not. So needless to say, it was brought to my attention that the girls were afraid to tell me how much they missed my Gram because they didn't want to make me sad. They have been struggling with their own sadness and didn't know how to work it out. That broke my heart! Naturally when we stuff our emotions down we end up lashing out at the ones we love most. Sadly that is what has been happening in our home.
Once I was able to get out of them what was going on it amazed me to see their little hearts. I knew that I was having a tough time recently with transitioning back into the land of the living since my gram's passing but I did not realize how deeply they adored this woman. I should not have been shocked. We all went to visit her 2-3 times a week, took her to doctor's appointments , took her to Bible Study Fellowship with us, did her laundry every other week or so, took her to Wal-Mart and occasionally to the library when she first came here. She joined us for every birthday party, holiday or family get together as well as dance recitals and church activities when she could. This precious woman was a part of their daily lives in a way most children don't get to experience from grandparents let alone a great-grandma. So, as we sat there sharing memories and heart felt sadness over her not being here but joy in where she is now, I couldn't help but think how blessed Gram must be right now. If she could see what an impact she has made on these two precious hearts should bless her tremendously. I still miss her terribly. I just feel sad a lot. I didn't realize just how much I went to her with what was happening in my life and how much talking things out with her helped me be able to function with peace throughout my week. I miss that time with her and the wisdom she would depart when asked. Today I am so happy to be sitting her typing this while wearing her ring that my mom gave me yesterday. It's silly really. What does wearing that ring do for me ? Nothing! It just sits there but it is a reminder of her words, support and unending love for me. That reminds me of God's love for me. When I am in nature I have the same feeling I do as I glance at this ring..peaceful. It just helps jog my memory that God loves me. I think it will take some more time to heal the sad hearts but I know we will all shine for Jesus as we work through this loss. We are finding ways to get plugged back in to service at church as well as with a co-op. I feel that will help ease the pain of her loss....getting back into serving someone else and less time to think!! I am blessed to have two precious girls who love me enough to try to protect my feelings but truly I pray they know that is not what I ever want. I appreciate even more the fact that they shared their hearts with me and we had such a precious time of joy and tears last night. Thanks Gram, for loving me well and even more for sharing that with my kids! I pray that I will do the same.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

What a Man!

As we are getting ready to celebrate our 16 years of marriage, I can't help but think about the man I am blessed to be married to as well as what a wonderful life and love we share. I am so grateful for God's gift of my honey. God knew what I would need to continue to mold me into the woman He created me to become and then He sent me Matt. Matt and I are a lot alike in many ways which makes life pretty easy most days. The areas we are least alike are the areas we needed to build the other up and encourage growth. That is so evident to me as I look at the man I see before me 16 years after our wedding. He is not the same man he was then in some areas but in many he remains the same young man I met on a blind date. The thing that grabbed my heart back then is still here....his gentleness with me and his great sense of humor. He makes me laugh more than anyone I know. Even when I am upset he can say something or give me one of his silly looks and I end up laughing like crazy. That is so nice to have around especially when things get tough. Life has so many ups and downs that being able to laugh our way through the stuff thrown our way truly has been such a blessing. Matt has grown to become the head of this family and the spiritual leader over time. I had to lay both of these titles down as I grew in my walk with the Lord and realized I had taken them on. Once I laid them down and let go, amazingly God raised Matt up to take that job. I have been amazed by watching him grow into the leader he is today. I know he will continue to grow and I can't wait to see what a change there will be in the next 16 years. His passion for his family is still the same. It has only been expanded to include his precious girls. I love watching this man with his daughters. Nothing softens my heart more. I could go on and on and on about my honey, but that could get a bit long. So with that, just saying that I am a blessed woman who appreiciates each day I get to spend with this precious man God sent to me. I love you sweetie! Here's to many more years to come!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A Loving Father

