Monday, June 30, 2008

Another amazing story!

Wow! My mom told me about Patrick Henry Hughes. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky. There are many more videos on Youtube if you want to see more. His family even received an Extreme Home Makeover in November of 2007.

Patrick was born without eyes and with a condition that doesn't allow him to fully extend his arms and legs. As a very young child, his father noticed an unusual musical talent and ability. This is worth watching and reading more.



Sunday, June 29, 2008

Amazing story!

If you have not heard of the Hoyt family, specifically the father and son team, this story is worth the few minutes of viewing, I promise! I've seen their story on Oprah (which, by the way, I do not watch anymore) and in a couple of church services. 

I cannot even imagine the sacrifice and perseverance of this father and yet I'm sure his joy far exceeds his sacrifice. I think of a day when it's just hard for me to be mom to my three kids because I'm tired. Please take the time to watch this and share with your friends and family. It's an inspiration for sure and an incredible reminder of what is important in this life...sharing Christ's amazing love with our friends and family.




Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Angels are Rejoicing...and so am I!

"Count on it - there's more joy in heaven over one sinner's rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue."     ~Luke 15:7 (The Message)

This past week, we had so much fun at Vacation Bible School at our church. The program was Group's "Power Lab" and the kids learned about Jesus's power and how He gives it to us. He gives us the power to be thankful, to help others, to be brave, to live forever and to tell others about him. I had six 4-year-olds with me this week and I think I still have not fully recovered! Wow...they are busy! I have a new appreciation for preschool teachers for sure!

Emily, Ben & Abby had a blast and were talking about "PBS" (as Ben and Abby call it) all week long. The kids had a chance to bring an offering as the church had set a goal of $2,000 for the week to be able to purchase 250 soccer balls to send to South Africa. Praise God that the offering totaled a little more than $3,500 at the closing ceremony yesterday!

During the closing ceremony, there was a time for kids who had invited Jesus to be their "forever friend" for the very first time to stand up and to be prayed over. There were 39 kids out of the 365 there that had made this decision to accept the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. As I look across the room, I see Emily standing up! I immediately teared up and couldn't wait to call Jason. We went out for a celebratory lunch and continued the dialogue of questioning her to make sure she understood what it was she had committed to that morning. She understands completely. 

I cannot tell you the depth of emotion Jason and I have felt since yesterday. 

Lord, what a joy it is as Emily's mom to see her understand the gift you've given and to accept that gift as her own. What a joy it is to see her commit her life to you and excited about sharing who you are with other people. I pray a special blessing over her precious life today, Lord. I pray that she will grow to be a beautiful daughter of the Heavenly King!    ~Amen.


Friday, June 27, 2008

What I'm Reading...



I cannot put this book down! It is by no means an intelligent, thought provoking book that will lead you to ponder it's writings for longer than the time the book is actually open. Alternatively, it's in every way a chic-book that is funny and easy to read, a grown-up fairy tale so to speak.  I'm not to the end of the book yet, so I don't know if it has a fairy tale ending, but the way it's going, I'd be surprised if it doesn't. So, if you need some light reading to get your mind off every day tasks, pick this one up at the library or Half-Price books and let me know what you think!




I'm also reading this book. I don't normally read two books at a time, but for some reason I'm giving it a try. This is an easy to read reminder of how God takes care of us. There are not any new concepts in this book, but if you are like me, I need all the reminders and re-direction possible to keep my mind and heart on track. If you are struggling with an issue and you don't see the light at the end of the tunnel, this is a great book to read and to be reminded of what's absolutely true...God will take care of you!

Monday, June 23, 2008

What a big girl!

Abby's had a big week! She now has a new pink potty and a new big girl bed. We thought it might be best to go ahead and move her to the toddler bed a few weeks before our big move. We had a pretty smooth first night, although I don't think she was actually asleep until about 10:00. Second night, no problems! She is so proud of her big bed! 

video


Just had to include this one, too. 
video


Yummy!

Thank you to my friend Lori for sharing this recipe. It's on the menu to go with our hamburgers on the grill tonight!

Corn Souffle

1 can whole kernel corn (undrained)
1 can cream style corn
1 8oz container of sour cream
1 stick butter (melted)
2 eggs (beaten)
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 Tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix all ingredients and pour into a greased 9x9 pan (or you can double the recipe and use a 9x13 pan).  Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Party Time!

Today was Emily's birthday party with her friends. The party was at a local pottery shop and each girl was able to choose a tile or animal to paint. Even Ben and Abby joined in the fun! Emily painted a dog with great detail, I might add. Ben went for the all over blue look with a duck and Abby opted for a pink robot. Poor Daddy had to finish the blue duck and pink robot when the attention spans ran out. Great party, great friends, great memories!

Who's ready for a party?

I like this one.

Keeping it simple...just blue for me.

Abby was very careful!



Thursday, June 19, 2008

What about Bob?


Remember these?

















