Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Finally tackled! For the past three years, my parents have genorously brought all three of their children and their families down to Florida for Spring Break. When we were all kids, we camped down here for our Spring Breaks and loved the white sand beaches so much that they decided to give us this trip instead of Christmas gifts, which we adore!!! So, all three years, my sister-in-law and I have talked and talked about getting up for sunrise and gathering shells. Today it finally happened!!! We got up at 6:15, threw on some sweats and hit the beach. Shocker of all shockers, my little one joined me! Bean is my sleeper but she just loves walking the beach and finding shells so she hopped right up.

Of course, she is now snoring on the sofa, but hey, I loved her enthusiasm this morning. Too sweet watching Bean running to the next area of shells. It was a treasure for her....and way too precious for me. :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Monday Menu Plan

This week we are in Florida with my family. So we will be going out more than usual but we also will be having family meals as well. So here is the "plan":

Monday: Pulled beef sandwiches, mac-n-cheese, beans, fruit

Tuesday: Out

Wednesday: Taco Salad

Thursday: Out

Friday: Ham Potato Casserole, broccoli, fruit

That is all I know since we are heading home on Saturday! See you all then!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Playing in the Mud!

As always, Wednesdays are all about Walking Down Memory Lane. So I join Lynnette at Dancing Barefoot and many others to do just that. This week, I decided to walk down memory lane with one of my favorite memories of my girls being free and full of great joy. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. So, let's get walking.....

Playing in the rain seems to be one of those things kids just love to do. I have never really figured out why as an adult, but I so recall jumping in puddles as a young girl and beaming with delight. I try to have times like that with my girls. I want to allow them those childhood memories that I cherish but also go against my natural thought process a bit as a mom. Basically, what I mean is that there are times as a mom I can be way too serious. I think too much. What my girls need to be able to do a lot right now is just stop thinking and have complete joy in what God provides.

The pictures below are of a time just like that...a time I let my adult guard down and did what felt right. It had been raining for days and the girls were stuck inside way too long. So at the first sign of clearing, I sent them outside in old clothes to just run and play. That was the part where I let my guard down. I normally would have thought about it and decided they would get too muddy and let's just wait until tomorrow. I did not plan what happened next, but I just loved the joy that followed! I was inside getting something when I saw the girls sliding down the slide out back. The end of our slide has no grass left...only dirt, unless of course it has been raining for days. Then you get the lovely mudslide!

Doodle and Bean taking turns going down the Miller Mud Slide!

These two were sliding down the slide and across our backyard due to it being so muddy! The squeals were too precious. They laughed so hard.When I opened the door to take a picture, they came running to me with joy.
Doodle and Bean running toward me with pure joy!
(and lots of mud)

I knew the mud stains would not come out of these clothes and I hated that I even went there in my mind. I was so glad that I shook that thought and was able to really see their faces. Delight was beaming from each little girl.
Doodle could not stop smiling!

Bean beaming with joy!

Their joy makes me stop and think, what brings me that kind of joy? Is it my accomplishments? my family? my hobbies? or is it the things God provides me? God gives me chances all day long to delight in His provision. The stunning beauty of a sunrise or sunset sparks a indescribable feeling within me. The sound of the ocean waves pounding the shore constantly reminds me of just how big my God is and I stand in awe with great delight. The chirping of the birds every morning brings me joy in God's ability to wake me with out a loud buzzer!

I just pray that I never lose sight of God's provision or to stop and enjoy every ounce of that moment. I know my kids may not have realized they were delighted by God's provision at that moment, but they did not stop and think about all the reasons why they should not slide down that muddy mess over and over again. They just did it. I pray I will see what brings God joy and just do it as well. Maybe next time, I will have stop taking pictures long enough to go hit the slide a few times myself!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tackle time!

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

This week I am preparing to leave for our Spring Break trip with my entire family: parents, sister and her family, brother and his family and then my family. So, with that trip over my head, I know I don't have time to tackle anything around the house per se, but I do have the chance to tackle what needs done before we leave Friday. So today, I am going to pack our clothes and organize our beach stuff so when I go to pack the van on Friday, it will all be together and no one will be questioning where the nets or shovels/pails have gotten to. I don't know that there will be pictures, but I will let you know when the task is tackled. Keep posted for updates!