So often I find myself sitting in amazement of my Heavenly Father's tender care of me. I am going through some tough family situations with my parents and siblings right now and there are times it just gets weary. I dread the drama. I don't want to add to it and yet somehow I get wrapped up in the middle before I know it. Then I fall on my knees seeking God's guidance only to be filled with His gift of undying love for me. I am reminded of what He sacrificed and why and that humbles me to no end. Who am I to get so worked up over what others are doing "to" me when I have wronged God in so many worse ways and He always greets me with open arms and encouragement. Why do I think that I need to be different than He? Am I so much better that I deserve to be treated better than I treat God or is it time this poor woman realizes that I need to treat my loving, heavenly Father with the love, respect and honor He more than deserves? Certainly I am not better than God ....I am no were near Him. He is perfect, Holy and worthy of such honor. I am a sinner, saved by grace given to me by God through the death of His son on a cross. I think that it is time I sit up, take note of who I put as the top priority in my life and adjust the list as needed. For right now, it is obvious that God is not the emotions and family are. I will sit and read my loving Father's love letter to me as I let the words soak into my heart and make the changes I so desperately need to make. I am grateful that God loves me in spite of my ugliness and hurtful thoughts. I am so blessed to have a loving Father who knows my heart desires and looks to bring those to fruitition as I learn to place all of my life in His precious hands. He knows better than I ever could imagine what can happen when I let go and let Him lead me.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Heart Open to God's Leading

I am just so excited about how God works out every little detail in my life. I have really struggling with some "pre-teen" issues with our oldest daughter. For the past few weeks she has been working through this with us. We have been seeking scriptures on anger, what happens to those who don't deal with their anger, what caution is there to those who are associated with angry people, how should we treat each other...etc. This usually helps her so much and just usually stops the issues at hand. However, this time we started noticing something new....the dreaded "snake-eye". She had started glaring at me in disgust when I was speaking to her about this issue. This seems to be accepted as normal pre-teen girl behavior but I was not comfortable at leaving there. I felt that was setting her up for failure in obeying God's Word to honor her mother and father and truly to just love one another. Trust me...there was no love in that look!

So after discussing it with my husband and praying about it for many days I asked a dear friend for her advice/opinion as she has a daughter a bit older and I knew her heart is the same for how we desire our daughters to be raised. After talking with her, I was reassured in how I had handled the situation and how I would even more so attack the heart issue behind the look . With that said, during that conversation, my daugther was having an issue with her sister, yet again. My husband stepped in to monitor and guide her through her anger. She responded well to him and seemed to shake it off rather quickly. Later, when her sister was occupied, she asked if she could speak to her daddy and me for a minute. I was seriously waiting for something scary to be asked...we worry so much over nothing! Anyway, she sat down in front of us in our living room and proceeded to say words every parent prays to hear and I will never forget.

She said, "Mommy and Daddy, I need to apologize to you for being disrespectful the past few weeks. I didn't like the consequences you decided on for my acting out in anger to my sister and I thought that if I stayed mad at you I would feel better. But today when I let Daddy give me a big hug and I gave him a hug back instead of the "jelly fish" hug...I felt better. I didn't know that I needed a hug to help me get the mad out. I am going to do better at not staying mad at you to try to get back at you for the consequences I deserve. I am sorry that I was rude and I won't do that anymore. I want to honor God. Please forgive me. "

Needless to say, we had a wonderful moment that only a parent and child can have in a time like that. Hugs and words of encouragement followed her apology and she just sparkled for Jesus at that time. Here I have been so full of concern for the past few weeks over her heart issues and all along I needed to stay the course and trust that my God is big enough to work it out in His perfect timing. What perfect timing He has!!! I felt so touched by her heartfelt apology and knew that she meant what she was saying as the tears fell with her words. Those of you who don' t know her might think it is a scam but for those of us who have been blessed to know this child we know this is our girl. Thank you God, for the glimpse into her heart today and for the reassurance in parenting. I think most people think it is easier to just let them go with their attitude and it will "work" itself out. I can tell you from experience, or so I have been told, that attitudes left on their own do not "work themselves out". They get worse!! I am just so humbled by her actions and her awareness of her need to go back and make it right with those she had been giving the ol' snake eye! We have talked for years about the need to confess your sins when they are brought to your attention, then go back and make it right with those you have hurt intentionally or unintentionally, then move forward and don't repeat that same sin. I thank God that message is getting through to her at such a young age and that she will be blessed by that for years to come. I know I am blessed by it now. I am a humbled mommy this morning as I prepare for a wonderful day with my two precious girls. Thank you God for more things than my mind can say at this hour!

