So, Jason and I were sitting in the living room the other night and after a few minutes we both looked at each other and said, "Where's Ben and Abby? It sure is quiet." It was so obvious because we had actually exchanged a few sentences with each other without being interrupted. We called out to them and they were in the front room (we call the library because that's where we keep all our books). Abby chimes in with "It's snowing!" As we came around the corner, here's what we saw...
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Close your eyes for a minute and picture yourself inside a Norman Rockwell village. Words like quaint and picturesque might come to mind as you envision an all-American village with a town center surrounded by neighborhoods adorning Victorian and Colonial homes. Now open your eyes and you are standing in Chagrin Falls, Ohio (www.chagrinfalls.net). This place is beyond adorable! This is not a town you find just anywhere. Chagrin Falls sits in a valley, so to speak, and gets its name from the falls in the center of the town.
Sitting at the top of the falls is the Chagrin Falls Popcorn Shop where we frequently visit for yummy popcorn and/or ice cream. If you come to visit us, this will be a stop on our tour for sure!
Over the Memorial Day weekend, we got to experience Blossom in Chagrin Falls, a tradition that brings thousands of people into the village. It's a family festival with carnival rides and games, fair foods, local bands and much more! One thing we have enjoyed in Ohio is the festivals and fairs. Blossom will now be on our list of things to do each Memorial Day weekend. The kids had a blast!
Thank goodness for the "kids always win" booths!
Hold on tight!
Sunday afternoon small town parade...
Fun for all!
Sunday, May 25, 2008
This is our friend Alexis. Alex is in Ben's preschool class this year at Laurel. When we first met Alex, we immediately loved her. She has the most beautiful blue eyes and a gorgeous smile to go with them. She is sweet and loving and has the best laugh. In November of '07, Alex was diagnosed with cancer and immediately began rigorous chemotherapy treatments. She is an AMAZING little girl who is so brave and so strong. I know several of you have been praying for Alex and your prayers are being answered! Alex's family has a website with frequent updates regarding her progress.
Please add this website to your bookmarks as you continue to pray for her and witness the Lord's healing touch in her life:
Friday, May 23, 2008
Some of you may be familiar with Steven Curtis Chapman, a Christian recording artist who has hundreds of songs that many of us have listened to for several years and even sung ourselves in our own worship services. If you know him, you've probably already heard of the tragedy his family is enduring. Their youngest daughter, Maria, was killed on Wednesday after being run over by his teenage son, a tragic accident. My heart feels so heavy for them. So, please pray for them at this time. If you want to leave a comment for their family, you can do so here.
Monday, May 19, 2008
I remember singing the song "Jesus Loves Me" as a child and it was one of the first songs I taught my children. The words go like this: Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong; they are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me; yes, Jesus loves me; yes, Jesus loves me; the Bible tells me so. Some of you probably grew up singing the same song and have, in turn, taught it to your children.
I admit that there are times that it's difficult for me to believe these words, I mean truly believe and trust that I am loved by the Lord and that He wants the best for me. Doubt and insecurities seem to resound louder in my mind and heart than the quiet, peaceful, embracing love of my Heavenly Father. It's much easier for me to believe that He feels this way about others around me than He truly feels this for me. Pretty pitiful, huh? But, I know I'm not alone in these feelings. My mind knows one thing and yet it's difficult for my heart to follow. I have my theories as to why and those are left to privacy, but there are many things that can prevent us from fully experiencing God's love for us: sins we've committed and have been committed against us, loss of a loved one or dream, financial struggles, broken relationships, illness, a troubled childhood, etc. It's in times like these that we must truly examine what it is we know and what it is we believe. We live in a fallen world that is full of sin and as Christians, we must filter through what is of this world and what is of the Lord.
Throughout the Bible, there are examples of God's love, and the ultimate example is the sacrifice of his only Son, Jesus Christ. Have you read this story? Do you know that God gave His son for you and for me? If you haven't read it lately, read it here: John 3:16-18 (The Message)
I fully believe that our Christian journey is a journey filled with times of doubt and questioning. Just as the seasons change throughout the year, so do our seasons of faith. There are times when it's so easy for me to follow, easy for me to believe, knowing without a doubt I am a child of God, much like we know in the summer the sun will shine and the birds will sing. And then there are times when I question, I doubt, I have a hard time believing that He would really do all this for me, much like a season of winter when nothing blooms, creation is gray and dark. Yet, revival always comes when I am again reminded of Who has given me life, Who has given me hope, Who loves me and Who gave His son as a sacrifice for my sins just like spring, when creation is revived, full of color and full of promise.
