Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Owen Speaks

Last week, Owen approached the fine young age of 19 months. He has been talking for a while, saying sentences here and there. I will say now that it is official: Owen is talking. I can no longer keep up with all the new verbiage he is saying that we understand. His discovery of his communication skills is priceless! Yesterday while I was putting Madelyn down for her nap, I heard Owen in the kitchen saying, "Table! Table!" Then I heard his little feet shuffle into the hallway and soon he was by my side, pointing to the kitchen and saying, "Table!" I followed him to the kitchen to find our kitty, Olive, on the table as he excitedly exclaimed, "Kitty (almost inaudible "on") table!!!" I then said to Owen, "Oh! The kitty is on the table!" He grinned, nodded, did a little dance with his feet and clapped his hands at the discovery that I had understood what he was communicating. It melted my heart!

Friday, November 30, 2012


Thankfulness Day 30

Today I am thankful for the opportunity to share my thoughts through blogging. Especially in the last few days, it has been very helpful to work through my grief over my grandma in this way. I forgot how much I enjoy writing! Who knows? After a whole month of blogging, perhaps I will blog more often.

My Parents

November 29th

Thankfulness Day 29
A family photo circa 1998 or 1999.  I think this is probably "take 15" of the photo, so we aren't smiling that big! :)
(l-r: Michael, Dad, Grandpa, Mom, Grandma, Timmy, Jenni, Me)
Today my grandma passed away.  I got the call first thing in the morning, so Troy and I headed out with the kids on a sad, cloudy, cold morning to try and cheer my parents up.  My dad is the only child, so there are no brother or sisters to help out during this difficult time.  My sister helped for years, which I am sure my dad is very thankful for.  In her last days, my grandma was taken care of by my parents  and my dad's cousin, Jody.  I remember the last time I saw my grandma comatose in her hospital bed in the middle of the living room, my mom was constantly by her side in efforts to keep her comfortable in her last hours.  She would take her temperature (she would run a fever often in the last few days), then run to the kitchen, get a fresh tub of cool water and washcloth  and gently dab the washcloth on my grandma's face, arms, and legs, while saying, "There you go, Sweetie."  Then, when she was finished, she would gently brush back my grandma's hair, kiss her forehead, and whisper, "I love you, Teddy."

My parents moved into my grandma's house when my sister moved out to Washington.  My sister had diligently taken care of my grandma for a while, and so it was just natural for my parents to take over full time, as my grandma was progressing in her Alzheimer's.  My dad took her to many doctor's appointments and took over her finances.  He has been her main "handy-man" since my grandpa's death seven years ago, taking care of things my grandpa would have.  Now everything seems to rest on my parent's shoulders.  My grandma's house---from what to do with all her belongings to actually figuring out what to do with her home.  Her finances---from her Social Security checks being stopped to her newspaper being cancelled.  All while in the process of grieving.  My dad said last night that it will be weird.  He has no family left (of course he has us, but we know what he meant) and the house will be empty.   It is weird.  I stood in the empty house last night as everyone went outside when we were leaving.  We will no longer get to hear the sound of the Angel game on the TV.  No soft pitter-patter of my grandma using her walker to get around the house.  I won't hear my grandma coming into the kitchen asking for cookies.  Or those sounds from long ago that I remember...the dripping of the coffee pot every morning, the timer for dinner every evening, the creaking of my grandparent's Lazy-Boys as they put the footrests up, or the shushing if we ran through the house too loud.  As I stood in the empty house, the quiet grew loud.  With a heavy sigh and a heavy heart, I joined the others outside.

Earlier in the evening, my mom asked me to help her get together my grandma's clothes for her burial.  It was hard for both of us.  We wept in my grandma's walk-in closet as we reminisced over her favorite shirts...all the same, just in different colors, and the dress my grandma looked so pretty in that she wore to Michael's wedding.  I was glad I was able to help my mom with that.

