Sunday, May 30, 2010

Recital Craze!

This weekend, Doodle and a friend of hers were asked to dance at a mutual friend's dance recital. Their own recital was just last weekend so they have had the joy of dancing fever for sure! They did two dances for this girl, who started her own dance studio when she was 12 years old at her church. She is now 18 and graduating from high school as a homeschool graduate. She is off to a lovely Christian dance school in Texas, but what a legacy she has left behind in her home town. I was so impressed by the passion for teaching the younger girls do dance for Jesus and do it modestly. It was lovely. As always, I love watching Doodle dance. These videos are not great but I still enjoy! Hope you do as well.

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Doodle is on the right at the beginning of the dance. Dancing to "Who Am I" by Watermark, choreographed by Pearl Riggs at Dance Creations

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Doodle is in the blue. Dancing to "How Beautiful" by Twila Paris, choreographed by Pearl Riggs at Dance Creations.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm a Sap!!!

Well, I think it is official, I am a sap. I can't deny it any longer. (not that I have been) Today we were working on organizing the school closet. While trying to do that, we were putting the girls items in order based on grade level. Each thing we pulled out, we sat and giggled over what treasures we found. Oh the stories and sweet pictures! Truly precious. Even better, I was able to remember a lot of those precious moments with my girls, which is why it is so hard to throw out any of it. I desire to have less clutter. I really do! I just can't get myself to throw away memories! Sigh....maybe one day I can declutter the school closet, but for now, I think I will enjoy the little stories some more.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cleaning Out the Cobwebs

Lately, I have been really working on deep cleaning my home. It has NEVER been this yucko! Truly, I had let things go the past year. I just got in a major slump and did not try to make it happen. That fog I mentioned earlier seems to be the biggest reason for the home issues. I notice that while I am attacking certain areas each day something amazing is happening. Each time I dig in and clear away the dirt and cobwebs from my home, not to mention the clutter....it appears to be doing the same to my mood. I find I am feeling more and more like myself. I am seeing God in everyday things and everyday tasks as I once did. I am rejoicing in the new light.

It reminds me that just as clearing away the cobwebs in my house brings out the new home hiding beneath the grime, God does the same for me. As I spend more time with Him, He gently scours away the dirt and grime or cobwebs in my heart and suddenly there is a new heart peering through. A heart for Him. I am not sure why I struggle from time to time with the blues, but I do know that I am thankful for having a loving Heavenly Father who gently wipes away the yuck and allows me once again to shine for Him.

Today, we tackle the bedrooms.....I can't wait to see what God reveals. :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tender Moments in the Kitchen?

This morning, Doodle and I went to get some cups out of the corner cabinets that we call the whirlybirds. Sadly, something had fallen behind the cabinet causing it to not spin. :( Normally, we can just grab what is causing the problem and get the whirlybird to spinning again. This time, the cups at hand had fallen between the cabinet fronts. Hmmm...not sure how that happened. Regardless, Doodle and I got busy solving this problem. We used rulers, spatulas and finally the little thing we use to clean out the dryer vent! Success!

After doing that, we realized we needed to clean the cabinet shelves before we put the stuff back inside. Then we noticed the doors were needing cleaning as well. So we cleaned the cabinet fronts off, all the while, talking about what I was doing and why as well as silly things that made us giggle. After the cabinet fronts, we decided the sink was gross and tackled it. With each thing we did, we found something else that needed done. Sounds like the children's book, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"! But this time, it was different. We talked about how we use to play games while I had Doodle and her cousin wipe down the cabinet fronts for me when they were little. She started getting ideas about how to do that with young children she takes care of from time to time. Then I showed her how to make the sink SPARKLE! (even big girls like shiny stuff!) When we put the lemon oil on and were spreading it over our stainless sink, she started quoting stuff off from our Chemistry class this year about oil and water not mixing and that is why the water beads up and doesn't mess up the sink.

Ok, while some of you may not understand why all of this touches my heart....let me clear it up. If you didn' t read earlier, I have been in a funk. I have not been myself. Today, with my daughter by my side, we shared chores as we use to. We had a lovely time of doing something that may not be lovely and to be honest, it blessed her as much as me as she is my clean freak! :) I am thankful for a daughter who still enjoys hanging with her mom. I am thankful that she loves to have things explained to her so she fully understands why we do what we do and not get an attitude or feelings hurt because "she already knew that!". I am thankful God is lifting the fog that has surrounded me for some time and that I know He will continue to do so. Who knew you could get all that from a clean sink?!

