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!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring Fever!

Well, it's official. Our family has spring fever! Finally, we are on Spring Break next week! It seems like the whole country has been on Spring Break before us! We are so used to being off of school the week immediately following Easter. I guess this is just the way it has always been done in New England.

What a great feeling to be off school for a week! Our weather is supposed to warm up next week, the baby house wrens on the front porch have just hatched, the grass is greening up, heavy coats are being put away, the forest floor in the back of our house is slowly being covered with greenery! I love spring!
Two days ago we heard a mountain lion calling his/her mate out there! It was 10pm and I was taking Buddy out for the last time of the evening. I am so glad that we have not started the habit of sending him out alone. As soon as I opened the garage door we immediately heard the lion and he was very close by!! Buddy barked and we b-lined back inside and closed the garage door fast! I cracked open the sliding glass door so Ken could hear how close the lion was. He sounded way too close for our comfort!

A few nights prior to this Joshua heard several coyotes in the back yard at 3 am. It is safe to say the animals have emerged from the long winter!

So what are our plans for Spring Break? Catch up on rest, spring cleaning projects, a trip to the library, activities with friends, a trip to the mall, play outside, move a few plants in the flower bed and go fishing!

Ken is leaving for China next week on business and we are planning to spend as much quality time as possible with him before he is gone for 2 full weeks. He will be working durning the day next week but we will be home and can enjoy him when he gets home.  I dread the time when he is away. It does not happen very often, so I really do have to be thankful for that. Please don't even remind me how far away China is because it makes me miss him even more!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

When the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the covenant between me and earth. 
                                                                    Genesis 9:16

Today was a very strange weather day. One minute it was sunny, the next minute it was raining. The sun would warm the air then the rain would immediately cool the air. At one point this afternoon it even hailed!

Just as the sun was setting, I was finishing the preparations for dinner and realized it was sunny with a steady rain falling outside! I knew this was the perfect scenario for a rainbow to form. (I have been known to chase rainbows!)  Emily and I raced for the front door and sure enough....a double blessing was awaiting us outside! What a blessing to see it's enormous size covering both horizons! Emily and I squealed in delight and proudly snapped this picture as proof of our amazing experience!

We made such noise outside about seeing this double rainbow that Josh came running upstairs from the basement because he thought the house was on fire! I will not apologize for not being able to contain my joy when witnessing such a beautiful display from our Creator!

Seeing this miracle right outside our front door was such a gift and beautiful reminder of the power and majesty of our Savior.