A New Outlook

Okay, this is so weird! I had to get up early this morning because we are getting a new roof today. Did I mention...we are getting a new roof today!!! Woohoo! Anyway, the guys were suppose to be here at 7. So I got up at 5 with Matt. He goes to Bible Study Fellowship early on Saturday mornings so this week I joined him. After he left, I got a shower, got dressed and proceeded to clean my bathroom.Then I went out to the kitchen. I made muffins, cleaned the kitchen and do a quick sweep through the living room. This all before 8!! For those who are morning people, you are thinking...So what? But for those who know I am sooooo not a morning person you realize God has blessed me this morning. What a joy it has been to have this time alone working and praying as I go. Why can't I do this more often? I am actually happy to see my little girls' faces appear around the corner instead of the feeling of oh no!! not yet! I usually have. It shows me that I can do this if I choose to and that is just another blog for another day!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

God's Gifts: Big and Small

As some of you know, our house has been in need of a new roof for some time. This is the original roof and let's just say that if we do not replace it this year the neighbors will be taking a vote to vote us off the island! Anyway, we also are in need of a back patio door. So we have been doing some shopping and talking with contractors recently. Just so happens that our next door neighbor has a brother that is a contractor. He came by last night and gave us an estimate of what he will do the job for the roof. God is so good! When he gave the first paper it was most definately too high but it was still cheaper than others. So then he showed us the second paper. This precious man is doing the job for only $165 over the amount the insurance company is paying! Which is just unbelievable. All he asked is that Matt would repay him with some free dental work!!! Something he is more than willing to do. I find it so interesting to see how God works things out. Now we need to see if he can get us the frame for our patio door so we can hang the doors we were given by some wonderful friends of ours. When they moved the contractors put in the wrong doors. So when they took them out, they gave us the doors. We have had trouble finding someone who could purchase the frame and hardware for us. However, we are still praying that God will make that happen so we can use these beautiful doors and let them be a constant reminder of God's provision both big and small!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bikes, Kites and Giggles

What beautiful weather we had this past weekend! The girls played outside the entire time. I love listening to them play together while I go about my work. They had out the kites desperately trying to get them to fly and finally had some success on Saturday morning. They just squealed with delight. I sat outside and read a book while they rode their bikes on Friday. I realized at that time that both girls were looking like they were riding Shriner's mini-bikes! They had grown so much that they needed new bikes. Well, we needed to get Doodle a new bike so Bean could have her sister's old one. So Saturday we all ventured off ot a bike shop and found a bike for Doodle fairly quickly. I was so happy that we found a reasonably priced bike at this shop ( not an easy task) and that it is her last bike we will need to purchase unless something happens to this one or she just is ready to move on to a different style. She is in an adult bike now. Then we went to get a new basket, bell and streamers for Bean. She and I cleaned up Doodle's old bike added all the pretty new stuff and she could not have been happier. She loved that she was "big enough" to ride her sister's old bike. To her it was better than a new one. I think that is so cool. God has blessed us in many ways and I am most thankful that we have a child who is more excited to ride her sisters old bike made new for her than she is to have a new bike. She will get that next new bike but until she does she could not be more happy. Sunday they girls rode their bikes like crazy. This is Bean's first year to be out on the street. She was so proud riding that new to her bike out on the street. She did a great job of watching for cars and her sister did a tremendous job of letting her know when to turn or stop. They worked together very nicely. Later that night we went out with Grandma and Grandpa for dinner and the girls relayed their bike adventures on to their grandparents. As we returned home the girls were in the back of the SUV and were just making each other giggle so hard that it was contagious. Before long, the entire vehicle was laughing uncontrollably. This is why I stay home with my girls and homeschool them...well one reason anyway. I am able to enjoy all that a day will bring whether that be drying tears, dealing with character issues, or in days like these, getting to enjoy the adventures of my girls with their bikes, kites and listening to the precious sound of their giggles.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


I have struggled the past few days in how to put into words my reaction to watching what has happened at Virginia Tech. Heartsick seems to be the best way to discribe where I am right now. It saddens me so much to think of what those children and teachers were put through while sitting in a classroom waiting to know if this madman was going to unleash his wrath on them. What must have been going through their minds at that moment! It is sad to me as well, that the young man who did this compares himself to that of my Jesus!

Jesus never hurt anyone. He never lashed out at innocent children and he certainly was never so selfish that he would have taken this step in his life to ease the pain of his torment. Jesus willingly layed himself out to be beaten, mocked and crucified so that we would no longer have to walk a life seperate from his Father. He showed the way to be humble and submit to God even to death. While that is certainly not a picture of what we saw in Virginia Tech, it is interesting to me that this young man sees them as the same. What happened to this young man to make him so bitter and full of hate? What would it take to cause his judgement to be so clouded that he thought this was the only way out and that he was doing it for other people? What must his parents be going through each morning they awaken and find the nightmare they were having is continuing? No different from the other parents who have lost their precious children except for the fact that their child caused the pain the others are feeling which I am guessing adds a new layer on their own pain.