Even though this was and is an extremely hard thing to go through, I have been blessed to see how my parents cared for my grandma in her last days, last hours, and even after her passing.  I am thankful for my parents and the diligence, patience, love, and endurance Christ gave them in such a difficult time.  His grace is truly sufficient.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas Cheer

Thankfulness Day 28
Today was a hard, slow day. After seeing my grandma last night perhaps for the last time, I was emotionally and physically exhausted. We decided to go ahead and get our Christmas tree tonight to try and bring some cheer into our house. After putting our perfectly shaped tree up and carefully arranging the strands of 1,100 lights and having my two helpers (Troy and Jackson) help decorate the tree, I felt a little better. Call me silly, but today, I am thankful for Christmas cheer. It helped distract from a not-so-cheerful situation.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sweet Last Memories

Thankfulness Day 27
My Grandma Teddy holds Owen several month ago.
My mom told me today that my Grandma Teddy is now in a full coma and that she only has a few days left.  My heart is grieving and broken.  I suppose that is normal.  We (grandchildren) spent a lot of time with our grandparents growing up.  We have so many memories.

In recent years, mainly, after growing up having kids, I haven't visited like I used to (every school break, pretty much, for a week at a time).  My siblings and I would take turns going to each grandparent or aunt's house.  I am so thankful for all that time I got to spend with my grandparents, and I know that growing up that close to grandparents isn't always the case.

I was able to visit my grandma with the kids several times just recently because I wanted her to remember us as long as possible (she has Alzheimer's).  On one of those visits, Madelyn found a kitty stuffed animal in a closet and ran and showed it to my grandma.  My grandma grinned and said, "Do you want it?"  Madelyn hugged the kitty tight and nodded "Yes."  My grandma then gleefully grinned, as she enjoyed giving such a sweet gift.  Madelyn now carries around and sleeps with that kitty.  At the end of our last visit, less than two weeks ago, the kids and I were giving her hugs goodbye and as I held Owen up to her, Owen reached out and gave her a kiss.  He saw that it pleased her and gave her another one, and another one, and another one.  That affection from her great grandson left her with a sweet, satisfied smile on her face.  Those are my last memories of her.  I am thankful for those last sweet memories of my grandma.

As I go see her today, in her comatose state, I want to remember her just as I saw her last.  It is never easy to see someone so close to death, especially a loved one.  Please keep my family in prayer, specifically my dad, who, being an only child, faces loosing his only parent left.  He is having a hard time, understandably.  Pray that he his grief is overwhelmed by Christ's sweet comfort.  Please pray for my sister as well.  She spent many of the last several years living with and taking care of my grandma.  She moved up to Washington for a new job in September and needs to get down to see my grandma.  Pray that the company she works for is gracious and that the funds to travel become available.  And just for the entire family in general.  I'm sure you know.  Death is never easy.

My Beautiful Little Girl

November 26th
Thankfulness Day 26
Today I am thankful for my spunky, silly, sensitive, sweet, and sour little girl.  Never did I imagine that God would bless me with such a beautiful little girl!  She happens to be 39 months old today.  I know---it sounds silly in months, but it goes to show how fast time goes!  I remember holding her in my arms for the first time and that seems like just yesterday---not 39 months ago!  She is a girly girl who loves kitties, Cinderella, pink, purple, jewelry, dresses, and all things pretty.  When she shows me her sweet side, her warm, happy blue eyes and sweet smile bring warmth to my heart.  She is learning to show this side to other people, but that is coming slowly.  :)  I love her so very, very much and I am so thankful God gave me the opportunity to be her mother, and I want to remember that, whether she is being sweet or sour!

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Grandma Teddy

November 25
Thanksfulness Day 25

A few days ago,  my Grandma Teddy suffered a stroke.  She was already in poor health due to Alzheimer's, COPD, and some heart issues.  She is now on hospice and is in a hospital bed at home.  In these times, when her time left is so short, sadness fills my heart.  It seems she is no longer aware of who anyone is.  My parents and the hospice aides and nurses are trying to keep her comfortable.  Death is never an easy thing.  I don't want her to suffer.  At the same time, it is hard to accept loss.  I know I won't loose all the memories I made with her...the many games of Chinese Checkers played, the times she would paint my nails a pretty pail pink, when she took me to get my ears pierced, the way she loved and took care of my grandpa till the very end, when she would bring us candy bars in her purse, the way she gave Troy and I a silly, sly grin the entire visit the first time she met him, the way she gleefully cheered when she first held each of her great-grand children for the first time, and even the time she cut my bangs by putting tape across my forehead.  I cherish all those memories, but they are so hard to swallow right now.  I am so thankful for my Grandma Teddy and for all the memories of her I have been blessed with.  I pray that God gives her great comfort over these last few days and that she won't have to suffer much.  

