Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Big Question

With it being Halloween today, I thought I would repost how our family handles this day that causes many Christians much debate~
The Girls busy baking cookies and packaging them up.

I love fall in Indiana! It is probably my favorite season, but I am one of those weird women who enjoys all four seasons. So while I adore fall colors, raking leaves and crunching through them with my girls, one thing I do not enjoy about this season is the inevitable discussion on halloween. I have found over the years that fellow Christians are the most opinionated about this topic and are not afraid to speak up if they are doing something you don't or vice versa. I love how some of my friends have tackled this day in their homes. One friend has renamed it calling it "HallowHim" and hosts a festival for her children's friends at their home. They do dress up but with no scary outfits. They play Christian music, have a dvd playing, games, candy. All to grab back a night that was intended for evil.

The kids with my grandma for her last "Dress up/Cookie Night"

Another friend dresses their kids up in Bible character costumes and spreads the Good News that way. I see that as a great witness when the kids share who they are dressed up as to their friends.


We choose to not participate in the halloween typical festivities for various reasons which are between us and God, however, I can tell you this...a long time ago, a dear friend of mine and I were discussing the fact that we did not want to keep taking away these childhood activities without replacing it with something equally fun for the kids. We feared our kids would resent that one day. Putting our heads together, we came up with the heart behind Halloween was greed..."how much candy can I get" or at least it was for us as kids. So the opposite heart would be to give. So we brainstormed ways to give on this day. What we came up with was renamed "Dress up Cookie Night" by the kids. The kids all help us bake cookies the week up to halloween and we put them in baggies with a scripture greeting on the baggie. We let the kids dress up in outfits we have in our own dress up boxes before heading to the area nursing homes. We pass out cookies to the tenants who are forgotten much of the year. So what was intended to focus on getting and on children, we managed to flip for just the opposite...focus on the elderly getting. Our kids love this tradition! They can't wait for it and plan their outfits well in advance each year even at the ages they are now.


I guess I am posting this not to shine a spotlight on our family's tradition but on the fact, as Christians, we have choices. Each family has to decide how they want to handle these days. That decision should be between them and God and not be based on feeling inadequate, judged or pressured into doing it the way another family does. If we make sisters and brothers in Christ feel judged, how in the world do we think we make the non-Christians feel? One thing I know for sure, no matter how you decide to handle this day, this day will never be won back for Christ as long as we are judging others way of celebrating it or not.

P.S. We started this in 2002 before digital cameras entered our home...I am so trying to figure out a way to upload those precious pictures as they are just way too cute!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Habits are Hard to Break...or Start!

I have been trying to change some bad habits lately and replace them with healthier ones in effort to be a healthier momma! Man, is that ever tough to do. We sure do get set into a routine of how things run around our homes pretty quickly and then it is just tough to break the cycle in our homes as well as in our minds. So, a friend of mine has offered to help keep each other in check that we are starting our days off with quiet time and exercise. I am struggling to get out of bed! I love this friend's willingness to get up and text me as accountability. We have both had days we struggle so it is nice to know we are not alone.

After getting going though, I do find I am a more focused momma and a softer spoken one as well. So far, week two, no weight loss...sad reality to my female issues...I just don't lose weight easily...however, that will not deter my working to be making healthier choices. I believe if I keep going, God will bless my efforts with the weight coming off but as of yet, not so much, which some days makes me so frustrated. Regardless, I am praying that I can be diligent in these new plans and that in a few months, I will be able to write that I have a new habit I need to get off here and get busy!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's a BIG Day!

To some people, today feels no differently than yesterday. They will awaken to the same morning routine, head off to their various tasks/jobs of the day and not give it another thought. However, in our home, today is a BIG day. Today is Bean's Adoption Day, which is the day when we walked into a court room 10 years ago and stood before a judge stating what we had already committed to the first time we laid eyes on our girl...that we would be her forever family! That day cemented on paper what we knew earlier and had thanked God for each was His completion of our family.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Bean at age 4. Way too fun!

