Sunday, April 29, 2007

Busy as a Bee

I did it! By the grace of God and my supportive husband, I successfully completed another semester of college. I gratefully took my last final exam yesterday morning, and we celebrated the end of the semester by going to Carowinds for a little bit of family time.

I haven’t had time to write, in part because I was studying for exams, but also because we’re just so busy. The Lord has provided us with a home that's conducive to entertaining, and we like to honor Him by inviting others into our home. I host events for the MOMS Club on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, but outside of that, we have entertained family and friends the past 3 weekends in a row. Although the preparations can be tiring, we enjoy the fellowship it provides.

Last night we had a couple over that we just recently met. The ironic thing is they are both from Ohio, near my hometown. We had a great time getting to know them, and their infant son, on a more personal basis. After the kids went to sleep, we played a couple of rounds of “Beyond Balderdash” and enjoyed some munchies.

In my family, we didn’t really do a lot of gatherings until I was older, in my teens, because of our physical location. I have lived a lot of different places, and we didn’t move closer to family until I was 13. I have many fond memories of family gatherings, and I know I am making memories now for my own children. More importantly, though, I am teaching and modeling for my children several life lessons: hospitality, serving others, and putting the needs of others ahead of their own.

I try not to focus on the cleanliness of my home- with 3 kids it’s nearly impossible to have a clean home- but rather on the importance of welcoming others into our home despite its condition. We just shove everything aside and make room at the table! 1 Peter 4:9 says, “Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” I can already see the seeds I have planted bearing fruit- Th asks daily who we’re having over as he sets aside toys he hopes to share with his friends. No grudging or complaining there!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

God is Good!

I have been exhausted lately, due in part to waking to nurse the baby and school. Also, Ta has a double ear infection, although today he seems to be doing better. His tubes are once again clogged, but I am thankful they are still in place after 16 months. We were told they wouldn’t last more than 6-9 months, so they’ve been a great investment! Because of his ears, he hasn’t been sleeping very well. However, T.G. has slept through the night the past 2 nights. What a blessing!

As some of you know, she has been my stubborn child when it comes to feeding. She would not take a pacifier, wants nothing to do with a bottle, and at 5 months I attempted infant cereal. She gagged and puked, and made it clear she only wanted to nurse. Needless to say, she is trying my patience in that area! However, the past couple of days I have been able to get her to eat some cereal. Sunday evening she went on a feeding frenzy and ate about 3 tablespoons of the stuff. Monday night I wasn’t so lucky; she barely tolerated 2 spoonfuls. But, I fed it to her at 8pm, and then bathed her as usual. I think it helped to fill her belly. . .

Monday night/Tuesday morning was a rough night. Ta woke at 4am and didn’t go back to sleep until 5:15am. The alarm goes off at 6am! T.G. slept until I woke her at 8:45am- I thought perhaps she wasn’t feeling well either, but then last night she slept the entire night, as well. She woke up at 7:15am today. Thank you, Lord!

I also took one of my final exams last night. I had difficulty studying this past week; I just could not do it. Every time I sat down, my mind would wander about the many things to do, phone calls to make, emails to send, etc. Yesterday afternoon I reviewed my notes and prayed the Lord would help me recall the information I’ve learned over the semester. I have done well on my assignments so I could afford to miss 18 questions and still get an ‘A’ in the course. Plus, my instructor was offering extra credit, so I knew I could make up some points there, if needed.
Again, God answered my prayer and helped me to have clarity of thought for my exam. I didn’t answer everything, but I feel comfortable that I earned an ‘A’ overall. Now, if I could just focus on my exam for Saturday!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Answered Prayers

God has a funny way of answering prayer. . .

TJ received his first ever Presidential Citation at Winthrop. He is such a hard worker, and every year his efforts and dedication go unnoticed. He reminds himself daily of Col. 3:23, “And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto man” to ease the frustration he so often feels due to the politics involved in working at a State-run agency. Today was his day to shine, and, unfortunately, I was not there to celebrate with him. He was taken by surprise, which makes his achievement all the more memorable. Good for you, babe! I’m proud of you- keep up the great work!

Montessori

Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart."

I've been thinking about this verse, meditating on it, since receiving the letter in the mail. I had prepared myself mentally, knowing full well we could not afford the tuition. But, as TJ so eloquently put it, it would have been much easier if Th had not been accepted. I am talking about Th’s acceptance letter into the Montessori program. The letter arrived in the mail Saturday, but insult was added to injury when I got home from school this evening. A woman from the school phoned to set up his placement interview to match Th to a teacher based on his learning style and personality.