Monday, May 17, 2010

How Beautiful

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Today was our last day of co-op. I was in charge of devotions for the morning and was wanting to touch on being the hands and feet of Christ while we served the church that day. When I was talking to Doodle and her friend, they mentioned doing the dance they do for their Precious Hearts Ministry team. After much consideration, I agreed. The song they dance to is called "How Beautiful" by Twila Paris. And I must agree, watching them dance always brings tears to my eyes. Not just because of how well they dance. It is more than that. It is because of their hearts and to whom they dance. Well, it is just going to be easier to show you! I hope you enjoy as much as I do and agree how beautiful seems fitting. By the way, Doodle is in blue.


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A Sinking Feeling

Do you ever feel as if your not moving forward nor are you moving backwards, just kind of floating through life? That is kind of where Matt and I are right now. We have not changed much of our financial situation, nor have we changed much of our physical in recent years. We just keep plugging along doing the same things. Last night, we had a great talk about where we are, where we want to be and pinpointing some problem areas. Wow! What a blessing!

We discussed that we are neither one big "planners" per se and while that does keep the spontaneity exciting, when one does not know the path they are taking nor the prize they are headed for, it is very hard to succeed. Instead, I told him I fear we have been floating and if we don't get the direction we need, set a path, define a plan, we will not be floating but sinking to which he agreed.

So with those thoughts, talks and great discussion, we are off to planning together for the first time in awhile. Let me say this, we do plan menus, school lessons, vacations, etc. We do not have a family goal right now or a financial plan that gets us to where we both desire to be: debt free and able to bless the Kingdom of God through that freedom. So first up, no more debit cards! Cash only. We were debt free 10 years ago and we can do it again. I just am thankful my husband and I do communicate the way we do and are able to really jump on board with the new plans....even if it hurts a bit. :) I am so excited and can't wait to see where God will take us on this new path with a purpose....but a bit fearful too! Last time we did this, we bought a lot of new appliances as each one bit the dust as we were staying firmly footed on the path to being debt free!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

On My Mind

Recently, I have found myself feeling a bit blah. I don't really know why. I am such a blessed woman. After talking to a dear friend yesterday, I realized I think I know one reason why! I use to go visit my Gram when I was feeling a bit blah and between the giggles and serving her, I took the focus off me and onto someone who needed it. The giggles just helped in general! :)

Gram and I talking at a Christmas celebration~ December 2006

Gram has been gone for three years! Hard to believe. I still think of her talks with me and how much I enjoyed spending time with her. She was not always the sweet Gram I mentioned. She had a little bite to her from time to time. Somehow, that is something I miss as well! Go figure! One thing I always knew, no matter what, when I left her apartment, I would feel better. I was able to talk through the stuff in my life and she just listened. Eventually, she would reassure me that I was doing the right thing and to stick to my plans. I think right now, I feel so unsure of what is going on with being in charge of our co-op and just managing the home that I feel very unsure of what is going on around me. My house is not as tidy as I would like, my weight is certainly not what I would like and so on....So that got me to thinking....what do I need to let go of in this situation to feel the way I did when I would leave Gram's apartment? I am not a little girl any longer who has to run to Gram for help. (although that is how I feel some days! :)

Gram on her 89th birthday~ January 2007

I think, one of the greatest gifts Gram gave me was to show me the importance of stopping and really listening to someone when they speak. She did not always do that with everyone but I know she did it with her grandkids. So if that is true, listening is huge. That makes me wonder if I am taking time to really listen to my girls as I was shown. It also makes me think, who do I run to now? My parents are great but they are so busy still with school and my sister's kids. It is hard to find time to talk like I did with Gram however if I said I was needing that, they would drop everything. I just know they are busy and this stuff is just not vitally important. Then it hits me...until my Gram fell, she and I attended Bible Study Fellowship together. She was seeking after God until the end. She showed me what I needed to do when I get in a rut...seek God. So, today, while Gram is on my mind and my heart, I get to run to God and tell Him what is going on in my world. That is what I should do first anyway...why does it take us getting the blahs to remember that God wants to hear all of the joys and sorrows in our life. He wants to listen and just like my Gram...He listens! So, off I go to sit at my Savior's feet and talk to Him as I should have done weeks ago! I don't mean just the daily prayers of a mother.....but the heart of the woman. Oh what joy I will find there. I can't wait to share! Once again, I know I will let go of those silly blahs and find the joy that only God can give. Thanks for showing me the path, Gram! What a lovely legacy. Here is a previous post I wrote about her if you are interested. :)

Gram and her great-grandchildren~ November 2006

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Science Fair 2010

I don't know if I have ever mentioned it before or not, but I LOVE science experiments. I really do. I am that weird mom that enjoys the mess as we work through the process. Granted when it is over, I hate the mess as well. But watching those little minds work while trying to figure something out amazes and blesses me tremendously. With that passion, I then go to our homeschool co-op and teach science. This year, I taught middle school science. We decided it would be a great experience for our kids to have a science fair. So I jumped on it!
Bean with her experiment on gas...which moves faster...warm or cool?

