Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Blessings

First Corinthians 13 - The Christmas Version

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights
 and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another 

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing
gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at meal time, but 
do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I 
have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing. 

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, 
attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata but do not
 focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child; Love sets aside the decorating to kiss 
the spouse; Love is kind, even when harried and tired. 

Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and
table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are 
there to be in the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in 
giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust. But 
giving the gift of LOVE will endure.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Middle School Christmas Concert 2012

The excitement is building as we get closer and closer to the holidays! It seems like the school Christmas concert is earlier and earlier every year! I think they are always concerned about inclement weather because they automatically schedule a snow date along with the concert date. These are the joys of living in the northeast.

The middle school concert was excellent! Here are the three songs Em's class performed, Enjoy!

A Baby Will Come

Carol of the Bells

A Classic Christmas

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wintery Sights and Smells.

Yesterday we had a beautiful snowfall. It was the kind of snow with the big puffy flakes that looks like someone shook up the snow globe! It was a wet snow and did not stick to anything but the trees and grassy surfaces. The roads were just wet which made me very happy because I have been sliding in bad weather lately. It might be time for new tires!

Our backyard.

The snowfall put Emily and I into a Christmas cookie baking mood. The Christmas carols were playing and we got to work right after dinner. Emily is turning out to be a great baker! She is a perfectionist and remembers all of the tips and tricks I've been teaching her throughout these last few years of baking together. The smells from the kitchen along with scene outside was wonderful. We even lured Joshua into the kitchen with us to help decorate cookies, which he really loves to do.


We only had time to do a single recipe last night of press cookies. I had forgotten that the whole family loves red hots (aka: cinnamon imperials) to eat and decorate the cookies with. We had a few leftover from last year, thankfully, but I'll definitely need to pick up some more as our baking has only just begun!

I'm so thankful for this time of year. We so need the different pace, different look and renewed spirit of Christ in our hearts and lives. A dear friend reminded me that our

"Days are falling into weeks, which are tumbling into months, which are snowballing into years!"

This is so true. These beautiful children the Lord has given to us are growing up way to fast. This year may we all stop and take the time to enjoy beautiful moments that occur unexpectedly. These unexpected blessings might just be the very things that linger in the hearts and minds of our family for the years to come.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I recently took a hike in a state park near our house with Buddy (our golden retriever)...alone. I was yearning to be away from it all and just be quiet before the Lord. The fall colors and the beauty lured me deeper and deeper into the woods and before I knew it I could only hear the dog rustling in the leaves. No cars, no planes - just the quietness and beauty of the forest. 

Southford Falls path

As I prayed and walked, I asked the Lord to speak to me. Sometimes, it seems like I have such a laundry list of items to pray for that I forget to just be quiet before the Lord. 

The path I was on was very frequently traveled and well marked. I found myself thinking of the path almost constantly because I was alone (with the dog) and no one would steer me in the right direction if I happened to wander off of it. The path had so many gradients, twists and turns in it. With all of the leaves down the path had a nice (but dangerous) mask covering it. There were many hazards lying beneath the blanket of leaves including holes, puddles, tree roots and rocks. One wrong careless step and I could have been injured.

The Lord used this time to show me that my life is very similar to this path the dog and I were walking on. My life has had many twists and turns. Many treacherous endeavors. Many, many wonderful beautiful stretches. Many steep hills and sharp downward gradients. There has always been a danger lingering (the devil) who has constantly attempted to ruin me. The Lord's hand has guided me down my path and protected me from what the devil intended to be harmful to me and our family. I'm so incredibly thankful to the Lord for His constant protection, provision and peace he has given me. 

Looking ahead, not behind, what does the path look like? As a Christian, the answer to this question is easy. With confidence, I know that my path is paved leading to a beautiful place in heaven that the Lord is preparing for me where I will reside with Him for eternity. But what about here on earth? Have I truly opened my heart and my mind to any path the Lord would lead me down? As a wife and mother, I need to constantly ask myself which path is pleasing to the Lord? Am I making strides to not fill our days and nights with endless commitments and stress. Without a doubt I find comfort in knowing I am on the right path and we have seen the Lord's hand work mightily along the way.
Daily I ask for the Lord to lead us, hold us and protect us on the path.