Monday, March 23, 2009

This week will be crazy as we prepare to leave for Florida for Spring Break with my entire family. It will be a wonderful time, just trying to get everything done before we head out will be the challenge. Normally, I don't feel this pressure but I was away this weekend for a mom's retreat at the lake house and did not do my usual prep for the week. So feeling a bit swamped but know that God is in control and it will all work out. With that said, we are eating what we have in the pantry and frig this week to make life easier but also to clean them out before we head out! :)
So here is our gourmet menu:

Monday: (co-op, BSF) Beef stew, cottage cheese, bread

Tuesday: (ballet) Spaghetti, salad and bread

Wednesday: (choir) Breakfast for Dinner! French Toast, eggs, bacon

Thursday:(Bible Bowl) Mexican Skillet: rice, beans, corn, sausage

Friday: on the road!!!

I will have to plan next week's meals soon so I know what we need to take with us and what to buy there....but not right now. :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sisterhood Award

Thanks to my good friend, Lainie at Peaceful Home, who nominated me for a Sisterhood Award. This award is suppose to be given to those who display great attitude or gratitude in their blog. I appreciate being nominated by my good friend. I am grateful. Thank you!

Here are the rules for accepting the award:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.

2. Nominate at least 10 blogs who you feel are worthy of this award by displaying great attitude or gratitude in their blog. (I'm going to select 5 blogs, which is what are doing.)

3. Be sure to link to the blogs you nominate within this post.

4. Let your nominees know about the award by commenting on their blog.

5. Link back to the person who gave you this award.

I nominate the following blogs for a Sisterhood Award because they make me smile, laugh, look at things differently, and remind me to always put God first:

Lynnette at Dancing Barefoot

Nicole at The Bishop Family

Titus 2 At the Well

Kim at Lifesong

Sarah Mae at Like a Warm Cup of Coffee

and of course...I would nominate Lainie's blog as I spend a ton of time there...but she already has the award. :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Walking with Mom

I enjoy walking down memory lane with Lynnette at Dancing barefoot. I think it is wonderful to take a few moments to see where you have come from and how God worked out all the details. I also think it is great to think back on things or people that meant a lot to you over the years. Over the past few weeks, I have focused on my honey, my Gram, and my dad. Today, I would like to focus on my mom.

This is my beautiful mom with my Gram.

I think some of the most precious memories for me with my mom as a child would be: walking with her,listening to her read, and watching her pray. Let me explain more.

When my mom walks, the woman walks fast! You have to keep up. But I remember very vividly her getting ready to take off and always her hand would come down and she would take our hand into hers. Off we would go at the speed of light! Truly, she walks fast, always has and always will I think. She knew we couldn't keep up without her help. She didn't want to leave us behind either.
My mom taking her grand-daughters arm to guide her down the stairs.

My mom's gentle guidance allowed us to meet her expectation. Just having her hand helping me, let me know I could make it. I also remember holding her hand through church and playing with her long nails. There is something about your moms hands that just bring a sense of calm. Isn't that true for us now? When we are feeling fearful, worried, sad and we go to our heavenly Father, when we begin to feel His hand on us our in our situation we can feel the calm seep in.
Mom holding hands and walking with her 8 grandchildren on the beach.

Secondly, hearing my mom read to me was precious to me. I remember sitting up on her lap and rocking away the day as she sat and read story after story to me. That made me think, would I do the same for my kids? Would I sit in that chair long enough to give my child the security and enjoyment they needed before my hopping up and running off to do a chore?