In these last few weeks, I have brought the kids to visit their GG Teddy a few times and she loved watching them play.  I'm glad I did that and I only wish I did it more often.

Dates with my Hubby!

November 24
Thankfulness Day 24

Today Michael and Genevieve so kindly watched our kids so Troy and I could go out to breakfast.  I am thankful that I still get to date my husband!  It has been such a privilege to get to know him over the years as he has become a husband to me, and a father to my three children.  I still love finding out new things about him, even though I know so much already.  I love the times when we get to hold each other's hands!   That does not happen when we are out with kids, naturally! :)  I am thankful for the people (you know who you are!) who watch out kids so Troy and I can date!

Saved, not by works!

November 23rd
Thankfulness Day 23
The Salt Lake Temple
 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9

Today I am so very thankful, beyond words, really, that Christ has given me the gift of salvation.  I am so thankful that I don't need to carry around a burden to do good works so I can earn my spot in heaven.  We visited the Temple Square in Salt Lake City today because they turned the Christmas lights on there this evening.  I must say I was oddly depressed.  My heart ached for the LDS.  There were seemingly millions of tiny, festive lights strung on all the trees on the Temple Square grounds surround the temple.  There was a beautiful reflection pool with a nativity scene in the middle of it.  There was a narrator over a loud speaker narrating the story of Christ's birth in a light show.  They are telling the story of Christ's birth and trying to emphasize the importance of it.  However, they don't believe the coming, death, and resurrection of Christ fully save them.  They do work to earn their salvation, among other things. The people who take part in the LDS religion are hard workers.  You can tell.  Their temple and churches are beautifully built and kept.  Their Elders and Missionaries are out in large numbers sharing their religion.  But, can their work here on earth save them from their sin and death or even earn them more in the life to come?  And if so, what purpose did Christ serve on the cross?  Oh!  If they only new the true Gospel story!  What a burden would be lifted!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Thankfulness Day 22
Today I am thankful for the privilege of going on a family vacation.  I love getting the chance to experience new things with my husband and children.  I love being able to spend 24/7 with them for several days in a row and getting a break from our regular routine.  I love make these precious memories together!

God's Glory Shown in His Creation

Thankfulness Day 21
Today, we went to Park City, Utah and on the way home we saw one the the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.  I am thankful that God displays His glory in creation for us to just get a small taste of.  Can you imagine, if earth is this beautiful now, how awesome heaven will be?!?!

My Twin Brother

Thankfulness Day 20
Call me sappy, but I am very thankful for my brother, Michael.  We shared a womb together, and even though I don't remember that part of our life, I think that definitely has something to do with the closeness I feel to him.  Growing up, we always finished each other's sentences and he defended me when he could, and visa versa.  We spent many afternoons together walking home, running from local bullies trying to steal our candy bars, playing foot wrestling on the couch (like arm wrestling with feet), and making up our own language.  And even though he now lives about 700 miles away (way better than the 1400 he was a few months back), when we get our families together, it is like no time has passed.  I am thankful that he has done well for himself, and most of all, that God has saved his soul and on top of that, provided for him a great wife, a beautiful little girl (and one more on the way), a new home in a gorgeous part of the country, and a good job.  It makes my heart sing to see theses good things happen to the brother I am so thankful for!

Time with Family

Thankfulness Day 19
Today I am thankful for time with family.  We get the opportunity to visit my brother, Michael and his wife, Genevieve, and their little daughter who is just Owen's age, in Utah for the week of Thanksgiving.  It is such sweet time whenever we get to spend time with them and I look forward to every minute of it!

