More Music From David Crowder

This news made my day!   I am so excited to hear David Crowder's new music! 


Journaling: I've learned from life that...

"I've learned from life that..." 

A tweet from Relevant Magazine today said,

"Being angry for the things I've experienced 
would lessen the value of what 
God has taught me though them." 

This caught my attention because we are having conversations with our children about finding the good in life and focusing on that good.   Life will have its ups and downs, but it is what we choose to focus on that will determine if our life is a good one.  

I have spent some time with people who tend to focus on the negative in life.   Truthfully, it is draining.   After listening to them for an hour, I am exhausted and feel like I am carrying a huge weight.  It is not a way to build a good relationship by complaining all of the time, and do they really think that people want to hear how bad life is all of the time?   Granted, there are times and situations when something bad happens and we all need a friend or someone to listen and possibly offer advice or encourage.   I get that.   I am talking about the people who come up to you and back up the dump truck of their lives and dump it on you every time you see them.   That gets old and very quickly. 

Life is a journey.   As with any journey, there are hills and that are valleys.  The hills that lift us up the heavens are the times we laugh and enjoy the sun on our faces.   We love easily and life is good.   The valleys can be deep and long.   It is in these valleys that we learn faith, endurance, and commitment.   If we never had to go through the valleys, how would we know what faith looks like?   If we never have a struggle in our marriage or any friendship, how do we know what it looks like to stick together and work though it?   

I have learned from life that as wonderful as the peaks and the good times are, I also deeply value the valleys and tough times because in both spots I am learning and growing.   The hard times in life can be a blessing in our lives or they can be the burden, depending on how we choose to look at them. 


A Lesson From Pix

It is day twelve of her fifteen day visit.   He is slowly getting used to her being here all of the time.   When she comes for a short visit, he is excited beyond words, but when she is here to stay for a night and wants to sleep on "his" bed and wants to eat breakfast out of "his" bowls.... well, that is a little different story.   He becomes guarded and territorial. 

Before she came, I bought two bones, one for him, one for her.    Twelve days later, her bone looks like it has been enjoyed.  

His, barely touched.

As he watches her play and interact with the kids

He watches from the sidelines, protecting his "treasure"

To try and pull him into a playful mood last week, I took them both into the backyard to enjoy the weather and catch the ball.   Pix absolutely loves to play ball in the yard. 

He watched while she ran enjoying the warm weather to the fullest.

On Sunday, while we were outside as a family, the kids were running around throwing the ball and having a great time.   She, was right in the middle of it, having a great time, just as Pix would have been if it had not been for protecting his bone....

 Rather, he sits on the sideline and watches the fun.

As I watch Pix this week, I wonder how many times I am given something in life, a friend, a gift, a talent, and rather than being out enjoying the person, gift, or talent, I sit on the sidelines to afraid that someone will take my "treasure" away.    Not wanting to ruin the treasure or make it go away, or heaven forbid that someone else may enjoy it for a moment, I sit, with my chin on my treasure, wanting to join in the fun, yet at the same time, fearing that I will lose something if I let my guard down. 

God gives us "treasures" in life so that they can be enjoyed, celebrated, and shared.   May I remember this next time I want to sit on the sidelines protecting my treasure.

As a side note, the story above and the pictures are just brief moments in the week.   He has been able to let down and run along beside his sister, enjoying the warm weather as well.


Family Time

The weekend found me weary, worn, and exhausted.   I am not sure what it was about last week that left me absolutely drained, but by Friday there was nothing more I could give.    How fortunate I was that Mark sensed that and came home early from work to spend a little bit of time with me before the kids came home.   I know this is a gift, and one I do not take for granted. 

The weekend was intentional.  It was a family weekend.   My sister and her family came down for a visit which was very nice. 

Sunday found me dreading the start of a new week before I even got out of bed.   I woke up feeling the dread seep in.   After church, remembering my change of perspective I decided to do something about that.  We all slipped into pajamas and spent the day doing things we wanted to do, and spending time together.   I put my phone "away" in that I stayed off the social media sites and games that tend to take my free time.   Instead, I focused on my children and my husband.   We went for a walk, yes, in our pajamas, baked cookies, drew pictures, played wii (the first time all four of us have played a game together on the wii), and played in the back yard.   I also found time to read and to just sit on the deck.   The time was much needed. 

While Addy and I were drawing, E was working on his creation which I liked and wanted to share with you:

This morning, I laced up my running shoes for the first time in a month.   With no goal in mind, but to get out and get back in the groove of things, I ran the neighborhood.   As the muscles began to warm and the blood began to flow, my lungs filling quickly with fresh air, my body falls back into sync.   A beautiful morning for a run, my mind goes back to a year ago when I was running this route training for the half marathon.   Perhaps my mind goes there because I am missing running, a very weird thought for me.   Perhaps my mind goes there because there is a 10k run coming up, and I am wondering if I want to do that run.  Part of me says yes, part of me is shies away.  