My heart goes out to the other students who are now struggling to just feel normal again. I am sure they are having nightmares or flashbacks of this situation and the more it is plastered all over the tv I am sure they will continue to struggle with that. Seeing the picture of this young man yesterday really brought me to tears. I pray for his family to find peace in knowing that his actions are not a reflection of them, I pray for the families who have lost children, parents or siblings in this massacre to find a way to honor and celebrate their life instead of focusing on the horrible act that took it. I pray for the university president for I can't imagine a man under more pressure right now. I pray that he will find peace in seeing clearly what needs fixed and also what was out of his hands. I pray for revival on that campus. This was a horrible act and I can't imagine much good coming from it unless you know my God! He is so capable to turning this horrible act to end up being the marker of great things to follow! This campus has the ability to light up for Him by pulling together and hitting their knees in seeking His guidance. What a powerful picture. While I sit and watch to see what will come of all of this, I just pray that I never forget those who need prayers daily to carry them through each moment of each day until they are able to cast their burdens on Jesus. Pray for them to carry them to Him. pray for revival in that campus, in our country! That is the only source of comfort we can find.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Flylay to the Rescue!

For those of you who are not domestically challenged or are Type A personalities, you may not find the same joy in my new saving grace. However, I am really struggling to keep this house in order right now and need someone to guide me through the muck into see the other side. While this comes so easy to others, for me, I get overwhelmed with the clutter and feel like it will never be any better so why bother. I cave to that Eeyore inside me at times. But after praying about, God really knew I needed help above and beyond. I found the website and am hooked! You take babysteps in getting rid of the CHAOS (can't have anyone over syndrome) in your house. I am so excited to jump into this with both feet and know that this is what I need to pull me out of the muddy pit we have put ourselves into since Christmas. A detailed plan and encouragement from someone who has been there before is all I can ask for really. I just think my God is just so awesome that He knew when to let me find this site. I should never be amazed at how much He takes care of every single detail in my life. Even the ones I cause myself....clutter. So, with that, I am off to shine my sink!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Friend, Family and Fond Memories

I was able to get away last night for some much needed time of laughing with my friends while we worked on our scrapbooks. What a joy it is to be with these women. I have great friends who see my flaws and love me anyway. I appreciate their wisdom and words of encouragement as we share our lives together. I can't wait until our next crop! My sides need some time to stop hurting from my laughing so hard!

I think the main thing God has been working on with me is my service of my family with a cheerful heart! How I am learning that I can do lots for my family and still not be in line with His plan for me. I need to make sure my heart matches my intent to serve. If my daughters ask for help, do I do that with a joyful heart or do I give off the impression that they are bothering me? I really have to work on that when I am tired after a long day of dealing with sibling squabbles. I know God will continue to grow me in this area. I also know He is the one who has placed this desire in my heart and as long as I seek Him, I will get to where He desires me to be.

I have been struggling with the loss of my grandma and do not know where to really turn to get out what my heart is feeling. I feel the need to be strong for my daugthers who still talk about how they miss her and helping do her laundry. Yet I find myself thinking of her several times a day and just wishing I could go talk to her one more time. I miss those days we went to visit her and she would just sit and listen to what was happening in my life and encourage me to continue doing what I was doing. I miss that spark in her eye when I walked in the room and the big hugs when we would have to leave. I miss her standing by the door to be able to see me walk down the hall until she knew I was gone. I miss her giggle over silly things she would do or say. I miss her getting so excited over a cherry shake from Steak and Shake. I miss her getting frustrated over games we played while we sat with her or from the girls playing wrong. I miss her unconditional love of me and my family. I know she is with our Lord and Savior now and would never want her to return to the ailing body she had here again. Yet, there are days when this grand daughter returns to the precious memories of my gram over the years and pray that I can leave that legacy with my girls and their children. Until then I pray that God will continue to heal my heart and fill it with a service for Him. Wow!! I feel so much better! Isn't it amazing what getting it out can do for you? God is so good to remind me I had this site through my friends last night. I am blessed with great friends, good family and wonderful memories!
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