My Kid's Smiles

Thankfulness Day 18
God gives us so much more than we deserve. My kids are so much of a blessing as it is, but every time my kids smile, that little blessing warms my heart. I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for these smiling faces and in awe of the God who made such beautiful, happy smiles!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Husband's Health

Thankfulness Day 17

Today I am thankful that God has been gracious to my husband in giving him perseverance and endurance to become a healthier man. He has lost 30 lbs, lowered his blood pressure, made a habit of exercise and eating healthy. Lord willing, we will grow old and healthy together! :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Children's Good Health

 Thankfulness Day 16

Yesterday the kids all saw their doctor for a check-up---Jackson for his five-year check-up, Madelyn for her 3-year check-up and Owen for his 18-month check-up.  They all are healthy kids!  I know that good health isn't a given.  I thank the Lord that He, for the time being, has blessed my children with good health!
Jackson covers his ears as Owen gets 5 shots.  They did them quick and Owen forgot about it in about 10 seconds, but they is never fun to watch or hear.
All the kids' percentiles.  Owen, for now, is pretty short.  No wonder his pants are too long! (Correction on the percentiles-  I just recalculated Owen's and Madelyn because they seemed slightly off.  Owen is in the 51 percentile in weight, not the 95th, and in the 14th percentile in length, not the 9th.  That makes more sense!  Madelyn's was slightly off.  She is in the 77th percentile for weight and the 55th for height.)

Cuddles on the Couch

Thankfulness Day 15
I love to get under the afghan blanket my grandma made for me and cuddle with the kids on the couch. I know these cuddles won't last forever, so I am very thankful for them and cherish them.  :)  I especially like when one of my children wake up and nestle their head on my shoulder.  Sweet moments.  I just can't get enough of them!

Our Kitties

Thankfulness Day 14
On a cold morning, there aren't too many things more pleasant than a warm, purring ball of fur tucked closely to your body.  Today, I am thankful for our kitties, Cassie and Olive.  They are both so sweet.  They are sweet and patient with our kids as well.  I couldn't imagine our household without them.  I thank God that He gives us small pleasures in life like having a companion and friend in the animal kingdom!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My 18-Month Old

Thankfulness Day 13

Today my little Owen is 18 months old.  EIGHTEEN MONTHS OLD!!!  My youngest.  My baby.  My last.  I knew it would go fast, but I didn't expect it would go this fast!

So here are a few things that he likes/loves/hates:

Owen's favorite food is ketchup.  It's not a "food," it's a condiment, you say?  Tell him that.  He also thinks ketchup is a hair gel and prefers to do his hair whenever he eats it.

He still loves his teddy bear.  Naturally, he calls it, bear!

He loves, loves, loves to drink, but hates, hates, hates milk!  He will drink water or apple juice-tinged water, but really nothing else.  I even tried vanilla almond milk with no prevail.

Owen loves sitting on the couch and watching Curious George with his brother and sister.

He loves his brother and sister.  They make him smile and laugh.  It is so sweet.

He loves splashing in the tub, even though his sister hates when he does it.  I think he likes to get her riled up sometimes!

Owen loves to run to the van when we are leaving like a big boy.  He doesn't want me to carry him!

He loves to climb and run.  Both of these things give him a lot of bumps and bruises on his head and legs!

Owen is a little cuddle bug.  I cherish this because I have a feeling this won't last!  He loves to cuddle when he is tired and is so good about giving hugs and kisses.  He has an extremely sweet and happy personality.

The words Owen likes to say are in another language for the most part, but he does say words here and there.  Night-night (nigh-nigh), bear, bye-bye, Mommy, Daddy, Poppy, Nonna, Ivy (I-eeee), Jackson (but I can only make it out sometimes), Madelyn, kitty, doggy, train, ball, please (peeese), bath,  cookie, train, and diaper are several of the words he says now.  Today he said his first (English) three-word sentence.  I asked him where his sippy cup was, and he shrugged his shoulderd and said, "I don't know," as clear as day.  :)  I wish I wasn't the only one there to see it!