I am such a huge proponent of the Montessori curriculum, and I had hoped and dreamed that my children would be able to attend this particular school. Unfortunately, though, the 3 and 4 year old program is not funded by the State, meaning it is a private school until the children reach kindergarten. Tuition is a hefty $4,200, and in past years they offered full or partial scholarships; however, this year those are reserved for children who live in the neighborhood surrounding the school. Like I said, I knew we could not afford the tuition, but it would have been easier to swallow if he had not been accepted.

We have until June 1st to decline, so TJ and I have been praying about the money. I believe God's Word is truth, so I am trusting in the truth of the above verse. If it’s God’s will for Th to go there, the Lord will provide the money. Th can begin starting in kindergarten, but not only would he have to learn the set-up of the Montessori classroom, he’d have to catch up because the majority of kids in his class would have already been attending for 1 or 2 years (depending if they started at age 3 or age 4).

If you don’t know anything about Montessori, it is wonderful! It is based on the beliefs of Dr. Maria Montessori, and she believes that each child learns in his or her own way and pace. Instead of a traditional classroom setup with rows of desks, students learn using physical, concrete objects and move to the abstract. There are no desks; students move about the class freely. This is especially important to me because Th is so smart for his age. Since he misses the school cut-off here by 3 weeks, he is way more advanced than the other students in his class. The Montessori curriculum makes up for that by allowing the students to work at their own pace- Th could work at his level rather than that of his fellow classmates.

They don’t take traditional paper and pencil tests in a Montessori school; instead, teacher observations and portfolios are used for assessment. Montessori is especially good for those students who like to be active when working, which traditional classrooms highly discourage! In my opinion, special education is closely linked to the Montessori curriculum because special ed does not follow traditional classroom practices, either. The traditional model is focused on the entire class- a “one-size fits all” approach. On the other hand, Montessori and special education focus on the individual learner, gearing lessons specifically for the learning styles and preferences of the individual student. Th is an active learner- it is evident in all he does! He is constantly moving, discovering, and, just when I think he’s not paying attention to me, he’ll say or do something that proves he is. He will be more than ready for kindergarten in the traditional setting, but I want him to be challenged at school, not bored, which is why I believe so strongly in sending him to the Montessori school.

Ultimately, I may homeschool him and can put into practice some of the teaching methods I have been taught, but for now, he is where he is, and I really am happy with all that he’s learned.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ground Breaking

Today’s entry is dedicated to my pastor and church. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I LOVE OUR CHURCH! Our church is a second family to us, and without them, TJ and I would be lost. Our pastor and his family have done so much for us over the years that we’ve been a part of our church, the most recent of which was caring for the boys while I was in labor with T.G.

TJ’s mom and dad each live about an hour and a half away, and the afternoon I went into labor, it took some time for his family to stop what they were doing, get some things together, and then make the drive to the hospital. We didn’t want the boys at the hospital until they needed to be there. TJ missed Ta’s birth because he was with Th in the waiting room, and he didn’t want to miss another miracle birth because he was with the other children. We called our pastor, and he and his wife Gretchen came to the hospital, picked up the boys, and took them out for pizza. After eating, they brought them back to their house where their 2 youngest children (ages 12 and 18) helped to entertain the boys. Once TJ’s dad and step-mom were able to get to Rock Hill, our pastor brought the boys back to the hospital where I was able to see them and say goodnight. To this day, Th still talks about that evening fondly, and even jokes with the pastor’s youngest son (he’s 18) about his bed being made (that’s another story).

I don’t just love my church because of the pastor and his family, but also because of the wonderful friends we’ve made over the 3 years we’ve been there. Our church has grown significantly, and thankfully the Lord has brought some young couples as well as older ones. It is a nice balance, and our church literally has something for everyone. We are building a new building to house the Sunday School classes, and I am including pictures from the ground breaking ceremony we held last night to celebrate God’s blessings upon His church. My prayer is that everyone would find a church like ours: built on God’s Word and full of caring people who apply the truths of God’s Word to their everyday lives.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Melissa Greer

I am feeling a little sad today. It’s been a rough couple of weeks, beginning with the brutal killings of 2 Charlotte police officers. They answered a 911 call and someone (he was only 25!) shot the 2 officers point-blank in the head. They never had a chance to draw their weapons- it was an ambush. One of the officers left behind a 2 year old, and his wife was 7 months pregnant. That really hit home for me. The other officer left behind his wife.