Later on, my mom made memories without meaning to by reading books that have great meaning in my life still today. At Christmas time, my mom read to us the story A Certain Small Shepherd. It was a story about a boy who could not speak becoming a shepherd in the school play. Sounds simple, yet when my mom read the part where the boy speaks for the first time, didn't matter if it was the first time or the 15th, she would tear up. Same thing happened when she read, Did You Carry the Flag Today, Charlie? I sadly recall making fun of her at that time and regret that. For in those moments of tenderness, we saw a side of our mom that was often not seen through daily life. You see, now as a mom, I totally get that I have to be the strong mom all day long in order to get the things done that need done. But when you get lost in a story, or a certain situation brings you to tears, we show our kids the tender side of ourselves that they need to see. God does this for us as well. Yes, God is our Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Mighty and worthy of great praise. Yet in the same breath, he is also our Abba Father, who is tender and loving. We need to show both to our kids as well.
My mom still enjoys reading to her grandchildren.

The one thing I remember most about my mom to this day would be her prayer life and growth throughout the years. When I was little, my mom was a different woman that she is now. Through obedience and seeking God, she changed right before our eyes. There was a time when I was probably a teenager or right around there, when my parents grew in their faith tremendously. During that time, I recall vividly walking down the stairs each morning to find my mom on her knees before the couch, face down in the seat, praying. At that time, again, I regret joking with her about falling....but now, how precious. This memory is a vivid reminder to me of where she was able to get her strength and tenderness. Without God, she would not have been able to do her job as a mom. I thank my mom for many things. Most of all for showing me as a young girl that time with your children is more important than chores, guiding your child through life begins with a hand reaching out, showing tenderness allows our kids to see a side of us that they need to know and most of all that we are never so close to God that we should stop growing.
My mom having all of us circle around and pray before leaving the beach.

As a mom myself, I think I hold these things more closely now than I ever have. I know there are special memories of my mom with me that I don't want to share with the world, but I am so grateful that I had/have a mom who was invested in her children and was willing to show this young girl how to be a mom who loves God first. Now, I get to be the mom reaching for my child's hand as we walk, tear up in stories, and pray continually. Thank you for showing me the way, Mom.

My favorite picture of my parents: walking the beach with all 8 grandkids.
My mom holding the smallest ones hand, so she can keep up. Precious!

Update:After posting this today, my girls and I went out for a walk/bike ride. Doodle and I walked while Bean rode her bike. She took the camera with her in her little basket in case we found anything fun. While she was riding behind us, she snapped this picture. While I am never excited about getting my picture taken, I really don't like to have it taken from this angle. :) However, it reminded me of what I just wrote about. Here we are holding hands, talking and walking along. Just like my mom did with me. Thanks mom!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tackle of the Day!

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Well, it is that special day again, when all things that need tackled jump to attention in hope to be picked. This week, I am going to tackle a job I do not enjoy....finding a swimsuit and shorts modest enough for my 11 year old for our Spring Break trip. Man, I do not enjoy the styles that are out there: way too tight tops, short shorts, spaghetti straps, strapless....need I go on? I don't really have a before picture. So I will have to just post what we found later. :)

Update: God is so good! We did find several things that will work. Not only did we find stuff for our vacation, but we also found stuff that will be great for the entire summer. God is so good! We also noticed a trend towards the 'swing tops' and looser fitting shirts. We saw a lot of precious sundresses that with the right tee under it will be great! So, I went a bit crazy since we found longer shorts, looser shirts, sweet dresses in her size! On top of that...everything was on sale! Woohoo! I recommend hitting Old Navy, Kohl's and Target right now if you like the prairie style skirts as well as the looser tops and Bermuda shorts. Well worth our shopping adventure. Here are a few things we found:

Outfit 1: cute peasant top with tiered skirt. (top:Kohl's, skirt: Old Navy)
(skirt is longer on my daughter, below knee)

Outfit 2: Plaid Bermuda shorts and cotton tee with cute trim.
(Old Navy shorts, Target shirt)

She also could wear this brown top from Target with these shorts:

Outfit 3: cute sun dress (with cami or tee under it!) and a little sweater

(both from Kohl's)

There were a few more, but I think you get the idea. It is fun to see her excited to try things on because normally we both leave the stores frustrated and sad. This time we felt good about the things we bought and knew we had kept our goal of being modest first and frugal as well.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Weekly Menu