Two of my dearest, sweetest, life-long friends are making cross-country moves in the next month. They don't even know each other, but they are both on my heart and in my prayers constantly. Our families are very familiar how a major move affects each family member in very unique and powerful ways. The interesting part of both of their moves is that they are moving to cities that they have lived in once before! What a difference that large detail will make with this move for each of them! Removing that part of the unknown is huge - and it is my hope for our family someday when we leave Connecticut. 

My prayer for my friends and for my family is a scripture a dear friend shared with me when we moved from Chicago to Cleveland. Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for."

Scriptures on Paths:
Psalm 119:105 - Your word O Lord is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path.
Isaiah 57:14 - The Lord says, "Let my people return to me. Remove every obstacle from their path! Build the road and make it ready!"
Psalm 143:10 - You are my God; teach me to do Your will. Be good to me, and guide me on a safe path.
Proverbs 20:24 - The Lord has determined our path; how then can anyone understand the direction his own life is taking?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Autumn Splendor

Here we are almost mid October! We are nearing peak colors in our little corner of New England. Our backyard forest seems to have changed very quickly! Very soon we will again be able to see the forest floor and be able to view the full three acres we own in the backyard. When the leaves are down we have a beautiful view of a winding, rock laden creek approximately 1000 feet behind the tree line. Joshua's room on the second floor has the most beautiful view of the creek. In a few weeks I'll try to remember to post a picture from his window!
Our backyard foliage

Our town hall foliage taken yesterday.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Colossians Study

Here we are...the last week in September already! The leaves are beginning to change and fall from the trees already and the farmers almanac says we are in for a rough winter! The squirrels around our neighborhood are busier than I've ever seen them, collecting nuts for their storehouses.

Last week I began a new bible study on Colossians, and it has been terrific!

Do you know about the SOAP personal study plan online? (Click on soap for the link)

S = Scripture
O= Observation
A= Application
P= Prayer

Today's verse came from Colossians 1:19-20:

"For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on the earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross."

I'm in awe that God is pleased to settle my sin account with the blood of Jesus. The thought just blows my mind. I'm so thankful to be reconciled with God because of who Jesus is and the ultimate price He paid for my sins. When I see the beauty of the autumn colors begin to transform in front of my eyes I think of God reconciling Himself on earth. He created these trees to be spectacularly brilliant in color only to take them to dust and crumbles. With the snow comes purity of white flakes...Then in the springtime beauty again! Amazing!

It has been nice to just slow down and think about all that Jesus has done in my life. I have so much to be thankful for and I am choosing to dwell on things above rather than things on earth.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A New Season

There is something about fall that I absolutely dread. The end of warm summer days, the end of unplanned calendars and the end of long daylight hours. The same thing happens every year. About two weeks before school starts, I begin to reminisce about the carefree summer time and dread the upcoming season. Every year, a few weeks into the school year I begin to be thankful for the current season and begin to anticipate the upcoming season.

Emily loves fall. Her birthday is in December, so she has building excitement every year and really enjoys the cool temperatures and snow. She and I have an annual tradition of making home made applesauce in our food mill. The house smells like autumn when we prepare and cook the applesauce. In years past we have been unsuccessful freezing it because we enjoy eating it so much! This year I am hoping to get some in the freezer and frozen before the happy apple snatchers can gobble it up!

Emily is in seventh grade this year. She tried out for soccer and made the JV team! Her first game is next week on the home field and we are all looking forward to watching her play! She is also active with her youth group at church and will be attending the Club JV Retreat. There is so much excitement about going on this weekend trip. The energy of this age takes me back to when I was 13. So many emotions, physical changes and serious conversations!

Joshua loves fall also. He does not care for leaf season so much now that we live on 3 acres of heavily wooded land. We only clear leaves off of approximately 1 acre but it is still a BIG job! Since moving here his leaf clearing skills have definitely been sharpened. Josh is a junior this year and is enjoying being home schooled again this year. What a blessing it is to have him home! The resources available are extraordinary and we are thrilled with his curriculum. Josh continues to see his friends every week and we enjoy having them around! Joshua's cousin, Amber, is the same age and is home 3 days a week doing school work online. They keep each other company with texts, Skype and an occasional mid day Minecraft game.

Ken is doing great and anxious to hear the results of his upcoming blood work. He has lost over 30 lb. in the last 6 months by exercising, eating well and traveling to China where seafood gets old really quick. The software project he is directing worldwide will go live January 1st. Traveling for him should diminish significantly after that occurs. We have become very creative with our communication in different time zones. I am so thankful for his heart and love for his family! The Lord has truly blessed me with a special man.