Obviously on Monday the VT massacre was difficult news to accept, but yesterday everything compounded when I was listening to the 5 o’clock news. A local weather forecaster, Melissa Greer, succumbed to a rare type of cancer. She was 27, my age. TJ and I, as well as the entire Charlotte viewing area, have been following her story since she announced the cancer in December. She was 6 months pregnant when they discovered the cancer, and her only option was to deliver her baby 10 weeks (or so) early, then have a hysterectomy. She flew to Iowa for the delivery/surgery, and we have been following her progress via the news since then. Another news anchor was her best friend, so she would go visit Melissa and update the viewers.
Melissa took a turn for the worst earlier in the week and finally gave up the fight yesterday morning. Last night, as I was bathing T.G., I silently lost it. I just kept thinking how Melissa would never do this to her baby. It still hurts my heart to think that, but then today, as I was sorting the laundry, the Lord reminded me of the blessings he provided Melissa’s family.

She gave birth to a healthy baby boy (his name is Connor). The Lord knew Melissa would not live long enough on this earth to raise her child, so He blessed Melissa and Roger (her husband) with a son. Roger won’t have to deal with all the “girl stuff”. I can’t imagine having to go through my life without my mom, as most women feel. That brought tremendous comfort to me when I stopped to remember who was in control. Anyway, I am linking the story for anyone who wishes to read it in its entirety. I thank the Lord that Melissa was at peace with herself, the Lord, and her family before her time with us ended!
http://www.wbtv.com/news/greer

This link is an update she gave last week- her words provide such an awesome understanding of the Lord's will for her life!http://www.wbtv.com/news/greer/7014262.html

Friday, April 20, 2007

I am a lucky duck today. . .

I was privileged with the opportunity to use TJ’s iron. This may come as a shock to some, especially since I am the one who typically could care less if my clothes are wrinkled. I mean, I chase after 2 kids and nurse a third one all day, every day. I don’t see the point to ironing because, as soon as I’m done, my clothes are immediately wrinkled again. Usually, if I have something that needs ironed, I’ll lay it out for TJ to do when he irons his clothes. He takes care of me like that! Today, though, I didn’t decide what I wanted to wear until the last minute.

TJ had already ironed his clothes and was about to leave for work. However, ironing was a necessity this morning. This particular pair of pants I chose to wear was extremely wrinkled, and I really had no other choice. As he was leaving, I asked him where I could find the iron (isn’t that sad- I have no idea where he keeps it!). He looked at me quizzically and told me to use the old one! Are you kidding me!?! He reluctantly set me up with the new iron and ironing board, and then hovered a few moments, trying to decide if he should go on to work or stay and monitor the situation. I told him if he was going to stand there than he could just do it for me because I HATE to iron. He left, but only after giving me EXPLICIT instructions as to the proper use and care of his precious iron.

Truthfully, I am surprised he left- did I mention he was hesitant about allowing me to use it? I’m sure when he comes home he’ll go check to make sure I didn’t do any damage! Between you and me, I won’t tell him that it fell off the ironing board onto the carpet (just kidding!)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

For the Love of Reading

My Favorites. . .

As I was studying for my final exam in Teaching Elementary Reading, I came across a page in my notes which contained a list of children’s books that my class compiled. Below are my favorites, and contact me if you have any that you recommend. It’s been years since I’ve read these, and I plan to read as many as I can over the summer.

Series
Nancy Drew
Babysitters Club
Amelia Bedelia
Ramona Quimby books
Corduroy books (my kids love Corduroy!)
Harry Potter

Individual
A Wrinkle in Time
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Where the Red Fern Grows
My Side of the Mountain
Charlotte’s Web
Dear Mr. Henshaw
Tallahassee Higgins (I LOVE this one!!)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Days of Our Lives

I am still exhausted, and thankful the semester is drawing to a close. I have a final exam next Tuesday evening and another Saturday morning. This next week will be crazy with me trying to study for both exams, so it doesn’t look as if I’ll get a break anytime soon. Once I finish my exams, I need to begin making some scrapbook pages for Th and Ta’s teachers before they finish up their year of preschool.