I can't believe it is time for planning meals already! This past week just flew by me. Regardless, it is that time so here is what the Miller crew will be dining on for this week:

Monday: (BSF night, co-op all day) Taco Salad, chips and salsa

Tuesday: (ballet) white bean chicken chili, home made bread

Wednesday:(choir) grilled chicken, veggies, rice

Thursday: (Bible Bowl, piano) sloppy joes, mac-n-cheese, veggies

Friday: (mom at lake house/women's retreat for co-op) left overs

Saturday: Pizza, salad, breadsticks

Sunday: roast, potato, carrots

Saturday, March 14, 2009

God's Little Dancer

How fitting this week for me to write about dancing on my dad's feet as a child. Doodle had her ballet recital last night at the church where she takes lessons. They have a Fine Arts School which has opened a dance studio. Very well done. What I appreciate most about this studio is the fact that most of the teacher's really get that this is not just about teaching the girls a few steps. This is a chance to teach these young girls who they are dancing for~God.

I can not tell you what a moving experience it is for me to watch Doodle dance. The girl has a gift in the fact that she dances with such reverence for her Jesus while she is moving. I love that the songs she dances to are songs that point to Jesus. Some of them are on my blog because when I hear the I see her dancing. I realize Doodle may never be a prima ballerina. I also realize these classes are getting more expensive in our budget and at some point something will have to give. However, to see my girl up there shining for Jesus....well that is just priceless. How do you teach that? I am grateful to her teacher, Miss Pearl, for sharing her passion for dance but most of all for passing on to these girls her passion for Jesus. Truly she is a gifted woman. I don't know how long Doodle will continue with dancing, but one thing I know, wherever she dances she will be dancing for her precious Lord. For that, it is worth every single penny we have spent. Thank you God, for giving her a chance to learn how to use her gifts to honor you!

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Servant's Heart

It's Friday, which means it is time to share just how my husband rocks. KatyLin must be busy since she was not able to post a prompt. That is just fine. I love to share how/why my husband rocks and I don't need reminders. :)

Today, I want to focus on how much Matt does for us. Matt is a hard worker. He may have Friday's off, but that does not mean he stops working. The man never stops. He loves playing, I mean working, outside trimming trees, chopping wood, planting, pruning, even cutting down dead trees at the lake house. He also loves woodworking. He has created many beautiful things for our home over the 17 years of being married, including a gorgeous cradle we have used for both girls. Matt enjoys working hard and creating things with his hands. Why do I think that rocks? Because I know the heart behind why he is working. He works like crazy to give us the things he wants us to have. He knows things don't matter, but yet he enjoys giving us certain things. He will work a weekend so I can go scrapbook. Why? Because he loves to see me happy. He will not use his birthday money so the girls can have new Easter dresses. Why? Because he adores watching them beam. The man is a sacrificial giver. He works hard, plays hard and only occasionally do we see him.........
rest hard. :)
That's my sweetie looking just about too cute. Love this man! Now the trick is figuring out how to bless him in a way that brings him the same great joy as he gives us. Funny thing about Matt, he gets more joy in giving and seeing our excitement than he does in getting. I guess that is the key. However, I so enjoy surprising him and I totally understand why he does what he does. Seeing his eyes light up makes my heart just swell with joy. I'm so glad God gave me a husband who understands what it truly means to be a leader of this family. It is not all about us bowing down to him and treating him as a dictator. No, it is understanding what true service in Christ means. True service brings about great respect and willingness to submit to each other. It is so easy to serve him because I am so grateful for all he does for us. Speaking of which, I think I will go make the man some of his yummy coffee. (yummy for him...I personally prefer tea. :0) I am sure I can find other ways to serve him throughout the day that will bless him and let him know just how much I appreciate the way he leads this family. Should be fun!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dancing on Daddy's Feet

What is it about walking down memory lane that is so sweet? Maybe it is taking the time to really remember those moments we cherish. Maybe it is the photos we have not seen in years that allow the emotions to flood back in and cause our hearts to swell. I'm not sure, but I do know that I love Wednesdays for this very reason.