Owen loves to wrestle with his daddy and brother and sister.  He has started to enjoy tickling his siblings as well.

He likes to rehearse what different animal sounds are as well as where all his body parts are.

He likes to sit on the hearth of the fireplace and "read" books.

Owen loves to be BUSY!!!

Well, after all that reflection on my little boy, I have to say that I am so thankful for my little Owen.  He is such a precious gift.  I can't imagine our family without him!  He has given us so many moments of joy and continuously pours out so much sweetness.  I love him so very much!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Freedom to Worship

Thankfulness Day 12

Yesterday our church observed the International Day of Prayer (IDOP) by gathering with a few other churches from the community and praying for the persecuted church throughout the world.  Specifically, we prayed for Turkey, Iran, and North Korea.  In these places, Christians, who are quite scarce, can't worship publicly without consequence.  They preach the Gospel knowing it may cost them their life.  They preach the Gospel knowing it could cause them torture and assault.  Despite the hatred that is shown towards Christians in those countries, Christians still seek to spread the Gospel of Christ.

A man from Turkey shares his testimony of his salvation and the beatings and torture that came along with it.
Now picture this.  I was in the IDOP service and the worship music started up.  It was loud.  Louder than I am used to.  I have to be honest, during the first song, I was somewhat distracted with a feeling of anxiety because it was so loud.  Perhaps it was the drums.  Perhaps it was the smoke machine.  Perhaps it was my pride.  Just because these folks were using a different and louder means to worship God, doesn't mean it was any lesser of a worship to God!  Right then and there, I was convicted.  My pride was pierced.  How could I be so critical of worship because it was loud???  I mean, these fellow Christians, my brothers and sisters in Christ in countries like Turkey, Iran, and North Korea can't worship like that!  I have a freedom to do just that in our country---and in a very safe place, for that matter.  So, today, and hopefully everyday, I am thankful for the freedom we have to worship God in this country.  I pray that I don't so easily take it for granted!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kindred Spirits

The Jacksons.  These boys play together like they have never been apart.  True Kindred Spirits, I think!
“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”  -Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables)

Thankfulness Day 11 

A Kindred Spirit  is a person whose interests or attitudes are similar to one's own (wikipedia).  I realize that these type of people to me are the friends who I don't see very often but when I do see them, it is as if no time has passed.  The time we do get to spend together goes by way too quickly.   They are encouraging, honest, and transparent.  They make you laugh and don't bring your spirits down.  I cherish those sort of friendships.  I am very thankful for the "Kindred Spirits" in my life.  We had the opportunity to spend time with a whole family of Kindred Spirits yesterday and I was so thankful for that time with them.  I only hope we can get together more often!

British Tea

Thankfulness Day 10

Sometimes I am just thankful for the simple things.  Every morning I wake up and put water on for tea. EVERY MORNING.  Some people LOVE coffee.  I LOVE tea.  But not just any tea.  No sir.  It can't be American tea.  No offense to those tea makers in America, but your tea just doesn't cut it.  It isn't strong.  It's not bold and rich in flavor.  It doesn't mix well with milk. Yes milk.  I choose to drink British tea, specifically PG Tips, and, if I can get ahold of it, Marks & Spencer Extra Strong Tea.  I add milk and a little bit of Truvia or PureVia and it's a little cuppa relaxation.  :)  I drink two cups and repeat in the afternoon when the younger kids are napping.  I simply enjoy it and am thankful for the British tea I drink and the British friends who have shown me the best way to drink a cup of tea.