For Th’s class, I decided to put together a class album since his teacher isn’t returning next year. Th has had this particular teacher twice, and she is absolutely wonderful! I thought it would be nice if we presented the teachers with a class gift at their picnic on the last day of school. Another mom is helping me to contact everyone, but it’s still a feat considering not everyone is willing to put the time and effort into it. That means I have to compensate for that by making their pages in addition to mine. I thought about not including them but that was just a fleeting thought. I must include them; the kids are part of the class!

Ta has also had the same teachers for the past 2 years, and they are returning, but he is moving on from the nursery to the preschool. They will now be caring for T.G. this next year. I really am happy with this preschool and could not imagine sending my children anywhere else. The entire staff is so loving and caring, and all have supported me with my school schedule on various occasions by allowing me to drop them off early or pick them up late.

Speaking of college, what about the whole VT situation? Th overheard TJ and I talking and yesterday asked if those who were killed went to Heaven. How does one answer that question? I was truthful when I answered him by saying I didn’t know. I told him only if they believed Christ was their Savior. Even though Th has been saved, he doesn’t think the gunman was because “he was so naughty.” I explained (again!) that even though he’s saved, Th still does naughty things, like hit his brother and take toys. He agreed, but his little mind still can’t grasp the fact that the gunman may have gone to Heaven. I don’t think many adults could grasp that fact, either, but it’s true. I don’t know, only God knows the gunman’s heart. I pray this tragedy has been a lesson for many to trust in Christ because our time on this earth is limited. I’m sure each of those people killed weren’t expecting to die that day when they awoke. Death comes without warning.

I have prepared a feast for our last day of class tonight. I made minestrone soup, pasta bake, cheesecake brownies, fruit salad, and garlic bread. It’s time to get everyone ready, the food in the car, and get going. Have a great evening!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Sounds of Silence

The sound of silence, except the television and baby swing in the background, is a welcomed relief. I am exhausted- mentally and physically. We dedicated T.G. at church this morning and held a reception afterwards at our home. We have a brief hiatus until returning back at 5:30pm for Th’s Pee-Wee performance.

Overall it was a great day. Her dedication allowed us to spend time with some family we haven’t seen in over a year. Plus, as an added bonus, TJ agreed to pay for a cleaning service to come and do some “Spring Cleaning” on Thursday before our out-of-town guests arrived. It was wonderful to come home to my ENTIRE house being clean AT THE SAME TIME! That hasn’t happened since we moved in. It takes me 2 days to clean my house, one day per floor.

I am also exhausted from the demands of school. I completed my research paper this past Wednesday and readily handed it in. My class was given an extension until this Monday, but I needed to just be done with it. I am such a type-A personality that I would have read and re-read it, making unnecessary changes and drove myself crazy. I am glad to be done with it!

I was also offered a job on Wednesday. . . sort of. It’s definitely worth looking into, and I’ve been thinking about it since. I am supposed to be graduating soon, but I am prolonging it because I am not ready to be away from kids ALL DAY, which is required the last year of school. I am only taking 2 classes this next school year just to prolong my student observations/teaching semesters. In class on Wednesday, a woman from the Voc Rehab office in Charlotte came and spoke to our class. She asked each of us what our post-graduation plans were, and when I told her nothing, she looked at me in that funny way that everyone does when I tell them I don’t plan to teach.

I always get the same funny look, followed by the same question, “Why are you getting your degree then?” I always give the same reply: “I have 3 kids. I need to be able to support them and myself should something happen to my husband.” Simple. Straight. To the point. Psalms 90:12 says we are to number our days, meaning we never know what tomorrow may bring. We are only guaranteed today. During our break, she asked if I had ever considered being a job coach. Truthfully, no. But after speaking to her I am reconsidering.

I would work with students with disabilities (mental and physical) beginning in 11th grade. I would help them find a job that suits their needs, abilities, interests, and then once secure, help support them in their work. Flexible schedule, plus I can stay with the kids I work with past graduation and into adulthood. She gave me her card and told me to think about it. I will, but like I said, just not now. Now I have to get back to being a mom, wife, and daughter. The house is beginning to stir as sleep gives way to hunger pangs. I am signing off until. . . tomorrow, Lord willing.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Be Strong, Like a Tree

Isaiah 61: 1-3 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

These are my verses, and have been my verses for almost 3 years. This is my interpretation of those words, and perhaps it will better illustrate why I have claimed them for myself.

