Weekend in Review

The weekend was a good one despite being busy. Saturday was a day spent at home cleaning in which I was able to get some things done that I have been wanting to do get done for a long time.   It feels really good.   Sunday, after visiting friends and family, we began a project that E received for Christmas. 

Homemade Root Beer

Sanitizing Bottles and Equipment

Waiting for the equipment to be sanitized

 I love E's smile in this picture (his daddy has a way of making him laugh)

 Adding the Root Beer ingredients 

Pouring Root Beer into the bottles

And now we wait! 

The kids had a great time making root beer, and we only had one spill, so over all it was a success!   

While tucking in the kids on Sunday night, I asked them what was the best part of their weekend, and after hearing their responses, I had to agree, visiting the new puppy was definitely the highlight.  

What a cutie he is! 


Five Minute Fridays: Tender

I love to step into their rooms when it is dark and they are asleep.   Their faces, so peaceful, so angelic.   I pray that the dreams are good as I kiss them one last time for the day.   With the morning comes new adventures, new ideas, and new experiences.    I enjoy seeing the world through their perspective, full of life, energy, and love.  While their spirits are free and vibrant, they are also tender.   That is the delicate balance that I fight to protect in them for as long as I can. 

Linking up with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Fridays.   Today's word, Tender.  


Thoughts on Thursday: Interests

I am in event planning mode, and I LOVE it!

List making

Our event is just around the corner, and I can hardly wait!!  I just had to go shopping today to get some of the supplies!

When I get into event planning mode, I often think that it would be an awesome profession to have.  To help people plan an event that would be everything they had dreamed it would be and pull all of the details together to make it happen.  

Obviously reality kicks in and I know that this job is not one that would work due to many factors in life, such as I already have a job I love, the city I live in would not support a business like that, and the schedule would be less than ideal for my family.  But, while I am planning and having a blast, I think that it would be something I would enjoy.

I am curious, do you have a hobby or interest that you really enjoy doing that in ideal conditions, you could see yourself doing as a profession?   Perhaps it is not a hobby or an interest, rather an occupation that you would enjoy doing if finances, education, time schedules, etc were not a factor.  Either way, I would love to hear about it.


Remembering the Promises

The voices began as whipsers when it happened.

"How could you do that?   It is not like you to....."  

I fought back telling myself that everyone has a bad day, or a moment when something just doesn't work right.   If only it had stopped there.   However,  last week was one of those weeks where anything and everything that could go wrong, did.   The voices grew louder each and every day until they were practically screaming at me.

"Really?  How could you do THAT?   What is WRONG with you?"  

The entire week the voices and accusations grew louder and my insecurities grew stronger.   Waves upon waves of guilt washed over me for everything and anything that was going on in, around, and yes, sometimes even near our family.   If it was not going right, it must be my fault because everything else seemed to be.  It was one of those weeks where I was was being pulled down by the undercurrent, and I wondered when I would be able to break free again. 

Saturday morning as I looked in the mirror while getting ready for the day, I began to tell myself the truths that I have been learning in the book we are reading for our small group.  

I am not a failure, I am loved by God. 
I have made mistakes, but I am forgiven by God.
I am not insignificant, I am chosen by God.
I am not abandoned, I am cherished by God. 

As I began to tell myself these things, the insecurities slowly receeded and I was beginnng to feel the firm soil beneath my feet again.   I continued telling myself these things and the voices began to quiet.

Now in the beginning of a new week, the voices still attempt to break through and the insecurities try to swell, but I push them back, remembering the promises that I am learning.   I also find comfort in the resources around me today.    In catching up with blog reading today, I ran across a post on Pete Wilson's blog.   In this post, he talks about his insecurities that he felt last week.  A pastor, author, and blogger (an he is pretty good at the writing end of the spectrum in my opinion, although I have never heard him speak.),  I am amazed that he is struggling with feeling inadequate like I am.   He mentions that insecuirty will "erode your effectiveness and leave you useless and powerless."  Yep, that sums up how I feel about my week last week.   But here is the best part, I absolutely love how he ends the post,

"Be yourself. Live your giftedness. Listen to the voice of 
your Creator which is the only voice that really matters 
and tell those other voices to shut up."

I will continue today what started yesterday, telling the other voices to be quiet because I am going to listen to the promises of my God and have a much better week because of it.  