So, in honor of the way God chose to bring our family together, we do celebrate Adoption Day with our girls. We allow them to choose what they want to do, within reason. Some years we go ice skating, some years it is a movie, some it is play at a park with a couple friends. Whatever they decide, we always do it with all four of us together since that is what this day really celebrates....the day we all became "The Miller's". I am not sure what Bean has decided she wants to do and we do have school, dance to contend with but I am sure whatever it is, it will be fun! I am so thankful for being given the gift of this child in my life and the honor of being her mommy...forever! What a precious honor! :) Love ya, Bean! Happy Adoption Day!

This is another favorite after she lost her first tooth. Look at those curls! :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Doing Life Together

Several years ago, we started this small group through our church that, at the time, consisted of three couples. One couple had three children and were expecting their fourth. Another couple had no children that we knew of and then there was us, who had the two girls. At that time, my girls were 2 and 5...I think that is right. Anyway, what I didn't know then that I know now is that the love we shared in that little group would stick with me through some of the toughest days for all of us and also through the most joyous of days to come.

Both of these couples have since moved away. One is within an hour and the other is two hours away. Yet that does not stop the phone calls, texts, emails from coming. These couples will remain our strong faith friends as we walk through life. They know our hearts. They share our pain. They know our joys. We know theirs and share in them with them. Distance has not taken away that feeling of sharing life together and what a joy to know that is true. True, it is not the same as when we all lived so close together, yet it is sweeter now because now there are years of life shared and with that comes wisdom and comfort.

We just spent the day with one of the families mentioned above yesterday. The couple who we thought had no children. We later found out they not only had a child, but that he was with the Lord now. The pain of watching them struggle to conceive again and carry a baby to term was truly painful to walk through with them, yet yesterday as I sat by and watched their now 6 year old daughter be baptized, well, tears of joy! I remember being at the hospital holding her and her little sister and now they are the ages of my girls when we started this group.

What a blessing to have been given this group years ago. Little did I know then, that these couples would be in our life forever. I am so grateful that God lead each of us to that small group and that we all stayed and did not let first impressions give way to letting God move. :) Love ya guys!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Grand Canyon Adventure 2010

Last Sunday, a group of men from our church, including our pastor, took off on an adventure of a lifetime. They had decided they didn't just want to hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim like other people do. They needed to do that in one day! No matter how crazy it sounded to anyone who heard what they were doing, they all were determined they were going to accomplish this quest. Their first leg of the trip was to fly to Vegas, get vans and head to Bryce Canyon, where they stayed in the only hotel of the trip. The next day, the hiked in Bryce Canyon.
Bryce Canyon

After hiking there for two days, they moved their camp to Grand Canyon. They camped on the north rim the first night.

The next day, they awoke early (4AM) and headed out for their big adventure. Thirteen of the fifteen headed down into the canyon while two of the guys took down the camp and moved it to the south rim where the men would join them later that night.

Matt at the bottom of the canyon at Phantom Ranch

Matt thought this was cool. It was hanging outside on the gift shop wall.

The men all finished their jaunt and without great injury. Sure they had some blisters, chaffing, sore legs but no one had to be taken away on a stretcher! I know for Matt this was a great goal he had set before him and to see it completed was very fulfilling. While they all finished, no injuries and great times by all, they all have said they would never do that again! It was the toughest thing they have ever done.

Guys in our small group (Matt in blue shirt)

Euchre buddies

Over all, I think they all would say this was a great adventure. I am thrilled to have my man back home with me. He has had so many stories to tell and pictures to share that he is like a kid in a candy store trying to decide what to share next! Why do I enjoy having my man make these trips? Well, send your man on a trip with the guys and find out!!! ;)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Studs of the Canyon

Matt and his hiking buddies just returned from their big venture to hike rim to rim of the Grand Canyon in a day. They accomplished this task, which is amazingly tough. Now that he is home, I am enjoying hearing all the stories and seeing all the pictures. This one is one I personally enjoy...his friend sent it to us. It is three of the 13 hikers showing their "guns". Gotta love it!