Verse 1- The Spirit of the Lord is upon me- I am a Christian.
The Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek- I was hand-picked to go through this situation
to bind up the brokenhearted- I have gone through this to help others in the future
To proclaim liberty to the captives and opening of the prison to them that are bound- you don’t have to be a slave to the situation

Verse 2- To proclaim the day of vengeance of our God- God will repay those that have harmed me IN HIS TIME!
To comfort all who mourn- I endured this life, situation, etc. to comfort others

Verse 3- to give them beauty for ashes- my ashes (or wounds, or scars, or heartache) will be made beautiful
The oil of joy for mourning- I will one day exchange any mourning (or wounds, scars, heartache) and experience the joy of the Lord with Him in Heaven
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness- I will exchange my heartache for a garment of praise from the Lord Himself
They might be called trees of righteousness, a planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified- *I am made stronger*, and I will glorify God by enduring this situation.

I memorized the words of these verses when we first began attending our church. I had been questioning my past, and my pastor suggested I read them to understand some of the reasons why certain things happen. If you know anything about my past, then you’ll also better understand why these verses are meaningful to me. My past is littered with everything from sexual and substance abuse (not by me, but I have been greatly affected by both of these issues) to my parents divorcing to my own miscarriage.

Just last week, I had some friends over and we were discussing some of these very topics. One of my friends made a comment that really took me by surprise. She said she gets annoyed when Christians judge others by saying they (meaning those in a tough situation) need to turn to God. I am guilty of this because I’ve made that very comment before, but I don’t make it in a judgmental way.

I try to encourage others by being an example. I was the first in my family and TJ’s family to ever experience a miscarriage. I was heartbroken to say the least. My dear husband didn’t know what to do or say to me, so instead he hugged me and then moved on. I, on the other hand, couldn’t let go that easily. Well-intended family members on both sides either said nothing or pretended everything was fine. That was like a knife straight to the gut. I was in so much pain (physical and emotional) and everyone around me was as happy as could be. It literally took me months to not cry at every pregnant woman I saw. I felt a gamut of emotions ranging from anger and rage to heartache and sadness to disappointment and unrealized dreams.

About a year later, TJ and I decided to name the baby Travis, and we honor him each Christmas with a poinsettia. It is a fitting tribute because we met at Travis Air Force Base and I miscarried in early December 2003. Let me just say, the first Christmas was the hardest Christmas to get through! My strength through that time was my best friend Chelsea. She was, at the time, the only other person in the world I knew that had gone through the grieving process after experiencing a miscarriage. Since she and I live 8 ½ hours apart, she mailed me 2 books (I’ll Hold You in Heaven by Jack Hayford and Mommy, Please Don’t Cry. . . by Linda DeyMaz) that her family gave to her after her miscarriage. To this day, I don’t know if she realizes how much she helped me through that time.

I am really getting off track, but I just want to add my miscarriage is the best thing that ever happened to me, and I truly am thankful for the experience. I would honestly say, if I had to do it over again, I would. I give God all the glory in that situation, especially because the blessings that followed that miscarriage far outweigh any pain or suffering I felt during that time. I was able to quit working and stay home with Th, the Lord brought us to Harvest, I joined the MOMS Club, and I have an awesome group of friends both in church and the MOMS Club. I don't know if any of those would have happened if I hadn't had a miscarriage, but I am thankful for the friends that TJ and I have made over the years since my miscarriage.

Back to the conversation with my friend. . . Like I said, I try to be an encouragement to others in their time of need, and I think this verse is a perfect fit for any of life’s rotten situations. In a nutshell, it is a reminder that, if you allow Him, God can and will use anything for His glory, and the blessings will follow. The blessings may not be experienced here in this lifetime, but as verse 3 says, I will one day wear a garment of praise and be a tree of righteousness, all the more stronger because of it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Get Growing!

Psalm 126:2, “Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.”

I read this verse and finally thought of the word I had been searching for to describe TJ’s family. They aren’t sarcastic; instead, he and his sisters are witty. I, on the other hand, am not very witty, and I think that’s why I have such a good time with them. Something funny will happen and someone ALWAYS knows just what to say and when, making the entire situation even funnier. Their wit is what brings out the child in TJ. He tries to be witty with me, but it usually fails because I just don’t get it. Sorry, babe!