Happy Birthday

I remember it like it was yesterday.   It was the first time we celebrated his birthday together.  We met for lunch which was one of our first dates outside of seeing each other at work.   He walked into the restaurant carrying a GAP bag with his "birthday gift to himself."   Besides liking him a great deal, I had no idea at the time how much I would come to love the person who was sitting across the table from me that day.  

Fifteen years later, on this day that celebrates him, I have so many things to be grateful for in this man.   As is the case with any relationship that spans the years, we have been through many ups and downs on this journey we call life.   Through it all, he has been a constant source of support, encouragement, strength, love, friendship, and joy, not only to me but also to our children.  

Happy Birthday to my Love.   As we celebrate you today, know that our lives are so much more rich and full because of who you are.  


Comforts of Life

This weekend has been full.  Full of the comforts of life.   We are relishing the down time that the new year has brought to our weekends.    We spent yesterday playing games with the kids, relaxing, reading, and visiting with friends and family.   

We also received our first letter of the new year from our Compassion children.   Angel wrote to thank us for his birthday gift, and also to let us know that his father is well, but that his mother is sick and needing prayer. 

Today's comforts include coming home from church to have a pajama day while baking bread.  

I received new bread pans from my sister for Christmas.  This was my first chance to use them.   The result....  picture perfect loaves!    


Thoughts from Thursday: On Color

This week I finished the book Life of Pi by Yann Martel.  It is a wonderful story about a zookeeper's son who is lost at sea for seven months with the company of a 450 Bengal Tiger in his lifeboat.   The journey that Pi goes on is one that I cannot imagine living through.  

Before leaving India with his family, Pi explores three different religions.   Born Hindu, he finds himself in a conversation with a Catholic priest and at another point with an Islamic baker.  These conversations impact Pi at great levels and have much influence in his life.  At the end of the book the following question is posed, which I have been processing this week.  

"Among Yann Martel's gifts is a rich descriptive palette.  Regarding religion, he observes the green elements that represent Islam and the orange tones of Hinduism.  What color would Christianity be, according to Pi's perspective?"    (Life of Pi, page 325)

Photo by Billy Alexander

What are your thoughts about the color of Christianity?  



This may not matter to many people, but to me it matters a lot.  

I love interacting with readers on my blog via comments.    The program I was using for comments was not functioning on all aspects and had a couple of glitches in it.   Unfortunately, I had to turn it off, and in doing so, I lost the comments on posts that had been posted while it was in place on my blog.   It was not an easy decision to make, but one that I felt I needed to make.   I am really sad that I have lost the comments that were made, but moving forward, I hope that I will not have to make a decision like that again. 

Words (3) Wednesday: Totter

As you probably know, going to the mailbox each day and looking in to see if there are any cream colored envelopes is something that I look forward to each day.   I absolutely LOVE to hear from our children around the world and see what they are up to or what they decided to write to us about.  Unfortunately, there have not been any letters for about a month, but as I look through my book, we did receive ten in December!  

Now, however, I am even more compelled to watch for the mail carrier to come to our mailbox, because I am waiting and watching for news concerning the children that live under our roof.   The past few weeks they have been completing some testing and additional assignments at school in preparation for next year's classes.    The results should be in our mailbox anytime now.

These extra assignments and tests will help us to determine the classes needed in order to keep them stimulated and challenged above and beyond the classroom curriculum.    This is new territory for Mark and I, and we have been on a huge learning curve.   Luckily, we have had wonderful support from friends and advisers at the school.  

But that is not the end of the wait and the wondering, we are waiting to see where E is going to attend school next year.   We have the opportunity to send him to a school that I think will be a wonderful fit for him to learn and excel, but to get in, the application has to go through the lottery process.   Talk about my sitting on pins and needles waiting!   That letter will come in February, so I know that the waiting process at the mailbox will continue for awhile longer.  

I can hardly believe we are getting ready for middle school next year!   I think of middle school and I remember how hard it was for me, it was such an awkward time in my life.   We moved when I was in seventh grade, which made things a little more difficult, but I think that either way, it would have been what it was and what I hear that it is from a few other people, difficult years. 

Obviously this will be our first go at being parents of a middle school student, and I hope that as we totter our way through the unknowns, that we can make it through it without too much damage.   I hope that I can remember to look back at my time in middle school and remember what it is like to be in the middle of it all, and be sympathetic, supporting, loving, and just be present in his life.

Linking up with Julie for Words (3) Wednesday today.