Matt (in red) and his buddies, Chuck and Bill showing their guns. They are the studs of the Canyon indeed! :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sweet Talking Time

Recently, I was blessed to get to take my 13 year old daughter, Doodle, away for some much needed Mom/Daughter fun. On the agenda this trip was the much needed purity talk. So I purchased the Passport 2 Purity kit from Family Life before leaving. I knew some of the information in this kit would really not bless my daughter as she is extremely innocent by choice. When she hears things that make her uncomfortable, she leaves the room. When cousins speak of boyfriends/girlfriends, she really gets uncomfortable and comes to sit with me. She is not at all interested in boys other than friends, and I am so fine with that. So, sitting down with Mom to discuss just how it all fits together was not on her agenda of fun for sure, however, it was time. We have always talked about God's design for sex, pregnancy and their changing bodies at age appropriate levels dependent on interest. I figured they would ask when they are ready to hear the answer. However, at 13, I knew it was time to force the issue and make sure she knew all the facts so she could protect herself as well as make decisions for her future with boys. Since this was so shocking, I knew I needed to find something to make her feel safe, comfortable and a kid still, so we started off the weekend together going to see Mary Poppins on stage and boy, did it not disappoint at all! Great show!

My "practically perfect" Doodle
Upon arrival at the hotel, Doodle was so excited to see we had a King-size bed that she ran and jumped on it face-first. It reminded me of Princess Diaries! Sweet!
Excitement over the big bed!
Before we could go shopping, which was the fun part of our weekend, we listened to some cd's and talk through what was said. After listening to two of them, we decided to head shopping. Doodle ran to the restroom really quickly before leaving. When she came out, she said," This is the hotel we are suppose to be at, Mom. All the toiletries are named Purity!" I had to see it myself. Cracked us up that God would be so cool!
God is so cool...Pure inside and out! :)
One of the sweet moments was giving Doodle her new Bible. Being 13 has it's perks! She has a beautiful new NIV study Bible with her name engraved. It is sweet to see her more excited about a new Bible than new clothes, even at 13! What a sweet spirit!

Doodle showing off her new Bible and digging into it the next morning.

The best part of this weekend had to be the date with Daddy. We packed up and headed out to meet our guy. True to character, Matt was standing by the restaraunt of our choice with a single rose for his girl. He looked so sweet and maybe a bit scared. I think they both worried that now that she knew all about those "yucky" boys, she would somehow feel odd around Daddy or that for her Daddy would treat her differently. I think all were relieved to see that it was just the same. :)

Doodle and Daddy on our special date.

At our dinner, we discussed the plans we have chosen for our girls when it comes to dating and such with Doodle and listened to her great ideas and heart on the same topics. I am thrilled to see that she has such a great heart on this topic and knows which friends are going to help her keep this goal of purity. I am just thankful that my girl has set a great plan in motion, respects our guidelines and desires to seek after God's plan for dating and marriage. I am also a tad bit biased, but I think her date was just too stinkin' cute! :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Being a Man!

My sweet man is on an adventure of a lifetime with a group of 12 men from our church, including our pastor who kind of spear-headed this entire adventure. Several months ago, our pastor threw down a challenge to various guys to go to the Grand Canyon and hike from rim to rim in a day. It is said it can't be done, but they know it can. They have a plan and are prepared to conquer the beast tomorrow. Yesterday and today they are hiking in Bryce Canyon to prepare for the big adventure tomorrow. The pictures he has sent have been gorgeous and the sound of his voice is full of a little boy seeing presents around the tree on Christmas!