Here they are today.
We even have blooms!

Firm Foundation

I cannot tell you how many times I have claimed this verse: Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it." ~Proverbs 22:6 (NLT) 

A beautiful garden begins with the tiniest of seeds, planted in rich soil, watered with TLC, pruned by the gardener's hands. The result is for all to enjoy. Our children are just like these little seeds.  It's up to us as their parents to plant them in a firm foundation, nurture them with Christ's love and direct and re-direct and re-direct and re-direct (you get the picture!) so they will be on the right path.

I came across this on the Proverbs 31 Ministries website and thought it was worth sharing with you. I know we all want to do our very best in making our home a nurturing, loving environment where our kids come to know the Lord and become who they were created to be through having Christ as the center of our homes. In today's world, it's so important that our children are grounded in the love of Christ and learn His truths.


10 Ways to Make Your Home a Haven

Here are ten ways you can make your home a haven in this shifting world: 

1. Let kindness reign. Determine to treat your children and spouse with the same sweetness you'd give a stranger you're trying to impress. Remember it's God's kindness that leads us to repentance. What makes us think anything different would evoke our children's repentance?

2. Welcome hard questions. It's okay to question. You did it, didn't you? Give your children the same leeway. Let them vent. Let them worry. Welcome their wrestling. Don't give pat answers; instead, let them work through their questions. Love them through a period of questioning.

3. Be there. Give your children the rare gift of your focused attention. Look into their eyes. Ask great questions. Relax alongside them. Dr. Ross Campbell says, "In short, focused attention makes a child feel he is the most important person in the world in his parents' eyes."

4. Limit media. Steer your children away from mindless interaction with the TV or video games. Set limits and stick to them. Dare to believe your children are creative, innovative kids who can create instead of idly recreate.

5. Play outside. We've lost the importance of outdoor play. Even if it means walking to the park with your kids, or swimming alongside them, or taking a nature hike, dare to move beyond the four walls of your home to venture out to see God's creation.

6. Weep and rejoice at the right times. We are to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice (Romans 12:15). When a child has a difficult day, scoop her into your arms and cry alongside. When she makes a great grade, jump up and down and celebrate with ice cream.

7. Cherish childhood. Our kids grow up so fast in this crazy culture. Keep them kids as long as you can. Let them play, run, stretch, linger. Limit activities when they're younger so they don't become little stressed-out adults at age ten.

8. Read together. The most haven-producing thing I do as a mommy is simply to read to my kids. I still read to my fourteen year old! Discover books on CD as a family, lessening the tedium of car rides without popping in a DVD. My kids have stayed in the car to listen to a story finish.

9. Laugh hard, but not at another's expense. Joking and laughter are blessings you can add to create a fun-loving haven, but be cautious not to laugh at your kids' expense or allow them to laugh at yours or others' expense. Watch funny, clean movies together. Tell jokes. Tell funny family stories over and over until they become ridiculous. A lighthearted family that doesn't take itself too seriously is a haven-home.

10. Practice God's presence in the mundane. Require chores of your kids. It teaches them important life skills. Even so, introduce joy as you work. Turn on the radio, dance, laugh. By learning to practice the presence of God during the chores of life, you create a productive, gratitude-based home.

Adapted from "Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture" (Harvest House, 2007)


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tug-of-War

Did you like playing tug-of-war as a child? I remember playing at recess or in P.E. class. It was one of my favorite games, I'll admit. I am very competitive by nature and this was the one game that gave me extra help to win the game! The best games, though were those that went back and forth between teams, not really sure who would have the victory, but persevering through the struggle with all the strength one could muster. And, oh the victory at the end of such games!

Sometimes, I feel as if my journey as a Christian is like a tug-of-war match. I've come to the point in my journey that I am ok with the fact that I have questions, that some of my questions will not have answers in my time on this earth, and it's ok to wrestle with my doubts. I've also learned that many other Christians wrestle with doubts as well. I've learned to tackle my doubts and answer my questions with words of Truth, words that have been given to me by the Word of God to use in my times of doubt, so that life may feel like a game of tug-of-war, but I know in the end, Who has won the victory for me.

In a world where there is so much pain and suffering, it's difficult to have all the answers; really, it's impossible. Yet, we want the answers and it becomes so simple to discount God and who He truly is because we can't explain Him in our terms. Why can't we be content with the fact that we may not have all the answers today, but one day, our understanding will be complete? There is so much about our Lord that we in our humanness cannot understand, yet on that glorious day when we are with Him for eternity, will see clearly. So, for now, I will continue to question and yet I will continue to believe, knowing I am not God, only created in His image to be like Him. In times of doubt and questioning, I know that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow because He has told me He is. The world changes and evil continues to plague creation, aiming to cloud our judgment and clarity. Now more than ever is the time to let go of the rope and give Him the lead.