With Potential

As he walks out of his room, rubbing his eyes, I am positive he has grown another inch over night.   When he hugs me good morning, I notice that he now stands to my shoulder, how can that be?   I look at him and remember the first time we looked each other in the eyes just moments upon his entering the world.  

And now those eyes, still deep chocolate brown, look on with excitement and curiosity, as he watches the video cameras in action.   "Look Mom, see that!"   He cannot take his eyes off the camera.  His first time at a live filming event, and he is taking it all in. 

His passion these past months has been video making and editing.   He is working with the tools that we have, nothing special or expensive and doing a great job.   But this, this event, this place has everything that he has been reading about, dreaming about, and talking about.   

Perhaps I have a future film maker growing up next to me, perhaps this is a passing phase, either way, today as I was able to sit next to him and observe, I can't help but notice the young man that he is becoming.   He is a young man with a lot of potential, and I am lucky enough to watch him discover that potential. 


Five Minute Friday: Awake

Quiet Conversations

I lie awake in the dark before the house begins to stir, the only sound is the breathing of my husband next to me.   I lift him up in prayer this morning as his day at work is a full one of meetings and projects.    I think about my children in the rooms next to mine and what a gift they are in my life, a gift from above, and I thank God for them, for their laughter, their love, and the way they complete our family.    I pray that as they journey out into the world, beyond the protection of our home, that God would walk beside them and protect them, because he can be there, and I can't.  

As I begin the day and slowly everyone wakes up, I find comfort that while we go our separate ways, he will be with us.   I know that what ever our day has in store for us, he will be there guiding and supporting us. 

Not every morning allows for me to wake before the alarm and have these quiet conversations, often I find myself praying as I stumble out of bed jumping into the morning routine.   On the mornings that I do wake before the alarm, and the house is quiet, I cherish these conversations with Him. 

Linking up with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday, today's word is awake.  

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Most important: comment and encourage the person who linked up before you.


Thoughts from Thursday: On Reading

The reading list continues to grow....

... I better get busy. 

What are you reading at the moment? 


Words (3) : Perseverate

1. Talk about Words(3) Wednesday – connotations of the everyday
2. Write your post about the Wednesday word and then link to Words(3) Wednesday and use the thumbnail within your post. The post does not need to define the word, but can. It merely needs to use the word in the context in which it expresses where you are today in relation to that word - it is writing either with the word as theme or use the word as inspiration within a poem, short story, poem, etc.
3. Read and comment on the other posters to words(3) Wednesday and give them some positive, Wednesday vibe – because that is what we all need on a Wednesday. Make sure to link up so we can easily get to your post to give you some Wednesday comment love.

 Perseverate: V: to repeat something insistently or redundantly

 As if swimming upstream, I struggle out of the deep sleep that I am in when the alarm sounds this morning.  The bed is warm and we are snuggled in under the blankets.   Tempted to hit the snooze,  I roll out of bed and stumble around pulling things together in a stupor, wondering if it is really worth heading out on this dark morning so very early.

The place is brightly lit, but it does not help to pull me out of the fog that I find myself in this morning.  Lacing up my tennis shoes, I am desperately trying to clear my head and find some semblance of focus in order to make getting out of bed worth it.   Stepping onto the machine, I exhale deeply and begin pushing the pedals round and round and round.   Tell me again, why I am here?   I continue to push, continue the motions, forcing myself to move.   Seconds seem like hours and yet, the time has just begun.    Why am I here again?  Today is not going to be easy, I can already tell. 

Clinging desperately to the motivation that was in abundance yesterday, I finish the morning routine.  A sense of accomplishment settles in.   Accomplishment, the reward that now gets me through the easy days and especially the hard days.  As the muscles warm, the heart begins to accelerate,  and the lungs begin to demand for more oxygen, I am making a choice to invest in myself.  This is why I perseverate coming to the gym.   I am now ready to begin my day, giving focus to the matters at hand, with a little more self confidence because I have already accomplished something that is good. 

I am linking up with Julie for Words (3) Wednesday



Something is happening deep inside.   There is change, but it is good.   
New thought process, new feelings, new insights,    
now seems to be the optimal environment for change. 

Photo by Dariusz Dembinski

I embrace this time of discovery, because it is only one part of growth.   
The storms of life, that test strength and endurance are also a necessary part of growth.  

Photo Credit Diane Miller

But in the end, the two combined are what bring out 
the potential, 
the beauty, 

 Photo by Mark Kaske

and the strength.   


I Won't Give Up

I was gifted this song, and wanted to share.  