Today's walk down memory lane for me has no official photo, yet it is so vivid in my memory. I am the middle child in a family of three children. I am the first girl. My dad was my hero most of my life. He still is a man I admire greatly. I have since learned that my heavenly Father is the only one I should hold up to the standard of true hero, but as a child, my daddy was number one.

Some of my favorite memories as a young girl are of time spent sitting on my dad's lap, playing games with him, listening to him talk like Donald Duck so long it made my sides hurt from laughing and watching him with my mom. Above all else, my favorite memory of my dad as a child, will always be walking or dancing on his feet before bed. There did not need to be music, he would either hum his own or our laughter would be enough. My little sister would be there as well, since we shared a room. We would take turns hopping on his "enormous' feet and going for a swirl. How safe I felt standing on his feet, in his arms, while we twirled or stomped up the stairs together. The joy of that moment is precious to me still to this day.

Fast forward 30 years or more, I still adore my daddy and the relationship he has with my mom. I still love spending time with him playing games. I still fall to pieces laughing hearing him talk like Donald Duck. However, there is no more dancing on his feet as I would seriously cause the man pain! So where do I go for this same feeling I once had as a young girl? I run to my heavenly father. I picture me jumping up on His feet, holding his hand, wrapping my other arm around him tightly and twirling with delight. The safety returns. The joy sweeps in. I pray I never get "too old" to dance on my Abba Daddy's feet nor to remember how that makes me feel. As I walk down memory lane today, I am grateful for the Daddy I was given on earth who took time to show me a glimpse of God's love in the way he loved and tenderly cared for his little girl. This dance is for you, Dad.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Monday Menu Planning

Here's the plan for the week:

Monday: Papa Murphy's pizza (BSF night and Mom's meeting)

Tuesday: Mexican skillet dinner (rice, salsa, sausage, corn) ( ballet)

Wednesday: parmesan crusted tilapia, rice, broccoli (choir and first 4-H meeting)

Thursday: pulled pork, baked beans, salad (piano, Bible Bowl)

Friday: crouton chicken, mashed sweet potatoes, green beans (dance recital)

Saturday: smorgasbord....leftovers

Fun With the Sun!

Teaching my kids is just so much fun! I am Bean's science teacher at our homeschool co-op this year. I started allowing the kids to choose a project to correlate with the topic we are studying during a certain unit. The unit we are ending tomorrow is on astronomy which means tomorrow is project day. Bean and I worked on her project this weekend and had so much fun! She wanted to make a telescope, but I am not the engineer type thinker to pull that off. So she chose to make a solar system model. I wanted to do something from scratch that she could do most the work herself. One of my biggest pet peeves as a teacher was and still is not allowing the student to do 'his' own work. So since that is true, I tend to stand back after giving the how to instructions and see what happens. Bean loves that! She just takes off with whatever project we tackle together and enjoys the creative flow.

Bean painting planets

So, while Doodle was in ballet on Saturday morning, Bean and I went shopping for her supplies. I can not tell you how cute she was in the craft store! She flitted from one thing to the next trying to figure out what she wanted. After seeing the choices where too many, I helped her narrow it down. We were able to purchase the supplies quickly, pick Doodle up and get home to tackle our solar system. Bean jumped right in and started painting the planets the colors she chose at the store after I had cut the dowel rod to the various sizes she needed. After the paint dried, we glued the dowel rod in the planets to be sure none would fall off in transit. Once dry, she added the planets to the sun securely with more glue. Add labels and you have one happy girl!

Bean and her Solar System

Now, I know I have friends that think I am nuts to attempt some of the projects that we do, but truly my kids soar with this stuff. We do great reading about the subjects in books, but when we pull in a project that ties in what we have learned to their artistic side, BOOM! They finally get it. So, although I did not see my kitchen bar most the weekend because it was covered with plastic place mats which were covered with paint, Styrofoam planets and the such, I am so happy that I am able to see past that mess and enjoy the process. I just have to show you how she did!!!

