Sunday, February 28, 2016

Happy 8th Birthday Josiah!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Non-Birthday Kids

Here's a few moments with the non-birthday kids during birthday party weekend.
Isaiah still has a baby face. Let me believe that he is still a baby. Thank you.
Morning snuggles with Aunt Brandi
Anna got training wheels on a bigger bike.
Joel coached Anna a bit on throwing a frisbee.
She is an expert frisbee thrower now.
I was very impressed.
Ok. One of a birthday kid. These three are each playing a game--Josiah on the Nintendo 3DS, Caleb on his Mom's phone and Gideon on his watch.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

10 and 8

Our double birthday party for Aliza and Josiah was earlier than usual this week to accommodate both of the Grandmas weekend work schedules. Too many years someone is sick so I said that this year we were tricking sickness by having the party early. Apparently it worked. No one was sick. No matter how "easy" a birthday party is, it still takes effort to pull it off. This was my least labor intensive birthday party--thanks to the kids food requests.

Aliza is very excited to hit the double digits milestone.
Aliza wanted to dress up for her party. She even let Aunt Brandi fix her hair.
Josiah loved having time to play with Caleb. He was pretty surprised--and very thrilled--that Grandad actually gave him a BB gun.
The kids have a pretty big say in their birthday party menu. All Josiah wanted was doughnuts, finger jello, Doritos and Salt and Vinegar chips. He wanted Jurassic World paper supplies. We came across the idea of making the doughnuts into a volcano using frosting for lava. Josiah arranged the doughnuts and did the lava all by himself. He was very pleased with the finished product. So was I!!

Aliza had her own Ever After High table and somehow no one got a picture of it! Aliza wanted ice cream, pickles, BBQ chips and Cheddar Cheese and Sour Cream Chips. I surprised her with Dill Pickle chips (she loved them)!
To their requests, I added hamburgers and hotdogs which were grilled. Very easy! Everyone had a good evening so I'd call it a success. Now Aliza and Josiah are both counting down to their "real" birthdays.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Warmth and Doughnuts

It was 5:30 this morning when Jeremy sat up and I realized that cold air was hitting my face. He came back to bed and told me there was 14 inches of snow on the ground and the house was 55 degrees. I talked him down to 4 inches of snow on the ground, but the house really was 55 degrees. After making sure all the children were covered up, we tried to get some more sleep. There was a little one in my bed that I didn't have the heart to move back to her cold bed so I let her take up more than her share of space which meant I didn't get much more sleep.
Thankfully, we have a propane insert in our fireplace that does a decent job of heating the upstairs. Without hot water for a shower, I wasn't getting a great start on the day! I should have just joined them in front of the fire.
The plan had been to go to Mom's to make doughnuts today. Laura had already made the dough and since staying in a cold house was not appealing, I made the slow trip south. The roads were not clear. It was a long trip, but we made it safely. Clearly my priorities were warmth and doughnuts!

Jeremy stayed home and tried to get the boiler working this morning. He thawed the oil line hoping that would fix the problem. It didn't. A repairman will come out tomorrow. Thankfully, the temperature is predicted to continue to climb through the night. This morning it was 27 degrees and the high tomorrow is 57 degrees.

That smile on Janell's face is because Isaiah went flying past me to ask Janell if he could have a graham cracker.

Jeremy won some big awesome husband points. Having the dishes washed is one thing that makes me feel like the house is in order and, not having hot water this morning, I left dishes in the sink. While I was gone, he heated water on the stove and washed the dishes. I can't tell you how happy that made me when I walked in just in time to make supper tonight.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A *Sweet* Weekend

This was my first trip to Hershey, PA. Six ladies from my Community Bible Study class went to the CBS Leadership Conference and stayed at the Hershey Lodge. I saw nothing else in Hershey, PA, but the lodge did not disappoint. We were given a Hershey chocolate bar upon check in and every bit of the room decor was kisses--including the sheets on the beds! There was chocolate scented shampoo, lotion, and soap. Every meal was served with a choice of chocolate butter for on bread. We were definitely in Hershey even if we didn't see the chocolate factory.
 This morning for opening at CBS those of us who went to the conference were asked to share our thoughts. I was going to edit it to fit the blog format better, but I've decided to just put it here in its entirety.

Going to the CBS Leadership Conference as a prospective leader gave me an opportunity to be a “fly on the wall” so to speak, to catch the vision of CBS and experience CBS on a broader scale.

Ladies, we have been told over and over that we are part of an excellent program, but I'm going to tell you again. God is using CBS to transform lives through His Word. We are part of an amazing organization that is MUCH larger than what is happening here in Salisbury. The mission of CBS is to provide in depth Bible Study for ALL—two new things I learned that impressed me—when a Bible study is translated into another language, it is not just directly translated from English. It is rewritten to be relevant in that language and culture for which it is written. I knew about international, mens, childrens, teens, young adults, women, and prison studies, but did you know that there are CBS Bible studies written for adults with disabilities? Bible studies are written at a level so that adults with cognitive disabilities can study the Word of God. Isn't that awesome? Or being in Hershey we would have said-- Isn't that SWEET?

The CBS Executive Director, Kim Carr, is a woman led and directed by prayer. On Friday evening she shared some of the newly developed goals for CBS. What got my attention was their process for planning. At some point in the process she gave the group of leaders each a journal, told them to pray for 60 days and write down everything the Lord told them during prayer. When they reconvened each person would share what was in their journal and only what was in their journal. Kim and the CBS staff didn't want to hear what each person had to say, they wanted to hear what GOD was saying. They looked for themes among what was shared and that was how their goals were developed. I think we can be quite confident that what is happening in CBS is from the heart of God Himself.

