Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fabulous Fall!

It's been a beautiful fall day, and the kids and their neighborhood friends have been running in and out of the house. They've chased our dog down the street, played football in the front yard, put together a "band," and played "Heart and Soul" on the piano more times than should be allowed in a busy, crazy household! :-) It's really fun when our dog decides to bark along with the playing. Fun times, for sure!

I'm in the middle of working on a little project that has been on my heart for years. I am praying that the Lord will bless my humble efforts and that He will be glorified through this little endeavor.

What little projects are you working on this holiday season? Are you baking goodies for the neighbors? Are you helping someone who is housebound with their Christmas shopping? Are you taking a meal to someone who is ill? Have you chosen an Angel Tree child or two to bless? Are you sending a little something extra for your World Vision children? I don't know about you, but I think it's fun to truly try to be purposeful in looking for ways to bless others. So much of the time we're all focused on ourselves, and the beauty of Christmas is that God taught us that it is looking at the needs of others that motivates our giving. He saw our need, and He gave His son. How beautiful. How precious. How simple. How holy.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Good Laugh!

Today, I'm directing you all to this post by Antique Mommy.  It is simply too hilarious to not share, and the comments are equally funny!   :<)   Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Blessings to you!

I am wishing all of you a simple love-filled and thanks-filled Thanksgiving.  We are headed out of town to be with my family up in the mountains for a couple of days, but I did want to wish you all a "Happy Thanksgiving."  

There is much for us to be thankful for each and every day, but it is nice to have a day specifically set aside to focus on His goodness to us.  We can sometimes get so busy with "our" stuff that we forget to thank and praise Him, so I encourage you to take sometime the next few days to get alone with Him and give Him thanks.

Enter his gates with THANKSGIVING and his courts with praise; GIVE THANKS to him and praise his name.  Psalm 100:4

Monday, November 19, 2007

"Chuck Norris-ed"

If you've been to my house lately, you've no doubt been subject to my son Eric's latest Chuck Norris joke. These jokes have been all the rage with him and his cross country buds, and I have to admit, some of them make me smile. This has been going on for months now, and just today, I ran across the following video. Eric's shared these jokes with us, but I think it's a new day in politics when a candidate shows his sense of humor instead of smearing his opponent. Please note......I am not endorsing this candidate (I'm also not NOT endorsing him), but I will be showing this to my son this afternoon when he gets home from school. It's sure to make him smile.

Now that your appetite has been whetted, here's a couple more jokes(?) for you that I've learned from my son:

When the boogeyman goes to sleep, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.
Some people wear Superman pajamas. Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas.
When Chuck Norris falls in water, Chuck Norris doesn't get wet. Water gets Chuck Norris.
There is no theory of evolution, just a list of creatures Chuck Norris allows to live.
Chuck Norris doesn't bowl strikes, he just knocks down one pin and the other nine faint.
It takes Chuck Norris 20 minutes to watch 60 Minutes.
Chuck Norris can lead a horse to water AND make it drink.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday Soccer

Boy, am I missing being at church! I missed last weekend because Dave had a Sunday off, and we attended church in another town. Then, I missed services this weekend because my daughter had a soccer tournament. Her team had their final two games today (Sunday), so I was with her. I wouldn't have wanted to have missed her games, but I truly miss it when I'm not able to get to service, especially when it's two weeks in a row!

Her team lost every game, but they made it into the playoffs by a coin toss. They were tied for fourth place (out of six teams), so the officials tossed a coin to see who would play, and Kari's team won the toss. Kari plays on a U9 team, and they have three players that are 9 years old and the rest are eight years old. Her team was the only U9 team that signed up for the tournament, so they were placed with the U10 girls which have ages ranging from 10 to 11, and even 12 in some cases. So, all in all, they did very well because only four goals total were scored against them in all four games. They held their own with scores of 0-0, 2-0, 1-0, 1-0. Being matched with older teams helped them to see where their weaknesses are though; that's for sure! :-)

I was rather domestic this evening (my friend, Sam, would be proud of me) as I baked four different pumpkin pies and two batches of Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins. My house smells wonderful, but I'm tired now. The kiddos are headed to bed, and I think I'll finish up so that I can join them. Good night!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Just Breathe

............Title is not a reference to Faith Hill's song, "Breathe," or Anita Renfroe's parody of that song, "Don't Breathe."  :-)

I had an eye exam today because about a month ago, my right eye was noticeably blurry and felt different for a couple of days.  I had some friends (my faithful Bunko girlfriends) tell me that I had better make an appointment to figure our what was going on.