Bean's Solar System

I may be biased, but that is the best looking solar system (besides God's of course) that I have ever seen. By the way, seeing her excitement is priceless. After this project, she wanted to get on the internet to see what else she could find out about the solar system. Oh? What's that? That is what I call a love of learning. Man, I love my job!

Now, to be fair, I must take time to post a picture of Doodle while she was making a model of the ocean's floor for her science class last week. She has now reached the age where she likes to work alone for the most part. She calls for me when she needs help and that is about it. She is confident in what she is doing and manages to come up with some great projects. So here she is in the process of painting the background. I will add the finished product picture once she gets it tomorrow. We turned it in before we took a picture! Can you imagine the insanity?! I just feel I need to say it one more time: Love my job!

Doodle painting the backdrop of the ocean for her ocean floor model.

Here is Doodle with her completed ocean floor model.

The Ocean Floor

Doodle's Bedmaker 3000 invention for science

The child never ceases to amaze me with her creativity.

You have to see this!

We were so blessed to have Rick Alonzo at our church today during service as well as after the Bible Bowl Competition. I don't think that watching a video does justice to his talents, but it is all I have. I wept after he painted the picture of Christ on the cross. The music he chose was from the Passion of the Christ movie and the combination of seeing the eyes of Christ appear so vividly and the music being so moving makes this presentation a true witness tool. Thought others would enjoy. So I found this on youtube, he only talks at the beginning for a minute then you get to watch him paint an amazing picture in less than 4 minutes! Grab the kids and gather round to be amazed and moved.

This was the painting did for the kids at Bible Bowl. Amazing!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Song of Praise

Saturday Psalm & Praise

When the choir from Romania came to our church, we hosted two of the members. During their stay, we listened to the songs they sang over and over. That was in 2004. We are still putting in the Caminul Felix Choir cd and singing praises to our God to many of the songs. This is one of them that we cherish and feel reminds us of who God is in our life. "He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end." I can still hear the choir singing that song with their little accents. I know God was glorified by their singing and I pray this song will constantly remind us to focus on who God is and not our circumstances.

Alpha and Omega

I Heard a great voice out of heaven saying
Behold the tabernacle of God is with men
He shall dwell with them and they shall be His people
And almighty God will be with them

He shall wipe away all tears from their eyes
There shall be no more death
Neither sorrow, nor crying, and no more pain
The former things are all passed away

He that sat upon the throne said,
“Behold, I make all things new”
He said unto me, “Write these words
For they are faithful and true”

It is done (4 Times)

He is the Alpha and Omega
The Beginning and the End
The Son of God, the King of Kings
Lord of lords, He's Everything
Messiah, Jehovah
The Prince of Peace is He
The Son of Man, Seed of Abraham
Second Person in the Trinity

I will have to dig into scripture to find just the right psalm to go along with this song as well as upload the choir's version later today. I just wanted to take time from my making a solar system model with Bean to post this song before I forgot. I know you all will be blessed by the song once you can hear it as well.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Happily Married

KatyLin at the Great Adventure hosts "my husband rocks" every Friday. Sometimes she has prompts and sometimes it is open forum. This weeks question is:
"What makes a happy marriage?"

Truly that question will bring a variety of answers as we all know that what makes one marriage "happy" is not necessarily what will make another. With that awareness, I will write on what makes our marriage happy and trust that the readers understand what works in our home may not work in yours.

I think the first thing that pops into my head would be that God makes a happy marriage. If you have not put God as the center of your marriage, you will struggle to survive. Scripture states:
Ecclesiastes 4:12

Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

That cord of three should always be God, husband and wife. When either of you steps out of that cord, there will be "discord". (sorry for the word silliness there, but you know what I mean)

Matt and I have a beautiful marriage but truly have had to work to get there. Some days it is so easy and others we have to make a choice to act the way we should and not the way we feel. I think the second thought that comes to my mind as to what makes a happy marriage is choice. When you make the commitment to marry someone, it is a choice to fulfill that commitment. It is not a feeling. Sure, there are those moments were you are swept away with the feelings that come when your man grabs your hand or gently touches the small of your back as he guides you through a room. However, that feeling can not withstand trials. Choosing to love in spite of circumstances is a gift from God. I do not have to enjoy everything my husband does, and I don't. I do not have to agree with everything my husband feels, and I don't. I do have to honor the commitment I made to him 17+ years ago before our Heavenly Father. I do have to honor him as the head of this home and I do have to choose to show respect even when I don't "feel" like it. Choosing to love during the unlovable times is truly what brings such depth to a marriage.

