Tuesday, December 20, 2011

And The Operation Christmas Child Boxes Went To....

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights" James 1:17a

One of my favorite things to do every year is make Operation Christmas Child boxes for the Samaritan's Purse.  It's an activity that goes on all year.  When I see things that are cute or a good deal, I buy them and store them in my closet until November.  Then at the beginning of November, our family packs the boxes full of all kinds of goodies.  Things like cars, balls, dinosaurs, candy, flashlights, coloring books, socks, toothbrush, soap, a Bible, etc.  I show pictures of boys and girls receiving their boxes to Brody so he can understand what is going on a little bit better.  It really is a fun thing to do as a family.

The past three years I've paid online to get a bar code in hopes to find out where the boxes were shipped to.  Year one and two I didn't get an email. That's ok because we prayed over the children who would get them and it really does not matter what country the boxes went to.  I was just curious.  This year I got the email, and the boxes were sent to Ghana.

It's very neat to know where the boxes went to.  I can show Brody a map of the other side of the world, and he can see what country the children who get his boxes are from.  It makes it more real to him, and as I family we will pray for the children in Ghana. 

I'm very thankful for the Samaritan's Purse for giving our family the opportunity to do this every year.  It is just one more way to show God's love to people.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Go Tell it in the Parking Lot

Go, Tell It On The Mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere;
Go, Tell It On The Mountain
That Jesus Christ is born.

Yesterday at the grocery store, I found myself weary.  There were things we needed, but I just wanted to be home.  I was trying my best to hurry through the store.  After a long wait in line, I finally made it out of the store.  I felt like yelling "FREEDOM!"  I put the few groceries in the car and started towards home.  Then I saw a young woman holding a sign asking for help.  My first thought is "I'm too busy for this."  I took a deep breathe, then sighed as I pulled over.  I knew what the right thing to do was, but I was having a selfish moment.  I prayed for God to tell me how to help her and to help me change my attitude.  God always answers...maybe not in a big loud voice but His Holy Spirit moves my heart.  On the radio, "Go tell it on the Mountain" was playing.  That was my answer.  I need to tell people God loves them whether we are on a mountain, in a valley, in our home, or in a parking lot.  She needed money, and she needed to hear someone loves her.  God loves her just like He loves all of us!  And that is too good of news not to tell.

Christmas is a busy season, but it should never get so busy that I don't stop to share God's love.  There would be no Christmas without Him.  I would not have a life without Him. 

I may just have to re-write the old carol to "Go Tell it in the Parking Lot." 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Plans

When ours are interrupted, his are not. His plans are proceeding exactly as scheduled, moving us always (including those minutes or hours or years which seem most useless or wasted or unendurable) "toward the goal of true maturity."  - Elisabeth Elliot

Thinking about plans today, and I thought about Elisabeth Elliot's quote on plans. I can't help but smile when I think about how God's plans are always exactly as scheduled.  Some days like today, I question God's plan for my life.  I'm a very ambitious lady, and I feel like I'm just standing still lately. But at the same time, there is peace at being exactly where God has me.  I suppose it is strange how the times in my life that have been busy or scary have been easier for me than this slow paced time.  Life is so flexible at the moment that it has given me many new opportunities to minister in my community that I normally would not have.  God is maturing in this season of my life for something.  I have no idea what His something is, but I'm going to trust Him.  I'm sure one day I will look back at this time of rest and be very thankful for it.

Elliot's quote comes from Romans 12:2 JBP  "Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity."

Here is a couple more versions of Romans 12:2

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."  Rom. 12:2 NIV

"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." Rom. 12:1-2 MSG

God brings the best out of me....with His plan!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Daddy is Gone

After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure. ~J.K. Rowling


I have not wanted to blog lately because writing this makes it so real, so final.  My dad passed away.  He is gone.  I'll never be able to have his hugs again, to hear his wisdom or funny stories, to hear him say "alright," to talk about Alabama football or any sports for that matter, to see him grin like a possum at my son, and to hear his laugh.  I'm just sad.  We are all sad.

I know life will never quite be the same again without him.  He was such a big part of all our lives.


Brody only got five years with his Pop, and I'm hate to think that our other future children will never know the man I loved so much. 


Although I want him back so badly that it hurts, I would not want him to suffer like he did the last few months.  He'll never have to hurt again, and I find peace in that.  I'm glad he can breathe in glory. 