Today, I began an online bible study with Good Morning Girls . We are studying Colossians using the  SOAP online journal. (Click on each for a direct link) For some reason, most of the studies around me this fall were on Revelations. I found it quite odd. I am sure there is a good reason but I felt the Lord leading me to be home with Joshua and complete the Colossians study. Leave me a comment or email me if you would like to join me!

May the Lord fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way. Colossians 1:9

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Speedy Summers

Ok ~ can anyone tell me why winter drags and summer flies by way too fast? Summer always appears to be such a long period of time right after school is over. Then way too quickly it seems like we are asking where summer went!
Testing the water at Hammonasset State Park Beach in Connecticut

We have one week to go before school starts! It has been a good summer, full of a nice mix of fun times and down time. We had one trip to the beach in South Carolina and one trip to Ohio to see family. We've had lots of friends over to "hang out" and have enjoyed our first full summer with Buddy, our 1 year old Golden Retriever. He sure has added an active, fun element to our home! He is a wonderful companion and friend. He keeps us laughing with his impressive hunting skills! How does he know how to rob birds nests and catch small varmints? I guess it just proves that every living thing is fearfully and wonderfully made by our magnificent Creator!

One of many baths after Buddy jumped in the creek! 

Our Connecticut weather has been unusually wet this year.  Our grass looks great and we have not watered once! Our lawn mower has been in the shop being repaired for the last several weeks. Josh is looking forward to it being returned so he can earn some money cutting grass! We are kind-of wondering if we will have an early fall as we dipped into the mid 50's last night already with an accompanying dew. It was so nice to turn off the air conditioner! We were actually closing windows by this morning due to the cool, brisk air!

Ken spent a month in China in July for work, was home for two weeks and left to go back to China for another few weeks. He is in charge of a large financial software implementation at his company's factory there. We miss him terribly and this summer has been extremely odd without him here. Married for 20 years next May, he and I are closer than we have ever been. Skype is great but doesn't even begin to cure the heartache of missing him while he is so far away for so long.

In other news, our family had been praying for one of Emily's friends at school named Rachel. Emily and Rachel went to 4th, 5th and half of 6th grade together before Rachel was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma. Rachel's battle was ten long, grueling months when she died last week from it. Both of our children had prayed regularly for Rachel, and helped raise money for her. This was the first time either of them experienced the death of someone they knew. Rachel's family communicated regularly with our school community and even though we were all praying for a miracle, her death was not unanticipated. None of the harsh cancer treatments worked. The Lord chose to take her home to be with Him.

We attended Rachel's Life Honoring Service as a family and it was beautiful. Both of Rachel's parents spoke and it was clearly the Lord that gave them the peace and presence of mind to endure their painful testimonies. They could have hidden and wallowed in their understandable pain, but they chose to rise up and give testimony of how mightily the Lord worked in this difficult time. It was truly and experience none of us will ever forget.
We love you Rachel (1999-2012)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Summer Sprints...

It has been a busy few weeks for us in the Ward family! Currently, three of us are finally home for the summer and getting into a summer groove.

Ken has been in China for the last several weeks and has one more week to go before he comes home. We miss him terribly and we have kept somewhat busy to pass the time. Not a lot of picture taking on this trip as he is trying to accomplish a great deal of work so he does not have to go back there.

Last Saturday he sent me this picture of himself in front of a 5 story marketplace near Shenzhen.

Shopping in China

He did not enjoy the fact that he was alone or the stifling discomfort of the 110 degree heat! He said the venue had booth after booth, floor after floor of the same stuff. It was hot and everyone touched him because they wanted him to spend money at their booth. He decided rather quickly it was not an experience he would ever repeat! I'm so thankful he got back to his room safe and unharmed.

View from his hotel.

While Ken has been gone, we have been in Ohio visiting. It had been a year since we had been back and it was so nice to see family. It seems like we go days...even months without seeing a familiar face where we live now. Sad that we can still say that after living in Connecticut two years. The fact of the matter is that people are just too busy to invest in the lives of others, especially newcomers. 

My parents are doing very well. My dad still works at his printing business and my mom works from home and does all of the financials. The whole family got together for Sunday dinner and I finally managed to get a picture with my brother AND sister. This picture has not happened in probably close to 20 years. 