Prayer of My Heart

I first read this prayer in a book we studied in small group.    I was captivated and absorbed the words in, lifting them to heaven in prayer.     This week, the prayer resurfaced in my reading, so I wanted to share it with you.  

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. 


Five Minute Friday: Roar

There is constant noise in my mind.   Always processing, always thinking, always moving.    Often when my husband asks me what I am thinking, grabbing a single thought is difficult, and telling everything that is going on lends itself to a ten minute or longer explanation.   A couple of weeks ago for the first time I experienced total space and peace in my mind.   I relished in it.    I absorbed it.    I enjoyed it.   I have been working on controlling the thoughts that constantly roar though my mind to get back to that place of serenity.  

 Linking up with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday. 

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – don’t edit; don’t second-guess.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Must: leave a comment for the person who linked up before you – encouraging them in their writing!


Thoughts from Thursday

I wasn't able to get out and enjoy our record breaking temperatures today, 
however, I was able to stop and enjoy the beautiful sunset tonight.  

What is a thought from your Thursday? 


Words, Words, Words Wednesday: Manifest

Manifested Love

The setting sun coloring the sky brilliant colors
The night sky filled with the glitter of the stars
The peace of freshly fallen snow
The cleansing rain
The green plants beginning to come through the soil after the long winter
The reds, oranges, and yellow of autumn leaves against the bold blue sky

The encouraging smile when it is needed most
The embrace of a hug
The children's laughter ringing through the house
The note just to say "Hi."
The one who listens
The understanding of another

The way my hand fits so perfectly into his
The way we compliment each other

The connecting with another person on a deeper level
The bright eyes of a new discovery
The gift of life

Creator God of everything ruling above all, yet you love me in my imperfection and invite me into your throne room to spend eternity with you.    Of this I am sure, there is no greater love shown. 

Today I am linking up with Julie for Words, Words, Words Wednesday.  Today's word, Manifest. 

Rules of the game:
1. Talk about Words(3) Wednesday – connotations of the everyday
2. Write your post about the Wednesday word and then link to Words(3) Wednesday and use the thumbnail within your post. The post does not need to define the word, but can. It merely needs to use the word in the context in which it expresses where you are today in relation to that word - it is writing either with the word as theme or use the word as inspiration within a poem, short story, poem, etc.
3. Read and comment on the other posters to words(3) Wednesday and give them some positive, Wednesday vibe – because that is what we all need on a Wednesday.
Are you ready?


A New Prayer

Set in Yemen, this book is the story of Nujood, a ten year old who is forced into an arranged marriage with a man three times her age.    Even though law prohibits arranged marriage of girls this age, tradition and customs sometimes override those laws.   After they are married, her husband abuses her.   Determined that this is not how she is going to live, she escapes to the courthouse where she finds a sympathetic lawyer who helps her fight against customs in order to gain freedom. 

The story is well written, giving the details of her life without being too graphic.   Through out the story, she talks about her siblings and what is happening in their lives at the same time.   Her sister is also forced into an arranged marriage, although not because of poverty, but has struggles with her husband as well.   Her sister's children, her brothers, and her life are all impacted in negative ways because the family has no money.   Forced to beg or left with the feeling that the only answer is to leave home for another country, the family is almost in shambles. 

While reading this story, I was so proud of Nujood that she had the courage to stand up for herself and create a better future for herself.    While she is now famous around the world, she still lives with her family, but with the money that is coming in from her book, she is able to attend school and put money away so that she can become a lawyer in the future to help other girls that end up in situations like hers.

It made me think of our Compassion children.   The extreme poverty that many of these children live in put them in situations that we would find unethical and beyond our comprehension.   It makes my heart break to think that any children are put into these kinds of situations.   My prayer for our Compassion Children this year is that they stay safe, that God, who loves them more than I do, will keep his hand of protection on them.   They have dreams just like my children do, dreams to prosper and succeed. 

Definitely a book worth reading.


One More Day

First thing this morning, my phone rings.   My boss has called to offer me the day off.    With Mark and the kids still home, I am beyond grateful.    I have one more day with my family.  

We took full advantage of the day at home.   

Playing games

Drawing pictures

Video making/editing


and reading.   

Tomorrow we will again enter the world of schedules, routines, and what is called real life.   Tonight as we pull together our things for the morning, I am not dreading the return to reality,  rather, I feel rested and rejuvenated, glad for the time we have had at home together doing life together.