So, don't be discouraged if you have questions or doubts. When they hover, turn to the Word of God and remind yourself that the story is written for you. Pray more often and this will make you feel closer to God even when He feels distant. Above all, remember what faith is...faith is believing even when we can't see (or feel).
Jesus loves me, this I know...do you?
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Disclaimer: This is in no way a reflection of my husband...just a funny email I received that brought me some good chuckles...Enjoy!THE NEXT SURVIVOR SERIESSix married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks.Each kid will play two sports and either take music or dance classes.There is no fast food.Each man must take care of his 3 kids; keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework, and complete science projects, cook, do laundry, and pay a list of 'pretend' bills with not enough money.In addition, each man will have to budget in money for groceries each week.Each man must remember the birthdays of all their friends and relatives, and send cards out on time.Each man must also take each child to a doctor's appointment, a dentist appointment and a haircut appointment.He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the Urgent Care.He must also make cookies or cupcakes for a social function.Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house, planting flowers outside and keeping it presentable at all times.The men will only have access to television when the kids are asleep and all chores are done.The men must shave their legs, wear makeup daily, adorn himself with jewelry, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep fingernails polished and eyebrows groomed.During one of the six weeks, the men will have to endure severe abdominal cramps, back aches, and have extreme, unexplained mood swings but never once complain or slow down from other duties.They must attend weekly school meetings, church, and find time at least once to spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting.They will need to read a book each night and in the morning, feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb their hair by 7:00 a.m.A test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will be required to know all of the following information: each child's birthday, height, weight, shoe size, clothes size and doctor's name. Also the child's weight at birth, length, time of birth, and length of labor, each child's favorite color, middle name, favorite snack, favorite song, favorite drink, favorite toy, biggest fear and what they want to be when they grow up.The kids vote them off the island based on performance. The last man wins only if... he still has enough energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment's notice.If the last man does win, he can play the game over and over and again for the next 18-25 years eventually earning the right to be called Mother!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
...why I love being a mom:
Thank you, Lord, for my children. Thank you for entrusting them to me for their time here on earth. Help me every day to be loving and kind, nurturing and encouraging, inspiring and motivating. Help me every day to show Your love to them through my actions and words. Grant me patience, Lord, in abundance! What precious treasures they are to me. Protect them, Lord, from all the things of this world that would seek to do them harm. I pray that as they grow, they grow to love You, to trust You, to believe in You and to be like You. ~Amen.
Last week, Grandma came to visit! It was so nice having her here. Grandma was here Tuesday night through Sunday afternoon. We had a great visit (even though a couple of us ended up under the weather). Jason and I loved seeing Grandma and having an extra "referee" in the house, and the kids loved having Grandma here. The week was filled with lots of playing, good eats, an early birthday celebration for Emily, and visits to the museum and zoo, not to be outdone by lots of snuggling. Ben was walking taller when Grandma visited his school on Grandparents Day. Although I don't think Ben has a future in performing (was not into his performance at all!), he lit up when he was able to show Grandma his classroom and build a habitat for butterflies (of the rubbery kind). Come back soon, Grandma! We miss you and love you!
Playing dress-up - "Adventure Girl"
Happy early birthday, Em!
(more to come in June...)
Grandparents Day at Laurel School
Future entomologist at work...
Thank you for coming, Grandma!
Monday, May 5, 2008
So, maybe this is why I couldn't come up with anything profound. We didn't find Jesus in our front yard. Rather, we found St. Joseph. I've never heard of doing this, but apparently the owners of this house had.
Check it out: Sell your house quickly!
(with help from St. Joseph)
Saturday, May 3, 2008
I will sing for joy in God,
explode in praise from deep in my soul!
He dressed me up in a suit of salvation,
he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness...
For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers,
and as a garden cascades with blossoms,
So the Master, God, brings righteousness into full bloom
and puts praise on display before the nations.
Isaiah 61:10-11 (The Message)
Emily and I have decided that God is definitely an artist. While we are sleeping at night, He pulls out his palette and His best brushes and goes to work. When we wake up in the morning, His creation is more beautiful than the day before. Living in Texas all our lives has not really given us the opportunity to experience true spring; you know, the kind of spring when everything appears to be dead and then, right on cue, comes back to life. Yards are sporting daffodils (or "dappodils" as Abby calls them), tulips, hostas and beautiful flowering trees. Only God can bring such beauty into a land that has been gray and "dead" for several months. But, isn't that exactly who He is? He does this same wonder in our lives every day. Each day can be spring when we are walking with the Lord. All our mistakes and things we've done wrong are painted over with the touch of the Master's brush. All it takes is our willingness to give Him the palette.
Tulips are everywhere...
These trees are in our front yard...
Pretty in pink...
Ready to burst...
More from the backyard...
These are growing, too!