Lisa, Scott, Debbie

The kids, my niece(Amber) and I made our annual trip to Cedar Point. We had a hot day and short wait times! Josh announced that since he was 9 inches taller this year the rides did not seem so big to him! I laughed so hard at his innocent revelation!

Amber, Josh, Em, Me

The second part of our trip we stayed with Ken's parents. They are both doing well and keeping busy with Quinn, our (soon to be 8 years old) nephew. Ken's dad still plays golf once a week and Ken's mom enjoys her gardening and politics. Their town has a beautiful pool complex that we got to swim in. 

Trying to scoot across Lily pads!

This completes my update on the last few weeks of our summer! Now that we are home we will enjoy the Olympics, play with Buddy, dive into summer reading, sleep in AND get organized for eleventh grade and seventh grade this school year! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

In the Blink of an Eye

Summer is flying by! It seems as if we just finished school, but the reality is that it has been one month already. It is so great to be away from the hectic schedule and pace. Especially that busy end of the year pace. I'm so thankful for this time, the warm weather and all the fun activities that summer entails.

This summer has been relatively quiet so far. Emily went to Hershey Pennsylvania with a friend and enjoyed seeing the area and making her own chocolate bar.

"I love chocolate!!!!"

Are we cute or what?
Em has also been busy playing with Buddy and has taught him the most energetic game of hide and seek we have ever witnessed! Buddy just turned 1 and is showing signs of calming down. (((whew)))

Josh keeps himself busy and has quite the social life. He enjoys his air-soft guns and has regular battles with his friends. Their latest discovery was when they shook up a can of soda and threw it in the air and shot it in the backyard. The sound of awe and amazement from he and his friends was priceless!

Josh recently flew to Ohio by himself for the first time. My sister's family invited him to stay with them for the week before our annual summer visit next week. Josh was not nervous about flying alone at all. He was ready for the adventure - I'm not sure I was! The trip went fine and he is enjoying his time away.

Bye Josh!

Enjoying a car show with his cousin, Amber and Uncle Wally.
Our hearts have been heavy recently with the recent news about two men Ken has worked with that have had unexpected catastrophic health emergencies. One narrowly survived and the other one died. Both had massive heart attacks and were in their mid 50's. Both were strong, successful men at the peak of their careers.

This has been a good reminder for us about the frailty of life. In Psalm 90:12 it says: (Lord) "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
You could easily say that by putting a number on our days we are told in this verse to prioritize our days. Be wise and cut out all the insignificant wastes of time.We have had many hours of discussion about this. Both quality time as a family and also our quality one on one time have been moved to the top of our lists of things to improve. Our prayers are with the family's of the men who will forever be living with the memories of how life used to be.

No eye has seen, 
no hear has heard,
 no human mind has conceived 
the things that God has 
prepared for those who love Him.
 1 Corinthians 2:9

Monday, June 18, 2012

Good to Get Away

Our annual June pilgrimage to Myrtle Beach went without any difficulties or delays this year! We even added a passenger to our trip and had our niece Amber go along with us!

Our 14 hour van ride was a bit long....but very worth it! The weather was fabulous and cool compared to previous years we have traveled to South Carolina. The hottest it reached was the low 80's!

The view from our condo!

Ken had the opportunity to golf several times with some friends we meet down there and he really enjoyed his game! While he golfs, the kids and I go out to breakfast and to one of the many putt putt courses in the area for some fun.
Pirates Cove

Fun in Pirate Jail! 

I love hibiscus!

After golfing and putt putt we meet up at the beach and or pool for the afternoon. We all enjoyed the perfect temperature in the ocean. The kids swam for hours trying to perfect their body surfing techniques!

Emily, Amber and Josh

Myrtle Beach

Body surfing for hours!

This vacation was so restful and fun. The time went by way too fast! What a blessing to be at the ocean and witness firsthand it's beauty and power. There is something about the sights, sounds and smells of the ocean. In my opinion, our magnificent Creator really outdid Himself when He created the ocean!  The Chris Tomlin song, "How can I keep from singing your praise?" always sticks in my head when we are at the shore.
How can I keep from singing Your praise
                                            How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing
So thankful!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Holding Hands and Heart Strings

This past weekend I celebrated the 18th anniversary of my 25th birthday! I would really prefer to plan and celebrate someone else's birthday rather than my own. It hasn't always been that way...but as more and more years go by, I'd just rather not celebrate my birthday!      