He is gone, but I will never forget him!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

KRISPY SKREMES


We look for any excuse to have a Krispy Kreme Doughnut.  They are just so good!
 


They have made Fall even more fun with their Krispy Skremes doughnuts.  The pumpkin doughnut is almost too cute to eat.....almost.  Brody liked the spiderweb doughnut.  There is also a chocolate covered one with sprinkles and a pumpkin spice one too.  A doughnut trip is a great adventure plus it's very yummy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Zippity DO Bags

You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.  ~Author Unknown
The mom's group I'm a part of this semester has been reading the book The Missional Mom by Helen LeeIt's about being on a mission in the home and in the world.  I have been both encouraged and challenge by this book.  I found that I have not done the best job I could with our five year old son when it comes to missions.   He sees his mommy and daddy showing God's love to people, but I have not given him many opportunities to do it too.  God has showed me over the past few weeks that kids can and NEED to be able to serve people.  Teaching the Bible is important, but it's also important to put it into action.  I've been praying about something our family could do together to show God's love in our community.   

Here is who God has placed on my heart.

The Homeless
It breaks my heart to see a person without a home. 
A person who is hungry.  

A person who feels alone.
I have seen so many without homes lately.  I usually give them some cash or food from a near by restaurant, but it just doesn't seem like enough.  I want to give them something more personal that says, "I care about you.  I am going to pray for you today."

I had read about how a lady gave a brown bag filled with food and supplies to homeless people she came into contact with.  I thought, "I could do that."  I began planning out how to put this new mission project into action.  When we where in Africa a few years ago, we learned how valuable ziploc bags were.   There are not many ways for them to keep things fresh and protected.  So I started thinking about how this would apply to a homeless person too.  Then I thought about what would be useful to someone living on the street.  Food of course is the #1 thought.  Personal hygiene items are good too.  I also thought thick socks and hats could make them warmer.  Add in some scripture, and it's a very useful bag!

Since I wanted to send plenty of sunshine heading their way, I named our project Zippity DO Bags.  It's a ziploc filled with love, and it's something our family can DO together.  




So as were traveling in our daily lives, we will keep these bags in our cars to give to those in need.  Then we get to have more fun putting together more bags.  This way our son has a part in helping, and he can also be a part of the giving too.  

Our challenge to you is

Make a Zippity DO Bag to keep in your car so when you see the homeless you can DO something too!

Please share your thoughts and/or experiences about the Zippity DO Bag! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

My Gift Is NOT...

God has blessed me with several gifts/talents.  I have the gift of hospitality.  It's fun to welcome people into my home.  I'm able to see and sense the needs of others.  God created me with the love of talking with people.  I don't meet a stranger, and I hate sitting in a quiet room. 

What I'm not so good at is public speaking.  It's so easy for me to sit around a table and chat it up with friends. But put me in a room with lots of people, and I feel nervous.  I have this desire to get to know all the people behind the faces staring at me.  I had words all planned out to say, and I've practiced those words over and over.  Then when I have all those faces looking at me, I find my mind going blank.  There will be a tiny moment of silence.  Mind my starts feeling the need to sing in that silence like ***la la la I forgoooot what I was gonna sayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.**  That mind struggle seems to create more awkward silence.  It's just an internal struggle!  I really do want to communicate my topic well....I really do.  It just does not happen.

Tonight did not go the way I had planned.  As I'm typing right now, I can think of things I was suppose to say, and I can think of things I wish I had left out while rambling.  It could have been worse, but it could have been better too. No more whining over "spilled words."

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....

What can I find positive out of my not so good speaking night?

* First humility. 

* I did learn some stuff while preparing.

* It's ok, to not be great at something.  I'm at peace that I will probably never speak before thousands of people. 

* My fabulous plan of getting my son to sleep on a couch in the lobby while I was speaking worked out perfectly (Have no fear, there were friends around to watch him sleep.  It just hard to get kids to fall asleep in different places sometimes)

* I will work on finding some more ways to practice speaking if I ever get asked to speak again (the asking thing is probably not very likely). 

* I can laugh at myself.  I find it "ok" to giggle at my awkwardness when I look back at the situation. 


* My makeup looked good tonight.  At least my face and words were not both flawed. 


* I can pray.  Lord, the over all result was not great, but please let parts stick with those girls.  Your Word is always amazing.   