Friday I was thinking “this is nice.” I'm not sure what here is going to apply to me. I'm not a CBS leader. (God has told me to wait on that.) As my brain was trying to discredit my attendance at this conference, God let me know that I am a leader. It might not be at CBS, but I have other leadership roles and really all of us are called to be leaders either at home, at our churches, in our community, or any number of other places. With my confidence in place that I am a leader and determined to apply everything I was hearing to every aspect of my life—not just to CBS—Saturday morning arrived.

Matt Chandler is a pastor and leader of the Acts 29 Network. He presented the first session on Saturday morning via video. I want to share the gist of his teaching because 1. I still remember his 3 main points and  2. I think it applies to all of us.

(The following remarks are taken from my notes for Matt Chandler's sermon. The links above reference where the sermon can be purchased. Many of Matt Chandler's sermons can be found on YouTube)

“The strength for our calling comes from our unity with Jesus. (all of us are called!) So what keeps us from unity with Jesus?

1. Failure to believe in justification by grace alone through faith alone.
This is a failure to believe that forgiveness through Jesus' death and resurrection is enough for entrance to heaven. By our actions, thoughts and words we still think that we need to DO something to earn favor, to earn forgiveness, to do a more complete job of washing away our sin. The TRUTH is that Jesus is enough. His death and resurrection paid the price. We can't DO anything to make him love us more or forgive us more.

2.We have an aversion to suffering and struggle.
We seem to think that if something is difficult or painful that it couldn't possibly be God's will. God did not promise us a smooth sailing life or ministry. He promised us trouble, pain and suffering. Sometimes God's greatest gift to us is to wound us because when we are wounded, in pain, suffering we find out that underneath it all GOD IS ENOUGH.

3.We fail to understand the doctrine of adoption.
We can grasp the judicial component of God—you are forgiven. But the adoptive component is that you are chosen and loved. The idea of God delighting in us and finding joy in us. Even more joy and delight than we find in our own children. “If you believe that God delights in you, you would run to him more often in prayer and digging in His Word.” Do we? Is my heart pulled to prayer because I know that God delights in me and finds joy in my company or is it on my to do list? I don't think we find unity with God by crossing him off our to do list.

The strength for our calling comes through unity with Jesus. Unity with Jesus is knowing that we are justified through grace alone by faith alone, knowing that no matter what God is enough, and embracing God as a Father who has chosen us and delights in us. If I GET those things I will run to Him in prayer and and when we are connected to God through prayer, then nothing will be impossible for us--as we learned last week in Matthew 17.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Winter Swimming?!

Josiah and Anna discovered that the ditch along our property fills with water during the winter. It looked a bit redneck!

By the time I got out there both of them were shivering. That didn't slow them down very much!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Joy Dare::January

3076. A new wall calendar all filled in (Jeremy is not so proud of my old fashioned ways!)
3077. No big resolutions
3078. Jeremy's eyes were still sparkling when he got home from work.
3079. Boy cousins riding bikes
3080. Cleaning up my computer
3081. A birthday and scrapbooking goodbye with Chrissy
3082. Being with my sister at her house three times this week
3083. Possibly a life time supply of Project Life cards gifted to me
3084. Cutting
3085. Smooth transition back to schoolwork (although Aliza said she cried when she woke up and remembered she had to do math)
3086. Aliza did some cleaning--her own idea--just to help me
3087. Children proud of themselves for working hard
3088. A whiter bathtub
3089. New book to study
3090. Our church building read to meet in
3091. A smooth trip--4 hours and not even a bathroom break
3092. Secret birthday mission accomplished
3093. Pedicure
3094. Sibling love
3095. First meeting in our church building
3096. An end of an era of friendship is the beginning of a new era
3097. Making time for prayer
3098. An opportunity for Aliza to participate in a choir
3099. Accepting where I am in life--it's joys and limitations
3100. Lunch around my Gramma's table
3101. Able to get Josiah's ear looked at quickly
3102. Isaiah is acting like himself again and sleeping well
3103. Successful in doing some exercise this week
3104. A catch up conversation with Meghan
3105. Homeschool review now only once a year
3106. Puzzles and game with Great Gramma
3107. Weekend nap after a busy night with children
3108. Snow covered trees
3109. My favorite--Tea!
3110. New Sunday School classroom with bright light
3111. Jeremy feeling so much better
3112. My girl in my dress
3113.  Huge confidence boost for Aliza
3114. Teaching the primary CBS class
3115. Seasons
3116. Anna needing extra snuggles
3117. Exploring in the snow
3118. These two are buddies
3119. That smile!
3120. Feeling very laid back today
3121. Isaiah snuggled up with Aunt Janell and was utterly heartbroken when it was time for her to leave
3122. Snow falling just slows life down
3123. Family movie night--special snacks included
3124. Something is happening in my heart
3125. Snow day=Family day
3126. New season of Duck Dynasty
3127. Blue sky and sun reflecting off the snow
3128. Snow time with Aunt Laura
3129. Good to be out of the house this evening
3130. Big balls of snow
3131. Making sure I don't make life too easy for my children
3132. Scrubbing a bathroom
3133. A friend of Aliza's joined choir
3134. Janell kept my 3 while I took Aliza to choir
3135. Lydia could have a "get better day" at my house today
3136. Putting essential oils to the test
3137. Intentionally wrote a note of encouragement
3138. Out of the (sick) house
3139. All of us together in the living room after supper
3140. Just enough encouragement for today
3141. So many of us with colds but still finding reasons to laugh
3142. Finding voice messages on my phone of the kids singing made up songs
3143. Stirrings in my heart
3144. Serious sister bonding between Aliza and Anna
3145. Isaiah slept in late on a Sunday morning
3146. Beautiful day for some fresh air
3147. Biggest bike crash we've had yet and it did not result in blood or broken bones