I really worked with my class to be prepared for the fair and wanted to make sure they knew what to expect but also felt confident to present what they had done to the judges. Speaking of judges, we had to find some! Where to turn? Oh wait, did I mention I get my love of science from my dad? He is a retired chemist from Eli Lilly's. Go figure! So I asked him if he knew any of his buddies that had judged science fairs in the past. He did and he informed me he had on a few occasions as well. So, we ended up with my dad and two friends from Lilly's judging our fair as well as one of the dad's. It was great.
Doodle with her experiment on worm castings effect on plants.
Doodle and Bean each had their own projects entered. They did a lovely job talking to the judges. I was amazed Bean even talked to the other judges, but she did! I think having Poppy there helped her relax a bit. Regardless, my girls were so happy to have earned ribbons: Doodle came in second in her age group and Bean came in 3rd in her age group. (even without Poppy's score, in case you wondered)Judges talking with the girls. My dad is in top picture with light blue shirt.

While I was so proud of my girls that day, I also had a very teary moment when the student who won from my class, got his award. I have watched this guy come in to our co-op in August who talked out of turn, didn't complete assignments and really struggled to figure out what he was suppose to do. I felt badly for him at the time but I was also frustrated as his teacher. Once I talked to his mom and figured out that he had not been in a classroom setting ever, not even church, my heart could then soften and realize he just needed a bit more tender training. In January, I saw a noticeable difference in his work and I mentioned it to his mom. She told me that he had decided he was going to get all 'A's this semester. He had flipped that switch and knew he could meet the potential we all saw in him. So when science fair came around, he was the first one to tell me about his project. He worked on earlier than the others and was so passionate about his project, which I think is what soared him past the others to win. This little guy, who is taller than me, was able to flip the switch and win the entire thing. My heart, as a teacher, was just moved beyond words. To have such a drastic turn around in a year is seldom witnessed, but to get to see it first hand how God rewarded this young man's decision to take his education seriously, well, let's just say I couldn't look at him for a moment because my "allergies" were acting up. I could not have been more proud of him.The winner of the Middle School group...so proud!

It is funny to imagine that I could feel that same way for my girls whether they come in 1st or last, but this time it was for a student, which has not happened in a very long time. It was a wonderful day that I pray we do again next year...that is if the parents don't take me out the woodshed first! :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Day to Cherish Indeed

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Tiffany at A Moment Cherished has started a fun meme called Momentous Monday. She is encouraging us to take note of those moments we all have each week and share with others. So I thought I would share this week as well.

Yesterday was Mother's Day and I must say that my family spoiled me rotten! I may never be the same again. :) I awoke to breakfast in bed with some of my favorite things. Then the girls brought me cards and gifts. I opened the card to see the sweet face of Winnie the Pooh staring back at me. Do my girls know me or what?! I opened the gift to find a gift card to go get a spa treatment, facial, manicure etc. How sweet! Then last was the thickest package. It was squishy too. I truly thought it was a new blankie to wrap up in but upon my surprise it was the cushiest robe ever! So soft! I have needed a new robe for years but just don't see that as a need ever so I just keep wearing the same thing over and over. Not anymore!

After my little bountiful breakfast and gifts, we went to church together and were all moved by the sermon on generosity. Quite the heart turner for sure. We were all able to enjoy lunch together after church before heading over to my parents. We spent the afternoon with my entire family. All eight cousins were there and they just played like crazy. The adults enjoyed our time together as well. I love seeing my mom smile and giggle like she does on Mother's Day. The men all made us dinner, which was lovely and even cleaned up. Upon arriving home, reality set in when I realized that I had to do some work for co-op. But that is how I like it. I prefer to be working for my family and allow them to feel as blessed as I did yesterday. What a day indeed!

Me with my girlies who know how to make their momma feel special because they learned from their daddy.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bittersweet Memories

Mother's Day brings up different emotions for me. I recall the first time I got a Mother's Day card. It was the year we had found out we were going to adopt. My mom and sister gave me a card that said I was "expecting". Words I so wanted to be true in the truest sense of the word. That never came to be for me and I know the joy I felt in expecting my baby via adoption. I wondered if I could love her as much as a child that came from my body. I worried that our family would not be able to love them as they did the other kids born earlier that year. I feared rejection. I feared a lot. Then God met me in the midst of that fear. He showed me how He met Hagar in that desert and filled her up with His love and gave her all she needed. I was suddenly at peace. No matter what I would be able to handle whatever God placed before me. That I was confident of. Then came the Mother's Day that I finally got to stand up and get the applause at church as a woman of great worth that day. Wow! My heart was so pouring over with love as a new mom, but it was also tearing apart for those I knew who wanted nothing more than to stand and claim they too were worthy yet their hands were still empty. Oh, how I never forget being one of the forgotten. I pray I never do. You see, Mother's Day can be quite the bittersweet day for many of us. While we want to honor those who raised us and to be blessed by our own children honoring us, there are those who long to do both and can't for various reasons. So, I guess I am asking God to place those people on my heart so that I can reach out to them and let them know they are worthy and to stand with pride for the gift they have been given in Christ.