Well, it turns out that my right eye is swollen from years of constant contact lens wear.  My current brand of contacts are not as air-permeable as some other, newer brands, so it seems that because of lack of oxygen, the pressure in my eye has built up.  Fortunately, it looks as if switching contact brands may be enough to handle the situation, but as I drove away, I thought that this situation is strongly representative of how I go through life sometimes.

When I don't have time to breathe, the pressure builds up.  Eventually, it causes me to not see things clearly.  If I don't stop and take time to breathe, the pressure will continue to build until there truly is a big problem (and believe me, this has happened!). So, the challenge is for me to try to arrange my days, and therefore my life, in such a manner that breathing time is built in.  

This all reinforces what the book Margin is about.  Instead of arranging our days with enough margin around all the edges, most of us are just living our days on the go with the words (our lives) pouring off the page in all directions.  Where is our margin; where is our breathing space?  I don't get the Oprah magazine anymore, but I remember that there was a feature called, Breathing Space, in each issue.  It was a photograph covering a two-page spread that was supposed to help us settle down and breathe as we took in the beautiful nature image.  

To live with time to breathe is going to be counter-cultural and will require a great degree of being willing to sacrifice "things" in order to "be."  It is when I am "be"ing that I am able to breathe in the presence of God, to center myself in Him, and to not let the pressure build.  To be honest, even though I long to do this, it seems to be exceedingly difficult for me to figure out how to make this a reality.  I have been in prayer over this, and not coincidentally, I've asked a small group of women to pray for "clarity" for me.  Rather appropriate considering my eye ordeal, don't you think?

And, just to carry the analogy a little further......Just as the contact lens is centered on my eye and is what I see through, so my life must be centered in Him, and I must see through His lens. I must have time to breathe in His presence and peace to be able to keep the pressure from building and to see clearly.  A goal I will continue to pray and work towards.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Family Fun Sunday Update

It's 8:00 PM, and Dave is already in bed.  He's not been feeling well for a couple of days now, and I think he just needed to get some sleep tonight.  He and a couple of staff members will be going to a conference tomorrow, so it's probably good that he gets some rest.

If you read Dave's blog, you know that we went to Crossroads Grace Community Church in Manteca this last Sunday.  It was wonderful to sit in church as a family, but I have to admit.....I wasn't thrilled when Dave said he wanted to go to another church on his Sunday off.  I love just love being with everyone at New Life, so I'm never anxious to miss a Sunday.  However, it is good to go somewhere else, see what God's doing, and still be glad that He's placed us where we are.   

After going to church on Sunday, we headed to lunch and the "Bee Movie."  We then went to my mom and step-dad's house for Family Fun Sunday.  Since my sisters, mom, and I are so busy, we get all of our families together every third month for "Family Fun Sunday."  The kids (all ten of them) can play with their cousins, and we adults can have fun and visit.   This past Sunday, we ate together, drew names to form teams to create Thanksgiving posters from a plethora of various supplies, and then created two new teams to play Guesstures.  We also celebrated my step-dad's birthday and enjoyed some wonderful desserts (my mom is a great cook!).  I did get a good dose of laughter in, as always, and I was again thankful for my fun and loving family.  

Saturday, November 10, 2007

In the Moment

Excerpt from Anna Quindlen's All My Babies are Gone Now
"...But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less."

I think all mothers (parents) probably feel this way, but what if we could grab hold of this truth and really live it?  I don't know about you, but I need to be "in the moment," much more, and I do believe it will take the power of the Holy Spirit to transform my mind to truly grasp this concept and live it out.  I am praying for this, and tomorrow I have a chance to try living this out as we travel together to visit another church as a family and then spend some time with my mom, step-dad, sisters, brothers-in-law, and nieces and nephew, for "Family Time Sunday."   

Donate Rice from Your Own Home Computer!

I was able to expand my vocabulary, and at the same time, donate 500 grains of rice here.  You should try it; it's fun, and you can help the United Nations Food Program distribute rice around the world.  Just something fun for a Saturday morning.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Brrrr! Fall's here!