Free LegoLand Tickets

Thankfulness Day 9

Today I am thankful for three free LegoLand tickets we received from our friends at church.  Jackson has wanted to go to LegoLand for a while now and asked to go for his 5th birthday.  At one point, I had no idea how we were going to afford 4 full-price tickets.  A friend at church gave us three they weren't going to use, and a family member purchased a discount ticket from AAA, and we were set to go, with no money out of our pocket!  Because of that, we were able to pay for a hotel to have a nice little family get-a-way.  What a blessing!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Good Friends & Family

A friend helped with a quick trip to the grocery store.  She even held Owen the whole time so we didn't have to get a big cart!
When I was without a husband, I had some family and a couple friends get me through the time without my helpmate.  Again, I know five days isn't really much for me to go without my hubby, but to me, never being apart from him for more than a day,  it still seemed like a lot.  I had good friends and some family come and visit, watch the kids so I could run errands, bring me a dinner, and even accompany the kids and I to Ikea and the grocery store.  I am thankful these friends and family who think of those little things that really matter.  You know who you are!  Thanks!  :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My 5-Year Old!

Thankfulness Day 7: My 5-Year Old!
Five years ago today, I gave birth to my first born son.  A first time mother can never guess how much her life will change at that moment.  Now, I can't imagine my life without him!  He brightens everyday with his smile and very social personality.   Like any five-year-old, he is very much into Legos.  He still loves to sleep with his stuffed Curious George and loves me to sing "Baby Mine" to him at bedtime, so I cherish that.  He has almost grown out of naps, but will take a nap once or twice a week.  Here are a few of his favorite things:
(Translation) Favorite color: blue; Favorite book: Lego Star Wars; Favorite Song: Star Wars (Luke Skywalker's Theme);  Favorite thing to do is: Spend time with cousins.

I am so thankful for Jackson.  God has been so gracious to him.  He is healthy, smart, and, as his mother, I am just going to say that he is a handsome boy!  He is inquisitive about Christ and he says he believes in him.  That is our hope!  This is the thing I want most for him.  He can grow up to be a teacher, doctor, zoologist, construction worker, or a bus driver.  To me, all those things seem so small compared to a relationship with Christ.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

God's Healing Hand

Thankfulness Day 6:  God's Healing Hand
When my kids scrape their knee or get a paper cut, I tell them, "God made our bodies to heal.  Your scrape/cut is starting to heal right now.  Isn't that wonderful?"  I sort of give them a toddler and preschool-friendly explanation of hemoglobins and all that.  But seriously, I am thankful that God created our bodies with the ability to heal.  I was able to take off Owen's steri-strips today and it was  an amazing difference from what his little head looked like 6 days ago!

It may seem like such a small thing, but to his mommy, that deep cut was a big deal 6 days ago!  And I am very thankful that God healed my little boy's head!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dirty Dishes

Say what?!?!  I'm thankful for dirty dishes???  When I woke up this morning, this is what I saw when I walked in the kitchen:
That's right.  I'm "coming clean" about my dirty dishes.  I have to say that this is THE thing that stresses me out.  Waking up to dirty dishes.  Yet, it happens often, no matter how hard I try to keep them out of the sink, they always seem to pile up.  Now, I'm sure you're wondering why I am thankful for these begrimed pieces of plastic and porcelain, especially when they are my arch nemesis of housework.

I am thankful for dirty dishes because it means that my family has filled their bellies with food, shared conversations, laughs and prayers over the kitchen table, and that I have spent time elsewhere, whether that be changing diapers, making paper airplanes, or helping the kids with a craft.

Don't get me wrong.  These dishes will get done.  They always do.  That's not to say that within less than an hour of having every single dish washed and put away, more are put into the sink.  That is exactly why I have to try and keep the mindset of where these dirty dishes come from---from all these little blessings I have running around the house.

With that said, I'd like to leave you with the poem I want to put over my kitchen sink:

It's perfect, isn't it?  Once I get Illustrator installed on my computer, I'll be right on making a colorful version of this for my kitchen!  Happy dish washing, everyone!  :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Church

This small building is a big part of my life, not because of the bricks that hold it up, but because of the people who gather there, and for the reason they gather there.
Today being a Sunday, the Lord's Day, how appropriate that I point out that I am very thankful for my church.  The people in it are like family.  It is such a privilege to gather with these people every week to worship God in song and hearing the preaching of God's word.  I have attended this church for 11 1/2 years now and have been a member for just over eight.  I remember the first Sunday I heard Pastor Robert preach.  WOW.  Ephesians had never seemed so clear.  I realized I had never heard preaching like that before.  It was full of grace and truth.  I am so thankful for such gifted preachers!  I know what it is like to go years without being edified with meaty portions of Gospel preaching.  It is an awesome blessing to get it every Sunday.  (That's not to say that it doesn't get interrupted at times by my "Sweet Kids.")    :)