I know that my Matt loves me. I always did but until we stood together through lives trials and had to watch each other struggle in heart wrenching ways, we did not know what our marriage was made of. I know we stood before a group of friends and family quoting our vows with all sincerity. We meant every word. Yet, truly we had no idea what we were saying. We had no idea what God had planned for our journey together. Once we hit our first big road bump in our marriage, which for us was infertility, we had to look at each other and decide, will this break us or will we break it? We chose to fight it and grow closer together. When we had a huge marital issue arise after all the baby turmoil, we had a choice to follow man's way or dig our heels in even deeper and fight for what we committed to before God. Praise God I can say that we dug our heels in so deep that satan had no idea what hit him. We chose to fight. We choose to fight for our marriage everyday and that is a choice I am so thankful we both make together.

Lastly, I suppose what makes our marriage happy is laughter and friendship. We are good friends. I can't wait to talk to Matt everyday to see how things went at the office or at his Bible study. He is interested in what I have to say and desires to see me grow as a mom and wife. We encourage each other to follow our passions. We seek to please each other before pleasing ourselves in this area. As for the laughter, truly, that is the glue for us. The man has made me laugh since the day we first talked on the phone and I know we will continue to laugh for many years together. Finding joy in life together is a must. Enjoy your time together and laugh! Life is way too short to get all bent over how the toothepaste tube looks or where someones socks are left. Serve each other, laugh, seek God, choose to love and you will see an amazing happily married couple. (or at least in our home)

17 Years Happily Married and counting......

Footnote:I must be honest. I really do struggle when I hear of Christian couples who split over not being "happy". That word drives me nuts. God did not put us on earth to be happy but to serve and worship HIM. If our focus is always on our feelings and not on serving God through the relationships, jobs, etc He places us into, then we will never find true joy that only comes from serving God. I will now step off my soap box and stop typing. :) Sorry!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Blog Party Question of the Day!!

List one or two resources pertaining to keeping the home that you have found helpful.

Keeping house is one of the areas I really struggle. I did not use to but since homeschooling, I just can't seem to find the right thing to get it all done. So, with that preface, know I am gleaning more from this topic than I can share...but here a couple thoughts.

I have found getting the kids involved helps a ton. Chore charts, rewards, zone cleaning have all worked for us.

Secondly, learning to let some stuff go helps me too. I know how I desire our home to look, I also know just how much time I would spend accomplishing that goal. To be honest, I choose to play with my girls instead. So if that is my choice, I have to cave on some of my expectations. Does that make sense? So instead of sweeping daily, bathrooms cleaned twice a week...etc. Now I know we will get the bathrooms deep cleaned once a week and clean surfaces once. We will sweep every other day and dust as needed. It has freed me up to be the mom I want to be at this time of their life.

I so struggle with letting the messes go though. I sit here knowing I have a pantry and two closets that need my attention terribly...which brings me to my third help. I found a meme called Tackle it on Tuesday. That has helped me focus on those type areas the past few weeks. What a blessing. Just making it a priority for a day helps. Then keeping it clean is so much easier.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Walking With My Gram

Gram at my parents 40th Anniversary party in 2006

Here we are again for a walk down memory lane together. I must admit that I struggle to come up with what to share, but God always manages to bring my mind or eyes to just the right thing. So today, God had my eyes rest on my picture of my Gram. I am named after both my grandmothers. (Jane and Anna hence the Jane Ann) This Gram is the Jane portion of my name. She is my mom's mom. I did not grow up following her around the house. She was not the over the top kind of grandma but when my grandpa died when I was 10, I soon learned what kind of woman she truly was. I think God knew we would never have seen her standing in Grandpa's shadow if he did not take him early. So my memories of her really stand out from 10 to now...well just about as close to 40 as you can get. :0) Gram (Jane Carley) , my niece (Carley Jane) and Jane Ann(me) 2005