Jeremiah 17:7-8 writes, “Blessed is the man that trusts in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreads out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat comes, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”

This verse about trusting and growing in the Lord applies to the preparations the MOMS Club is making for Rock Hill’s annual Come-See-Me opening parade this Thursday evening. TJ is kindly driving our van in the parade, and about 7 of us moms are walking/pushing strollers while the kids ride their scooters/bikes/skates, etc. Some of us met today to work on some decorations. Our theme is “Come Grow with Us!”, and we are all wearing or sporting flowers of some type. We diligently made signs, banners, and tissue paper flowers for the kids to don during the parade. Th is especially excited. Not only is he going to decorate and ride his bike, but he will be passing out Tootsie Rolls to all the kids we pass on the parade route.

As a side note, I was once again reminded of the truth of the Ecclesiastes verse I shared with you yesterday. Ta had a major temper tantrum this morning and again this afternoon. I repeated that verse over and over to myself, praying the Lord would help me to stay calm. It’s easy to find an application of Scripture to my life, but not always easy to follow. I am thankful the Lord brought that verse to my mind during both of those instances, helping to lessen the temptation to sin against Him and yell at my child. What a blessing!

Monday, April 9, 2007

The Season of My Life

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:”

As I look around, new life is everywhere, including in my house! We went to the plant nursery over the weekend, but the weather has been too cold for us to plant our young flowers outside. We are temporarily storing them in our kitchen and dining room. It is a beautiful sight, and a reminder of God’s gift of salvation. Just as the flowers bloom, thrive, then die off in the fall and winter, Jesus was on this earth for a short season before becoming the sacrificial Lamb of God. His time on the cross, too, was only for a short season. However, His reign in Eternity will last forever. Easter, and the beautiful spring flowers, are a wonderful example of this truth.

I fully understand that the season of parenting small children will soon be over, as well; however, while I am in this season, sometimes it is very difficult. I have decided to really apply the truth taught in this verse to my day-to-day life. For every fight between brothers, there is a purpose under the heaven. For every dish I wash or sock I pick up, there is a purpose under the heaven. For every meal I prepare and the kids don’t eat, there is a purpose under the heaven. This verse also reminds me to be thankful for the daily blessings with which my Heavenly Father provides me: nap time, outdoor play time, and the many teaching opportunities that arise in between.

TJ is a blessing to me, also. I will be the first to admit that having 3 small kids is overwhelming, but I could not imagine doing it alone. He helps in so many ways, not just with parenting, but in everything. The Lord has made it possible for me to go to school during this season of life, but again TJ is my helpmate. We are celebrating the time when we first met. It was 9 years ago in March. I could not imagine my life without him by my side. Honey, thank you very much for all you’ve given to me, provided me with, and done for me over the years. I look forward to spending many more years with you!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Family Night

We spent the evening with the in-laws tonight. My husband has 4 sisters, 2 older and 2 younger. I love all of them for different reasons, but I consider myself closest to the 2 that live near us (we see them more often). Anyway, it’s always fun to get together with them. They are both very laid back, and his older sister is very sarcastic. She says what most people think, but not in a rude way, just, well, sarcastic.

I love to watch the dynamics of his family, the way they interact with each other, especially with his mom. My husband is very laid back himself, but when he gets together with his sisters, he becomes a kid again. I’m not saying that in a bad way. I think it’s great. There are 9 years between the oldest and youngest, so they are all very close to each other. My family, on the other hand, spans 14 ¾ years between me (the oldest) and my brother (the youngest). There are 6 years between my sister and I. I’m not saying we aren’t close, but the dynamics of my family are completely different than TJ’s. It’s strange, but sometimes I feel like I am watching them as a third party. They laugh and tell silly jokes, and pick on each other the way siblings do. Anyway, as usual, we had a fun time.

Truthfully, I’m surprised there wasn’t at least one person wearing any food when we left. There is almost always a food fight of some sort, but perhaps since not everyone was feeling well, the “party crashers” weren’t up to having to clean a bunch of food off the floor. Oh wait, my kids were there. Never mind, they’ll be cleaning a bunch of food off the floor!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

Some days I think I’ve lost my mind completely. Today is one of those days. My sister-in-law told me of this place that takes pictures with live rabbits for Easter for a very reasonable price. I called last week and scheduled an appointment to have the 3 kids get their picture taken with the bunnies. The appointment was today at 11:15AM, and Ta woke extremely early, so it was a blessing when he willingly laid down for a morning nap at 8:45AM. I thought things would go relatively easy since he was well-rested, the baby had just nursed, and Th is 4 ½.

Boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong! Have you tried to get a 4 ½ year old to hold a 4 month old without slouching and complaining? Today, I tried it! It didn’t go so well! Plus, the bunnies kept jumping out of their basket, and Ta, being the ever-so-gentle child that he is, thought that meant they wanted to be held (smothered is more accurate!). Prying those furry things out of his hand was no small feat, plus, once again the baby was screaming because she wasn’t “latched on” to her Mommy!

The photographer was great, but her assistant wasn’t so helpful. In fact, he was very grumpy. After all 3 kids were crying, we decided not to push them for their final pose. I did get a cute picture of the 3 of them, which was the goal in the first place, so overall I’m happy. Of course, as I look at the preview of it, Th is slouching and there's a slight frown on his face. But for $14.95, can I complain?!

My Wish

The anniversary of my grandmother’s death was on Sunday, April 1st. I can’t believe it’s been 8 years. As most people feel towards their grandparents, I loved this woman dearly. I affectionately called her “Nana”, and obviously her death affected me a great deal, but it’s even more so now that I have a daughter. There have been so many times in the last few months that I wish my Nana could have met T.G., held her in her arms, and compared her to me when I was a baby.

When I was about 14 or 15, Nana made a doll for me. It was, and is, the most beautiful doll I have ever seen. She has curly dark hair and a beautiful baby blue dress with pink flowers. I absolutely love it, and it is one of my most cherished possessions. A few years ago, one of her bows fell out of her hair, and it sat on my dresser, waiting for me to find time to glue it back in her hair. One day T.G. was wearing a cute baby blue outfit with pink flowers. I saw the bow sitting on my dresser and decided to use it to make a hair bow for her. It turned out really cute, and now it is a way for my daughter to have a connection to my Nana. But, still, I wish she were here.

As Easter approaches, I am reminded of the love of Christ. I reflect on how much I loved my Nana, and how much I love my kids and my husband, and I try to fathom how much Jesus loves me, but it’s impossible. Instead, I must trust God at His word, written to man in the form of the Bible. Although it’s sometimes difficult to comprehend, I have to go back to God’s promises written in His Word. I rejoice at what Jesus has done to prove His love for me, and for all mankind. Because of trusting in what Jesus has done, my Nana is in Heaven with Him today. I will see her again, and I pray my children will, too. And, thankfully, she has 2 of my precious babies with her, whom I have yet to meet, but if they’re anything like the 3 I have, she’s got her arms full!

John 3:16-18: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

We made it!

We survived the camping trip, and despite not getting any sleep, actually had a wonderful time. The host family has an awesome set-up, and my kids couldn’t decide what to do first. At first glance, you’d never know what excitement lies just down the path to their back yard. It just seems like a bunch of trees with a path that leads to the pond.

But, once on the path, there is a zip line that will quickly take you down the hill. If you don’t know what a zip line is, it’s a rope tied around 2 trees, one uphill and one downhill, with a swing on it. The kids made good use of this, especially when unloading the van. They brilliantly tied our bags to the rope and sent it down the hill, saving them from having to carry everything down. Although I didn’t get a chance to ride on it (I really did want to!), our kids thought it was the most fun thing they’ve ever done.

Once we were at the bottom, there was a swing set, creek, and of course, the pond. Our kids were so enthralled with the zip line they didn’t even want to fish. I did walk Ta down by the water to watch the ducks a few times, but for the most part, they swung and rode the zip line over and over. We lit a fire and ate supper, then roasted marshmallows, and the older kids played tag in the trees. All was going well until someone fell and got a small puncture wound to his knee. Thankfully, his mom is a nurse so she remained calm and was able to clean it up without too much of a commotion. They did have to leave to go to Urgent Care, which was unfortunate, but he needed some stitches. They were at church today and he is doing well.

The other misfortunate event occurred in the middle of the night. A little boy woke up with pain in his ear. Turns out he had an ear infection, so they left so he could get some medication. He’s doing okay but still not feeling himself. All in all, it was a fun night and the host family offered to do it again at our next campout in June. . .

Brave souls, they are!