I am also very thankful for the fact that I met my husband at this church.  It is a great thing to be spiritually like-minded in marriage!  That spiritual like-mindedness also reflects in the unity our church family has been blessed with.  I know this doesn't come naturally to a whole bunch of sinners who gather in one place once a week.  Surely, I have experienced churches that have had quite a bit of division.  It sure does make church life miserable.  I give God all the glory for this unity, for He truly has done a work in holding this body of believers (and sinners) together!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Sweet Kids

Today I am thankful for my kids.  They are all three so different and I love them all so very much!  Jackson is smart and witty and constantly contemplates the world around him. Madelyn is sweet, with a little sour and silly thrown in.  Owen is my happy little cuddle bug who wants so much to be like his brother and sister.  I thank the lord for these three blessings everyday.

Recently, Troy's show interviewed Keith and Kristyn Getty for Haven Today Radio and he brought home their new CD.  The third track on the CD is called A Mother's Prayer.  The lyrics are so precious because they explain exactly what I desire and pray for my children.  In the beginning of the song, I love the words...

"I pray your little frame grows strong
And that faith takes hold when you are young.
This is my prayer for you."

The song continues...

"This world is not as it should be,
But the Savior opens eyes to see
All that's beautiful and True.
Oh may His light fill are you are
And the jewel of wisdom crown your heart,
This is my prayer for you."

And towards the end of the song,

"May my mistakes not hinder you,
But His grace remain and guide you through.
This is my prayer for you."

The song says it all.  I love my kids so much and I want them to know the sweet love of Christ.  I thank God for the opportunity to love my kids by showing them the love of Christ.

Friday, November 2, 2012

My Hardworking Husband

When I met the man who was to become my husband, he desired to be in the position to support a wife and a family, even though he didn't yet have one.  I am so thankful for this mindset of his.  Now that he has a wife and a family, he works hard to meet our needs.  He has been blessed with a job that he really enjoys and is close to home, which we are so thankful for.  I am thankful that God has put it on my husband's heart to provide for his family and even more thankful that God has given him a means to do that.  He is such a talented and creative man and I love him so much!  He will be leaving on a business trip to Washington D.C. tonight and I will miss him so much!  We have never been apart for 2 days, much less 4 1/2!  I know I will survive, but I sure will miss him!  (So much I said it twice!)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Month of Thankfulness

In these days leading up to the wonderful American holiday of Thanksgiving, I'd like to take a little bit of time to express what I am thankful for.  I'm hoping I can do a post everyday or nearly everyday because surely, I am thankful for so many things!  So here it goes...

God's Sovereignty & Graciousness

I am so very thankful for God's sovereign reign over everything.  Of course, there are times in my life when I feel I have no control and that my world is falling apart at the seams.  It brings me great comfort to know that God is holding all those seams together.  Some of the things that happen from day to day don't make any sense to me, and, on the other hand, some things seem to make sense.  Either way, the God who created the universe is in control of it all---even the "little things."  Wow.
Not only is He the all-knowing, all-powerful God, He also is so very gracious.  For example, yesterday, as I was busy prepping for our church's Reformation Night event, Owen fell off the kitchen bench and split his forehead open to the bone.  Blood was squirting, yes, squirting everywhere and I immediately knew no bandaid was going to fix this.  Panic struck as I reached for my phone and dialed Troy and called him five or six times before he picked up.  I quickly gathered extra clothes for Owen and changed my own (we were both bloody) and waited a couple minutes for Troy to arrive (while Owen screamed until a big lollipop I found in the pantry called him down).  In the meantime, Jackson and Madelyn calmly and quickly got themselves dressed (this never happens) and we all left for the doctor in no time at all.  In the end, it was a deep cut that needed several steri-strips and glue and Owen was (almost) as good as new.  When I got my thoughts together and knew my son would be fine, I began to think, very selfishly, WHY TODAY???  I am so busy today.  Why did this happen today?  And then it hit me.  If this happened just a few days from now, I couldn't have called Troy to help me get all three kids to the doctor so we could get Owen's head wound fixed up.  He would have been on a business trip across the country.  FORGIVE ME, LORD, I immediately prayed.  THANK YOU for being so gracious in your timing of this little mishap!  We are also so thankful it was just a bad cut.  No concussion.  No more injury.  Just a scary looking cut.  To quote my husband, "God is gracious.  Always."