My gram went to be with her Jesus two years ago in February. The past two years have been the hardest emotionally and spiritually for me that I can recall in recent years. My gram was my cheerleader, counselor and friend. So today, I thought it fitting to honor her by posting the letter I wrote for her funeral. This was a collaboration of ideas from my brother, sister and I. We all think of her often and feel blessed to have been loved by this woman.
Thanksgiving 2006 Gram with her 8 great-grandchildren

It is always hard to say good bye and that was true for Gram as well. When we would visit her, she would always stop what she was doing to give us her undivided attention. There was no time for bridge or club when we were there. But when we would leave, no matter how long we had stayed, she always asked us if we could stay a little bit longer. She just hated to say good bye. Her fight in the hospital was no different. She saw her great-grandkids, gave them kisses and told them she loved them, told her precious daughter how much she would miss her and we never heard her sweet voice again. That was Tuesday (valentine's day 2007) , but Gram hated to say goodbye and she wanted to stay just a little bit longer as she always liked us to do. So she did. (slipped away in her sleep February 18th)

Visiting Gram in the nursing home. 2006

We pray that as parents we will make sure to hold on to that gift of time she gave to us. As a child she gave us her attention and laughter. As teens she gave us acceptance, encouragement and a listening ear. As a young parents, she gave us wisdom and strength as we would talk through the daily events of our lives with her. She always had time to hear our hearts and not just the words. When we walked in that room, no matter how old we were, she beamed and stopped what she was doing to focus on us. We pray that we will carry that away with us. For nothing makes a young child, teenager or busy parent feel more valued and loved than to know someone is listening to your every word and you are so important that they will stop everything to make sure they don't miss a word. That is how we felt with our Gram. She loved us unconditionally. No matter how long it had been since we last saw her, she just welcomed us in and asked us to tell her what was going on in our life. As a child, she let us stay with her for weeks in the summer and doted on us that entire time. How many Grandma's do you know that will ride roller coasters or go to ball games with their grandchildren? Ours did! And we always had to catch a movie, get ice cream and play a game of putt putt before we could leave. She was the putt putt queen!

Christmas 2006
As a teen, she seemed to understand our frustrations in life or at least knew they would pass and we would come out on the other side a better person. She did not judge our choices but listened to us and welcomed us into her home at all times. She even welcomed our friends. Jane Ann remembers in college she and three of her roommates drove to Gram's apartment in Highland and stayed with her for the weekend. They went shopping and ate out but most of all they were just hanging out with Gram. How cool is that!! And Emily and Jane Ann as college students went to visit her for Spring Break. We all took our families to visit her in Florida as well. We had a blast hanging out with her buddies. She made us laugh so much and they all were great about making us feel welcome. Those ladies were so important to her and we are so thankful for each of them being such a big part of her life. They made her time in Florida so precious by becoming her adopted family.

How I miss these moments of talking with her.

When Gram returned to Indiana, we were so excited to have time for her to get to really know our families and to be able to spoil her the way she had done for our entire lives. We know we may not have done all we desired or even all she desired but what we do know is that we had so many long talks about life and we know our gram. We know what she likes, what songs she enjoys, what foods she loved, and her precious thoughts on our grandpa, uncle and mom. We got to know the heart of the woman who had listened to ours for all these years. For that we are grateful. We are so happy to know she is where she wants to be today. She is no longer in pain and is rejoicing in heaven with new eyes to see her savior , new ears to hear the singing angels and new legs to carry her to worship her God. What a joy that must be. While we will miss her talks so much that we can't put it into words, we know that she is where she wants to be and that all she wants of us is to love each other well. So, we will stop the busyness of life and pick up our children and listen to their stories while we are thinking of her. Thank you for loving us well. We will miss you Gram.

My mom and Gram on Gram's 89th birthday, January 2007

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