"I don't think the way you think. The way you work isn't the way I work. For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think. Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don't go back until they've watered the earth, doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, so will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They'll do the work I sent them to do, they'll complete the assignment I gave them." ~Isaiah 55:10-11 (The Message)



Home Sweet Home


We found a house...finally! You wouldn't believe the struggle it's been for us to find a house. But, let me just say this: if one more house that we were interested in sold before we could get it, we were seriously considering a move back to Texas as it must have been a sign to get out of Ohio!

The house is in the neighborhood we wanted to be in on a beautiful street with lots of families with children. Most importantly, it feeds to the elementary school we want for Ben.  

Not to mention, it's absolutely beautiful!

Built in 1925


Loving this kitchen!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Please pray for our friend Alexis



Our friend Alexis is currently in her final round of chemo, the 14th round, by the way. Can you imagine?? She is scheduled for her final scans on July 10th, so please be on your knees leading up to that day and on that day for the best results, which of course means...NO CANCER! Please also pray for her family as they go through the anticipation stage leading to that day. It's been a long, difficult time for them, of course, but Alexis has proven herself to be an amazing, strong little girl. I'd say if I was composing a list of heroes today, Alexis would be at the top of my list. You can read an update from her parents here.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day...We love you!

"I love Daddy because I get to go watch the Indians with Dad." 
~Emily



"I love Daddy because he loves me." 
~Benjamin



"I love Daddy because I love Mommy."
~Abigail



"You are an amazing father and I am more than blessed to share this journey with you!"
~Mel


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Birthday Shopping

Emily and I spent the day today shopping with her birthday money (thanks to grandparents and great-grandmother). We had a great time together! She's definitely reached 8 with requests for a trip to Justice, Nicky Nicole, Claire's, Old Navy, Limited Too and Gymboree. We were very successful and I must brag on my little shopper. She bought things that were on sale and put many things back to save money for the next store. This is the first year the store requests have been like these. 

However, near the end of our adventure, I hear from the backseat, "Mom, can we go to Toys 'R Us, too?" I let out a quick and enthusiastic "YES!", hitting the pedal a little harder and turning the 4-Runner on two wheels to get there. I'm not ready for my little girl to be so grown up that our trips out with birthday money don't include the toy store! 

So, we were very successful in our shopping! Most importantly, we had a much needed mother-daughter day, just the two of us! I'm so glad my Emily loves to spend time with me. 


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Please pray today

If you've clicked on the link to Nathan and Tricia and Baby Gwyneth's blog, you have no doubt been touched by their story and amazed at the miracles God has performed in their lives over the past several months. They are once again in need of prayer. This is the excerpt from Nate's blog:

It seems that our story is far from over. 

We received a call from Duke this past Wednesday that theEpstein Virus (Mononucleosis) has been found in Tricia's system. This in and of itself is not necessarily a horrible thing, but on Thursday we received another call telling us that there are some growths in Tricia's lungs. These growths could be the first signs of a common type of cancer called Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder that develops in post-transplant patients, brought on by the mono virus because of the immunosuppressant drugs Tricia is now taking.

We'll be driving to Duke early Tuesday (tomorrow) morning to get a clinic visit in for Gwyneth, who has been breathing a little heavy and fast the past few days. It does not appear to be affecting her in any way, but it's something that needs to be checked out just in case.

Tricia has a PET Scan early Wednesday morning. She will probably also have a biopsy (where they'll remove a small part of her lungs). Hopefully this can be done via a bronchoscope. If not, they may need to perform a surgical biopsy. She'll most likely be admitted as an in-patient on Wednesday as well, hopefully for no more than a few days.

They should have a diagnosis within 24 hours of the biopsy.

If she indeed is diagnosed with PTLD, they will consult their oncology specialists to take over administering the Rituximab, which it is generally given weekly for a month or so.

It could all just be a fungus infection, but it appears pretty suspicious for the PTLD.

This is not something we were aware could happen (not that anything really surprises us anymore), and to be honest, we really don't know much about it or what could happen from here. The idea of going back to Duke and being in the hospital is not something that we really want to think about right now, as it really messes with our plans. We're not sure how long we'll be in Durham, but we're hoping we'll be back within a week.

So, once again, we find ourselves in an unfamiliar, and very scary place. But, if we have learned anything during this incredible journey, we’ve learned to simply trust God.

When I am at my weakest, He makes His strength most evident.

I'm believing more and more that, after this part of our journey is over, God will still be Who He is, no matter the outcome. My plans are only worth anything if they are God's plans, and thankfully, His plans are always perfect.

Jeremiah 29:11 (The Message)

I'll show up and take care of you as I promised
and bring you back home.
I know what I'm doing.
I have it all planned out -
plans to take care of you,
not abandon you,
plans to give you the future you hope for.

We have no reason to doubt that God is still in control. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers this week. I'll let you know when we know more about both of the girls.

Thanks!

Nate

Nate's blog is cfhusband.blogspot.com. Please pray for them this morning.