This year, I was incredibly blessed to have my parents travel to be with our family for my celebration! For the last 16 years, our family has moved around the country 5 different times and the joy of celebrating my birthday with my parents has not been possible. It is hard to describe how special it was to hear them tell stories about my childhood and the events on the actual day of my birth - not over the phone...but in person! We made some sweet memories and had some rich quality time with them, all for which I am truly thankful. The Lord has blessed me with an amazing family. Nothing else in the whole entire world comes close to touching this awesome gift.

One of the things that has amused Ken and I over the years is watching my parents hold hands while they eat.  This is only possible IF your spouse eats with the opposite favored hand that you have. My mom is right handed and my dad is left handed. This makes holding hands possible while eating dinner! This is only one small example of the cute things my parents do after being married 52 years. They are an inspiration and an incredible example to the many, many eyes watching them.

This last year of my life has proven to be by far the most stressful year I have ever experienced. Without going in to details, I can honestly say the challenges our family faced with other "Christians" were enough to shake our faith at it's core. It was during these times that we reflected on the many ways over time that the Lord has mightily shown His hand in our lives. He reminded us that HE is still in control and that even though we might not understand the "why" in our lives, He is molding us for His good. This year I chose my life verse! This is the truth and wisdom that helped me through some very difficult nights.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 
1 Corinthians 15:58

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Priorities and list making.

Well, I am not blogging very regularly as I had originally planned. This time of year always catches me off guard. Keeping up with end of year school projects, calculating final home school hours and grades, gardening, summer planning, spring cleaning, finding summer clothes to fit the kids. (both have grown 2 sizes since last summer!) :-)


I wish I was a better at listing priorities. It seems like for years whatever and whoever was screaming the loudest got my first and foremost attention. Now, in the current stage of life, I don't have such urgency but certain tasks need to be prioritized. I've considered making a master list. Taking the time to write things down and get tasks on paper is a new habit I need to develop.

One of the lessons we are learning in our home is about being direct. No one likes to guess about feelings, moods or tasks needing accomplished. If someone is having a difficult day they need to speak up so others don't take a short abrupt response personally. Clear definitions of expectations and consequences are difficult to achieve sometimes. It's funny how we as parents grow up right along side our children sometimes.

I'm so thankful that our family has open hearts and minds to learn new things and try new ways of improving. It's healthy to have conflict sometimes, but it also healthy to keep trying to improve communication.

I'd love to learn more about how other families prioritize and communicate. Please leave me a comment and tell me how your home works!

                                Live your life walking in His light. #tworship ♪♫•*¨*•.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Heart of the Matter

Ken arrived home safely from China! What a relief! He was gone for a few weeks and it seemed like an eternity! A friend told me I should plot on a map where exactly he was so the kids could see and learn about where he was.  I could not bring myself to do it. I didn't want to know how far away he was! It might sound ridiculous - but for me, having no family around and living in the desert, I could not stand to know exactly how very far away he was.  I can tell you that when he returned it was truly the feeling of Christmas in our home and extreme joy in my heart! We are SO happy he is back!

Hong Kong 
Hong Kong Night view from 33 stories UP

So far the only pictures I have seen have been from Hong Kong. Ken and his co workers flew in and out of this major city on their trip. Their destination was a 90 minute fairy ride plus a one hour shuttle ride from Hong Kong. 

Our first stop after picking him up from his long return trip was Outback Steakhouse. He could not wait to sink his teeth into some cooked American food! He likes seafood a lot....but not so much as he would want to eat it raw and every day. Oddly enough, Kentucky Fried Chicken has a large presence where he was. Seems like one extreme to another as we don't frequent fast food at all at home. It was nice to have the option though. 

Ken has spent much of the last few days asleep and attempting to overcome jet lag. It has been funny to see the kids sit near him just to simply be with him even if he was in dreamland. Emily built puzzles on the floor next to him and kept covering him up. Josh did some schoolwork near his dad just to be close to him. For me, words cannot describe how happy I am that he is home! Sleeping has been returning to normal as I don't sleep very well while he is gone. Prayerfully he won't have to go back to China for a while. We selfishly prefer him to be home with us! :-)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Good News!