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

Monday, October 8, 2012

God cares for the...Cats.

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 
  Matthew 6:25-26
Madelyn brushing her kitty one last time before she left for her new home.
This post, as are most of my posts, is way overdue.  Mid summer, we started noticing behavior in one of our cats that was most disturbing to our life and were told by the vet it was most likely because we had two other cats.  The vet told us that she would do better in a single-cat home.  I called the Humane Society and they told me that they would most likely have to put our cat, Abby, down because she would be considered "un-adoptable" because of her behavior issue.  This tore me up inside.  My kids LOVE this cat.  She was so sweet to them and always enjoyed their attention.  I called every "no-kill" shelter within our county and the three nearest counties.  Everyone said the same thing: they had too many cats!  It seemed like all hope was lost.  I was so stressed out.  My stomach was in knots about the thought of putting this kitty down.  My worries were even affecting me physically.  I was bringing these worries to God in prayer, yet, I don't know if I was really letting Him take the burden.

In her new book, Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, Sally Loyd-Jones writes about worry.  She says, "Worry is thinking we know better than God how something should go."  WOW!  Isn't that so true, yet, convicting?  This is a children's devotion, but it sure does a good job at speaking to adults!

In mid-August, I put a plea on Facebook for someone to take this kid-friendly cat.  It took a few days and a few phone calls, but a Facebook friend kindly offered to take our cat.  Madelyn's heart is still sad when she thinks of her kitty friend that is now with another family.  I remind her that the family is loving her and she is happy there.  The relief of our cat, Abby, finding a loving home was HUGE!  Oh!  How I wish I remembered how God cares for his it a bird or a cat!  How I wish I didn't so easily forget that He cares for ME!  He knew of the heavy burden on my heart for this cat!  Let us be more like the birds when it comes to our worries.  God always cares for His children!

(By the way, if you are interested in Sally's new book, Haven Today, the radio show my husband produces, is doing a series on it.  Please give it a listen! )

Monday, September 3, 2012

Troy turns 40!

A week before Madelyn turned 3, Troy turned 40.  He had a hard time deciding what he wanted to do to celebrate the beginning of his 4th decade.  So, two weeks before the big day, he decided on a party! (Yea for Pinterest!)  We had close friends and family come to celebrate with Troy, which was hard.  If he could, Troy would have invited a lot more!  Nevertheless, he had a blast!  Here are some highlights of his party and his birthday!
The chalkboard has been one of my best purchase out of the Target dollar section.
 One request of his was bottled know...the Mexican ones with the real sugar!
 A movie themed seemed to be fitting for Troy, so behold the "backyard film theme!"
 Striped bunting and hanging mason jars.  
 Troy's mom was kind and rented a popcorn machine for the party.  We were so glad she did!  It was such a fun thing to have!
 Homemade yellow cake with chocolate frosting.
 Semi-homemade red velvet cupcakes. (I made the frosting and added some "special" ingredients to the mix!)  I made all the toppers in Adobe Illustrator.
 Getting ready for the showing of Pee Wee's Big Adventure!
 My 40-year-old hubby doesn't look 40, does he?
 About to blow out his candles!
 Us.  With Cake.
 One of my favorite scenes...
 Silly boys.
 Good friends.  Just missing Scott!
 I gave Troy a year of dates for his birthday!  Looking forward to going on them!
 In N' Out!

 We ended Troy's bday weekend with a trip to the park.  The kiddos enjoyed it...

...and so did Troy!