I've just arrived home from a football game, and I am freezing!  I left during the third quarter because Peter has school in the morning, and I needed to get him home and in bed.  Dave can fill me in on the final score when he gets home (our high school team was losing when I left); I'm just glad to be home where it's warm.  The wind was blowing and even with my jacket and blanket, it was chilly!  It truly feels like fall as I sit here with my cup of wonderfully hot tea, catching up with a few emails and some blogs that I read.   

Dave just arrived home to let me know that the football team turned the game around and ended up winning 32-30!  Mind you, all those points came during the last half of the third quarter and the fourth quarter.  So, the first Monte Vista Bowl (both schools are on Monte Vista Avenue) ended with Turlock Christian winning the coveted wagon wheel that has been dedicated as the "trophy" that the winning school will keep until the next year's match-up.  The winning team, score, and date will be inscribed on the plaque attached to the wagon wheel to commemorate the winners.  A fun and friendly rivalry, indeed.

A highlight (or rather I would say a "low" light) of the evening was the "Bovine Bingo" that took place beginning at the half-time.  People were able to purchase plots in a grid that had been chalked on the ground, and then a cow was walked back and forth, back and forth, on the grid, and you guessed it.......whatever plot the above-mentioned bovine pooped in, that person was the winner of two luxury box tickets for the 49er's game against the Vikings.  Wow, I really feel like I live in a rural area when I get to watch something like that for entertainment!  :-) 

Monday, November 5, 2007

"Logged On and Tuned Out"

I recently read a book called, "Logged On and Tuned Out," and I recommend that every parent with children on the internet get this book and read it. My oldest two children are on the computer for school assignments and email pretty regularly (not to mention myspace and facebook), and I have two smaller ones that have yahoo email accounts and like to look up information about their favorite cartoon characters or what have you.

I'm one of those moms that has a myspace just so I can keep up with what my kids are up to. In fact, if you check my myspace (which Hannah originally filled in for me), it says that everything (such as my favorite music, etc...) is "Whatever Hannah and Eric like." Where it says, "My reason for being on myspace," Hannah wrote...."To make sure none of Hannah's and Eric's friends are stalkers." :-) I will have my kids log in under their names so that I can check their emails (incoming and sent) and I check their spaces every couple of weeks. I also check their friends myspaces.

However, I learned A LOT from reading this new book by Vicky Courtney, "Logged On and Tuned Out." When I first saw the title, I thought she must be talking about our children who are oblivious to everything else when they are logged on, but the title actually refers to the parents that are tuned out to what their kids are doing, or are exposed to, on the internet. And believe me, most parents don't even know the half of it! Even though I have been a parent who checks things, I learned so much through the chapters of this easy-to-read Christian book filled with valuable and insightful information.

If you have children on the internet (or computer), I recommend you get this book or borrow it from me. We live in a different world, and although we would like to shield our children from the computer or internet because of our concerns, they will leave our homes and have to make their way in a world where the internet/computer is an integral part of their lives. I would like to try to train them about wise usage while they are still in my home under my teaching and example.

You can also check out Vicky's website by clicking here.

Just some food for thought tonight.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Beauty of a Wedding

Hannah and I were able to go to an outdoor wedding this afternoon in Mariposa for two of her former teachers and my colleagues. These two individuals have been faithful to the Lord in their single lives, and it is a beautiful thing to see the purity with which they entered their marriage relationship today. It truly is a joyous occasion when two people, following the Lord's idea for their relationship, finally get married with the blessing of their parents and friends. We were able to celebrate the good gift that each one is for the other, and I know their marriage will bring glory to God as they live out what His will is for a marriage relationship.

I am in prayer already for our services together tomorrow. I know God wants to work a new thing in our hearts as He's calling us to not just believe, but to live out our faith in action! Wow, I can't wait to see what's coming up as all of us take some radical steps to live out our faith in each and every relationship and situation in our lives. Remember, He can do more than we can ask or imagine, so that's got to be some pretty awesome stuff. I don't want to miss any of it, do you? I know He's at work in my heart, convicting me of things that He needs me to repent of so that I can be a clean vessel for His use. I also pray that our entire body of believers is obedient to the Lord and ready for Him to work through them.