Yesterday, Emily and I traveled to Boston to see her specialist to follow up for her kidney problem. Emily has had trouble with water remaining in her kidneys on and off for the last 7 years. No one really knows why this happens, the suspicion is that the reason for this happening is just part of the way she was created inside. Our hope and prayer is that she out grows this ongoing issue as it has caused her pain and other uncomfortable problems.

The good news from our visit is that the doctor does not feel it is necessary for us to return to see him unless we have a new symptom develop! We have very specific instructions about how to monitor her and how to proceed if anything new were to occur.  We are so thankful for this good news!

Through this whole process of seeing multiple specialist and all of the uncomfortable tests Emily has gone through, we have been amazed at how intricate our bodies function. In Psalm 139 it says:

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.                                                       I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Everything inside our bodies was designed to work in a very delicate balance all together. What a miracle that we were created this way! What a miracle that some very intelligent scientists have figured out a way to diagnose our intricate functions! Thank you for your continued prayer for Emily.  These next few months are important for her continued improvement. 

After seeing the specialist, Emily and I decided to grab a quick fun lunch in downtown Boston. This was very brave of us as it was pouring down rain with miserable 45 degree temperatures.  We ended up in the financial district at the Quincy Market! Parking was a riot and we could not find a garage that was not closed due to being full to capacity. After giving my, "if mom doesn't find something in the next five minutes we'll have to go someplace else" lecture...we found an open garage. (for a mere $29/hr.) Lunch was great and the shopping was really different and fun. We are looking forward to going back on a nicer weather day so we can actually see the harbor and skyline.  It was all fogged in yesterday! 

Actually crawled inside a Boston photo taxi to get this
poor quality memento.

Em in front of Quincy Market.

Harvard Medical School.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Heart Strings

Okay, so it's been a crazy week and my plan to blog a few times each week has not happened! I've been reading blogs about blogging and I've decided that some people are just a whole lot more creative than I am! My biggest surprise was that there actually is a planner for bloggers. You can make a plan one week in advance about what you will blog about. With the age and stage of life we are in right now that would not be possible, but maybe someday I could make a plan.

This week was full of craziness that is for sure.  With Ken being in China it seems that anything that could happen has happened. Mom says that the evil one would like nothing better than to stir things up for me while Ken is gone.  After thinking about it for a while I completely agree with her observation. I'm officially taking up spiritual warfare and claiming victory for our family for this upcoming week. :-)

There were some proud moments this week:
              - Josh completed most of his tasks this week without prompting. He even completed some common household duties without being asked!
               - Emily decked another girl in 6th grade for biting her. We don't support retaliation by any means but in this case it was necessary and it likely won't happen again. There is a fine line between tolerance and defense.
               - I stood up to an adult bully this week. The Lord gave me the words to put this woman in her place and let her know how immature she was behaving. By the grace of God I am not by nature a person who can verbally confront another adult with a selfish agenda. Through this event we were able to receive a clear answer from the Lord about how to handle a situation we have been in.
               - Josh took a stand with his friends and did not enter Spencer Gifts in the mall with his friends. He told them his mom said it was not a good place and that he should not enter the store. He stood outside while his friends went in. It is so nice to see good things coming from our children. What an encouragement.
                -Emily attended her first youth group weekend trip! So fun to see her pack and check off the packing list just like her dad does! :-)
               - Josh revisited his harmonica playing and blessed my socks off! There is just something about the hymn "How Great Thou Art" on the harmonica.
               - Buddy (our 10 month old Golden Retriever) managed to stop eating the deck. Maybe we have crossed over the "chew on everything" stage of puppy hood?

My next blog will probably be about our Boston trip this Tuesday. Emily has her regularly scheduled kidney check up with the specialist. We are planning on doing some sightseeing after our appointment.
I'm looking forward to seeing the historic sights with the kids! We've been there so many times for appointments but haven't had the time to explore. This time we are making the time to see all we can see in an afternoon! It will be quick - but fun!

 He has shown all you people what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Considerate Blessings

Wow, it is just amazing how fast this past week of Spring Break went! 

Our weather was dry and pleasantly warm for a change! Our time during Spring Break was spent catching up on sleep, hanging out with friends, sleepovers, trips to the mall with friends, outside adventures with our dog Buddy, Lego building and quality time with each other! What a blessing to have this kind of a week with our happy, healthy family. 

Photo booth at the mall!

Building with Legos.