Today is not the day to decide.   Rather, today is a day to get out and enjoy the warm breeze on my forehead and cheeks.   Today is a day to keep my eyes open and see nature waking up from its winter rest.....

... and I did. 


Corrected Perspective

Windows open, a warm breeze comes in.   Birds, enjoying the sunshine and warmer temperatures, are singing in the trees.  A day like this normally finds me with lifted spirits.   But there was something that I just couldn't shake.    No matter how hard I tried, I just could not get past the negative vibes that I was feeling.

It then dawned on me what the problem was.   Perspective.   My day was full of gifts that normally make me happy, however, I was choosing to focus on the "problem areas" in my day.   Because something wasn't going just how I wanted it to go, I was letting it affect my day and my mood.

At one of the Compassion events I worked this week, the speaker was talking about perspective.    He mentioned that we become so focused on ourselves and our needs and wants, it is hard to see anything else and we can easily become depressed and overwhelmed.   However, when we look around at the world around us, and we don't have to look far, we notice that there are people who are in much worse situations than we are. 

During Shaun's visit, he mentioned a young girl he met on one of his trips to India.  After visiting her home, which was smaller in size than an average bedroom in our homes, they headed out to visit the Compassion project she attended.  On the way there, they are walking through streets where sewage runs through, and people are sitting on the roads digging through garbage piles looking for anything salvageable.  The young girl stops with tears in her eyes, and Shaun asks her what is wrong.  (He admits this was an interesting questions because "What's NOT wrong with this picture?")  She looks at him and talks about how happy she is because of what God has done in her life and how He has provided for her and her family. 


And I am having a bad day?   Really? 

With this story in the back of my mind, I continue through my day trying desperately to get out of my "funk" when an email shows up in my inbox from our pastor.   The family we had been praying for because their son had encountered some serious head injuries had passed away.   In his twenties, and within a matter of a couple of hours, a young family member is lost. 

Again, I ask myself, is my day really that bad?

Perspective.   When I focus only on what is going on in my life, it is so easy to become self centered and become deceived at how "bad" my situation really is.   In reality, the grieving family and the young girl in India would gladly trade places with me in a minute if all they had to worry about was my "problems". 

Today I am thankful for the perspective given.   The perspective that there is more to this world than just what is happening in my home, more to the world that just what I am struggling with on a given day.   There are needs in my church family and around that world that when I chose to focus my attention on those by praying and helping when/where I can, the world becomes a better place, not only for those around me, but also for myself. 


Mail From Around the World

This week has been a blessing in the amount of mail we have received!    Each day I kept telling myself that there would not be a letter because we had just received one, and each day I would open my box to see, yet another cream colored envelope! 

Here they are, all Five of them!  

Our first letter that came was from Selina in Kenya,   She wrote to us about the weather being sunny and the trees doing well there.   She mentions that she helps at home with household chores.   She asks how our weather is, and thanks us for the gift we sent.    With her letter she has included this beautiful drawing which is more ornate than she has sent before.   In the past the picture she has chosen to draw was always a house.   I love this picture!

The second letter came from Yenifer in Honduras.   She writes about her Christmas celebration and mentions that she did well in school, receiving an honor diploma and that she is moving to the third grade.  She thanks us for the gift of food, paper (note toilet paper), chicken, soap, and milk.  They were also able to buy two outfits for each person in the family and her new boots.   (I think she likes shoes, most gift money she receives, she buys new shoes with!)

With her letter she also includes a drawing.   I am amazed at how much she has grown and improved in her skills.  The drawing on the left is from the very first letter we received from her three years ago, the right, her most recent.

Our third letter came from Ronaldo in Indonesia.   He writes, "praise the Lord, because God always unites us through letter."  He thanks us for the Christmas presents, shoes, bag, church sandals (he is wearing these), and a bookshelf.  Ronaldo always asks that we pray for him in his studies.   I wonder what doors God is going to open for him.  This is the first candid picture I have of Ronaldo, I am so very excited to have it!

Our last two letters received came from Angel in Mexico.   In his first letter he tells us that he celebrated Christmas with his cousins and siblings, and that they are all fine even though his grandparents are sick.  "The good thing is that our teacher teaches us well and that's why I improved my grades..."   This makes me smile. 

His second letter thanks us for the Christmas gift in which he bought clothes.   He comments that he had hurt his eye because a soccer ball had hit it, but it is feeling better "now."  He tells more about his Christmas celebrations with a pinata filled with candy and fruit, they also had presents, candy, pizzas, and sodas. 

Yes, our week has been full.   I am so excited and so grateful for the letters, I couldn't wait to share them with you!


Performance Day

Performance day at our house.  

With this performance came special outfits.

Help from Dad makes the perfect knot

A beautiful smile from one who feels like a princess today

They are ready


With their teacher who is a wonderful lady

Addy's performance

E's performance

I am so proud of them and the hard work that 
they have put into their pieces.