A Heart for God

There are many times I lay down at night and thank God for the opportunity to shape my girls hearts that day. Last night was no different. As we are winding down our school year, I am noticing some interesting struggles. Yesterday was no different. I can't really go into details as I don't know who all reads this blog and I do not desire to defame or gossip about anyone through this blog. However, I will say this, after a very long two weeks, some heart issues flared up yesterday between one of my girls and some friends from co-op. It was a big enough issue to bring parents into it and I knew if we did not flush it out, it will change the group.

I think the part that makes my heart sick still, it involved a group picking on another child and my child, who is one that gets picked on usually, was involved with the group this time. Oh, how my heart sank before my anger rose. I don't care if my child ever gets to be part of the "in" crowd. I am raising my girls to not be really. I tell them to look around them, find the person sitting alone and join them. They are the ones that need a friend. Look at the people that society say are not worthy and join them. They are the ones that need to see a heart for God.

The rest of the day was spent with this daughter and I really digging into scripture and talking as she did whatever I did. She spent the day at my side as I decided hers was a training issue as well as a heart issue. I think she didn't know what to say but she knew she was glad it wasn't her this time. So instead of having the words to say, the courage to say it, she joined. We have gone over the words now. Practice the scenarios and is it bad that I am praying for another opportunity for her to use what we worked on all day?! More than riches, good grades, great talent, beauty, more than anything else in this world, I pray my girls will both have a heart for God and shine for Him. Days like yesterday remind me that heart takes time and we have to dig out the yucko in order fill it with that kind of love. It does not just happen.If I teach them all the academic stuff and assume they will grow spiritually on their own, at their own pace, I am doing them a great disservice. I am thankful to have had this opportunity, no matter how ouchy for both of us. I am eager to see her shine for Jesus the next time this happens.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Sweet Walk Down Memory Lane

Some people are celebrating Cinco de Mayo today, but for us this day has other special meaning. Nineteen years ago today, I walked down the aisle to begin the journey with the man I love. I must say that at that time, I had no idea some of adventures God would take us on, but I knew with this man, I could make it through anything. And that we have! I joke with Matt that we certainly do not look like the same baby-faced kids in our wedding pictures, but many things are still the same:Our wedding 5/5/91

~He still has the most generous heart I have ever seen. He gives so much to others and he finds ways to serve using his dentistry. what a gift!

~his servant's heart is apparent. He hops up to help whomever is in need. He does not complain about picking up stuff from the store...no matter what it is! He is there when any of us are in need.

~His smile still melts my heart! Gracious that grin is dangerous!

~His eyes make my heart flutter. I love that is still true!

~That man can make me laugh like no one else can!

~His sweet passion for his baby girls may not have been evident back then, but his love of children has always been there and that was one reason I knew he was a keeper! :)

~He loves me unconditionally, even when I can't do the same for myself. That inspires me to do the things God has intended me to do even when I don't see the skills needed to handle the task. Matt does and he just spurs me on. Love that support.

~Most of all, his seeking God's will for his life has not changed. We may have drifted off course from time to time, but I see God's hand on this man and I always have. Now more than ever, I see the spiritual leader of our home rising up to the task at hand in leading these girls to Jesus.

19 years...can you tell any difference? LOL!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sink Verses

awake sink verses
My blog buddy, Jenilee, has a great idea of posting scriptures that you have around your house to encourage you or to meditate on as you go about your day. For her, the location is the kitchen sink. For me, I have index cards taped all over my house as gentle reminders of what I need to be working on or what I need to recall. Here are a few:
Philippians 2:14
Do everything without complaining or arguing.
(posted by my sink...great reminder for doing daily chores without whining!)
Jeremiah 6:16
Ask where the good way is and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.
(posted by the garage door as a reminder to "walk" the good way as we leave the house)
Hosea 14:9
The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.
(posted by the computer, an area of tempation for many)
Micah 7:18b
You (God) do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.
(by mirror so I can see if my face shows delight in mercy)
2 Cor. 12:9b
My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.
(posted by my bed to remind each morning and at night that God is all I need)
Ephesians 4:29
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpfl for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
(posted by the telephone to remind us what kind of speech we need to use)
I have others, but will save those for another day. I just want to encourage all of you to claim some scriptures for your walls, whether you post it on index cards or paint it on like my dear friend, Lainie. Having God's Word on your walls, makes it come alive in your home. I can't wait to see what others have posted. God's Word is so rich.
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