"The Bat Cave"

One of the things we are working on as a family in our home is being considerate of each other. This does not apply to only when we want something, but all of the time. No matter how we feel, and no matter how much time we may or may not have. Why is this so important?

In Philippians 2 it says to "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." This still doesn't answer the question of "why." Why should we be considerate of the interests of others and value others above ourselves? The answer, "because you are supposed to" just doesn't cut it in our family. The Lord created very inquisitive minds in our family and it is up to us parents to continuously point our children to the cross with clear explanations of "why". It's exhausting sometimes, but totally worth it in the end! 

The best answer we could come up with is basically because being considerate is a way of demonstrating the love we have for each other. Most importantly, being considerate is a good reflection of Jesus being at work in our lives. In Deuteronomy 6 it says, "These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

When discussing this issue with a friend recently, she confessed that this issue was a major ongoing problem in her family. She said it was rare if someone thought of anyone else's feelings or schedule when making plans to do something. She and I decided to tackle this issue by covering it with a lot of prayer and seeking the Lord for wisdom on how to best permanently install being considerate in each of our family members hearts. Love covers a multitude of things, including being considerate. 

How are we going to approach being considerate when we have all been born as selfish creatures? With a lot of prayer and with tons of discussion. Our family has dinner together every night at the kitchen table and it is the perfect time to discuss the days progress of our project of becoming considerate. Also, talking through how we feel when things are done without being considerate is a good tool as well. 

I've been guilty of not conveying my expectations to my family. I haven't spelled things our for them. My expectations are cleverly disguised in my head most of the time! Prayerfully, this will change and we can all learn to communicate what we expect from each other and become more considerate in the process. No one likes a guessing game. No one wants to go through life wondering what would or would not be the right action to take within their family. 

Be considerate. Pray.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


In Connecticut, we pay a five cent deposit on top of the regular purchase price for every can and bottle we purchase. For example, if you purchase a 24 pack of water you pay the $4.99 plus $1.20 for the deposit.

To get your money back you have to visit one of these antiquated old machines at the grocery store and feed your can/bottle in one at a time.

I dislike this job with a passion and procrastinate taking the bags that accumulate in the garage to the store with me when I go. Since it is spring break this week I took one of my happy assistants with me to help feed the items in. We had fun trying to estimate how many items we actually had in our 5 garbage bags. (sigh....)  This trip was our biggest cash in ever with 242 items which calculated to a $12.10 refund! (I hadn't done this chore since Christmas) The machine eventually prints out a ticket with your dollar amount on it and you present it to the cashier when checking out with your groceries.

We do have the option to put all of these items on the curb on garbage day, but if we do this we don't receive our deposit back. I'm too stingy to let Connecticut keep my money!

I'm happy to follow the rules and do my part to help the environment by recycling. I'm also happy to teach our children to value every penny the Lord provides for us. I just wish there was a different method to the madness. Feeding cans and bottles into a machine one at a time in an era of such great technology seems a bit ridiculous. Do you agree?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Father and Son Bonding

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 
~Ephesians 5:1–2

A few weeks ago, Ken and Joshua traveled to Atlanta to see friends, attend our home church and see the Master's Practice round.  This was the first time they had traveled anywhere for leisure without us girls! Ken has attended the Master's every year for the last 16 years or so. He was able to take his dad and Joshua about 12 years ago. Joshua did not remember this as he was so young. Ken has wanted to take Joshua again and this year the schedule worked out so they could go!

They were only gone two nights, but they packed in a weeks worth of sight seeing in those three full days! They visited both of our former neighborhoods (lived there for 10 years), World of Coke, Pappadeaux Seafood, Legacy Station Train Store, Perimeter Church, Buffalo Wild Wings with Jay :-), Discovery Mills, Benny Shoes,Chick Fil A, McAlister's Deli and finally, The Master's in Augusta!

Unlike me, they left home without an agenda. Totally winged it like guys sometimes do and had a blast together! They are still talking about all of the fun they had on their trip. Finally today I got around to downloading the pictures they took on their trip. These were my favorites:

We have recently been learning the value of quality time with each other. It is so important to make a priority of stopping the busy pace of life and spending time one on one with each other. It doesn't have to be a big trip like Ken and Josh took. Even throwing the ball in the backyard is good quality time spent.

It is our prayer that we can continue to value each other in our family by spending time together. How sad that we have to remind ourselves of this, but extremely important that we work it into our hectic daily lives!