With this journey I have found it amazing how many people, women especially, immediately comment on my husband's trip as "ridiculous, irresponsible, childish, selfish, immature,crazy", to name a few. I think I have probably thought some of those words myself throughout the planning process, yet God has been good to me to never allow me to speak those words to my man as he prepared to leave. That is one thing I have learned over 19 years of marriage....even when I think what my man is doing is the silliest thing on earth, if he is passionate about it, keep silent, take my concerns to God and wait. Sometimes, those passions dwindle and I see that God took care of that one. Other times, like this trip, I see God softening my heart and letting me know He is in control. Regardless, at least there was no belittling of my man to where he feels disrespected in his own home.

The comments other women have given to me makes me wonder if they or I fully understand what it means to be a man of God? I fully believe these testosterone trips are good for my man. I see a change in him when he returns. Whether it be hammering a roof on with a friend, dirt bike riding, scuba diving or trekking through the Grand Canyon, he needs times to put off the worries of the world, which for a guy is a lot, and just grunt, scratch, play. Ha! When he returns, I get the joy of seeing God's work in his life/heart and the fruit of that is I get a better husband/dad. So it is a win/win for all of us. When we, as wives, belittle what God has put in their get out in nature, build things, hunt, hike, go fast, etc, we take away a part of their manhood. I don't want to be married to a girly man. I LOVE that my guy is all guy and needs these outings. I challenge all of us wives to hold our tongues when our guys are doing something we feel is just crazy....unless we are willing to be called the same as we head to the crafting corner. As much as we need to do our own thing from time to time in order to feel refreshed, we need to honor how God created our men to be just that...MEN!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Oops! Forgot One!

In our family, when it is your birthday you get breakfast in bed, no chores and you can pick what you want for dinner. Doodle was sick on her birthday so she did not get her birthday dinner which I told her I had chosen for her this year since she was turning 13. I wanted to take her to somewhere she would love but it be a bit more grown up. So once she was feeling better, we made reservations and got dressed up to go to The Melting Pot, a restaurant that specializes in fondue. Yum!
Doodle and Daddy
Beanie and Mommy
We knew she would love the chocolate fondue.....and by the look on her face, we were correct!

Doodle's Birthday Celebrations Galore!!!

As you all know, Doodle turned 13 at the end of August. Sadly, she got sick on her birthday so we were not able to have her family celebration nor her friend sleepover that weekend. On her actual birthday, she did wake up to surprise us for her breakfast in bed....She was already completely dressed and had put on my make up just to shock us when we pulled back the covers! That girl makes me laugh. Again, her gift from us did not come in until a few days later. Talk about bad timing!!! Anyway, we were all very excited to see the expression on her face as she opened the gift.....

Doodle opens our gift....and is thrilled to be the owner of an Ipod Touch

She also celebrated at the lake house with Matt's family....notice that cake.
And we celebrated all August birthdays with my family....notice that cake...hmm...which one did I have a friend make who bakes cakes as a business...can't tell. :)
Finally, we ended the parties with her slumber party at the lake house with her friends from our co-op. It was a sweet night of giggles and lots of nail polish. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed these girls. What a blessing to say I enjoyed hanging out with a group of teenagers!

The girls from co-op
Nail salon silliness

Getting ready to tube...
and cake time

What a blessing it is to have sweet girls surrounding my girl. :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Menu Plan Monday!

What a precious weekend we had together! I will post more about that topic later this week. For now, I need to focus on the week at hand. Matt will be heading out on his big trip to the Grand Canyon on Sunday after church. So this week will be preparing him for that trip as well as spending much needed time together before he heads out. With that in mind we are keeping things simple with meals:

Monday: (BSF) Matt and girls eat on road, I eat leftovers at home

Tuesday: (dance) White bean chicken chili, chips and salsa

Wednesday: Cheesy Italian chicken, noodles, veggies

Thursday: (dance) turkey burgers, baked beans, salad

Friday: Chicken and noodles, mashed potato, steamed veggies

Saturday: pork chops, rice pilaf, veggies

Sunday: left overs

Blog Widget by LinkWithin