Blogging always makes me feel better.  I have to deal with today so I do not carry over my burdens into tomorrow.  My favorite part in "Anne of Green Gables"  is when the teacher reminds Anne of tomorrow is a new day...leave no mistakes in it.  I can go to sleep now that I wrote how I feel.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Missing Him


Oh how I miss his face! 


 I miss his hugs!


I miss his voice!  And hopefully, only one more day until I get to hear him. 

ONE 

MORE 

DAY 

until Ryan is able to call home.
I want to hear he's safe. 
Then I want to hear every detail of his trip.



The other side of the world has become further away each day.

Now it's seem as if Africa is in another universe.

I want my man back in my world!


I'm ready for our family to be all together again!

It's been a great crazy long summer for all of us, but I'm ready for us to just be at home.

Home
with no place to go!
(well, maybe just for a little while)
Praying for safe travels for his team over the next couple of days.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy 50th Birthday Schiele Museum

Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will.  ~Vernon Howard

We celebrated with The Schiele Museum it's 50th birthday on Saturday. The celebration consisted of free admission, games, live animals, the Sun Drop Girl, a moon bounce, and several other special activities. It was a wonderful day!

When I ask Brody where he wants to go for a special outing, he will always request the museum.  He loves seeing and touching the many things at the Schiele Museum. His favorite new part is the live animal exhibit.  It is so sweet listening to him talking to the animals.  The Cave exhibit right now is pretty awesome too.  So if you're looking for a fun activity in Gastonia, Brody recommends a trip to the museum.  He will gladly share "his special place" with you.

Here a few pictures of the birthday bash!

They also had a live alligator to pet on Saturday.  Brody was so excited to touch a real one.  Plus the new live animal exhibit has a couple in it too.
The Cave
A puppet show

 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Change

Drinking coffee with Brody on the front porch
Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights.  ~Pauline R. Kezer

Change is the theme this week with our family.  Change is not always fun...in fact this week it's frustrating.  I'm missing my morning time with Brody.  Just looking at his sleepy face in the picture above holding his coffee cup makes me a little emotional.  Brody is missing his morning time with me too.  Before we left the house this morning he said, "I sick.  I just stay home with you today."  I put my brave face on with a big smile and told him what a great day he was going to have.  Poor kid is stressed out.  Last night he was a nervous wreck, and it was not easy comforting him.  Brody learning how to deal and cope with change with a new school and daily routine is going to be difficult.  However hard the struggle is, this is going to be a wonderful change one day.  Change always brings amazing gifts to our lives, but it's almost impossible to see those gifts while we are in the present.  I accept change.  I choose to embrace change.  I seek out the good things about the change.  And I will cry and laugh during this new season in our lives!  


Fruit salad for Brody's lunch
I'm learning how to be creative with Brody's lunch.  Please share any tips on how to make a kid's lunch fun.  I need to figure out some different meals so that he does not have to eat the same thing every week.


Brody eating pancakes in the car
Brody asked for a fo-hawk this week.  So I'm trying to learn how to do it.  It's also challenging to learn how to get him ready in such a short time period.  He has a few medications to take in the morning, and I'm trying my best to get it all done quickly.  Today however, he decided he did not want to do a breathing treatment for his allergies.  **SIGH**   Besides missing him, getting Brody ready for the day is the hardest change.


Redbud is bumper to bumper on both sides in the morning.
I'm also learning which way is the quickest route to Brody's school.  There are three ways to get to his school, but all three ways have us passing by other schools with their traffic.  We've been leaving 30 minutes before school starts to get there on time.  This means breakfast in the car for Brody.  He is not hungry when he first gets up so it's meals on the go for him.  


My new mop
My daily life routine was shattered when Brody started Kindergarten.  My personal change is having to create a new schedule for myself.  I'm going to create some new goals this week.  I'm one of those people who have to be working towards something.  I'm not sure what this something will be yet, but I'll blog about it when I do.   The one thing I do know is I will create a new cleaning schedule for our house.  


It's going to take some time to figure out how to deal with our new life changes.  It's ok to learn how to cope with change one day at a time.  The important thing is to keep rolling on the wheel of change whether you're on top or at the bottom!   

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Do You Not Know? Have You Not Heard?


I've came into contact with several people in the past week who are just tired.  Life has pushed down on them so hard, and they are worn out.  I'm blogging for the weary today, and I want to encourage the weary the God never gets tired. 

Isaiah 40:27-31
Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know?

Have you not heard?

The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

God's people who were referred to as Jacob and as Israel, felt that God had forgotten them.  They were discouraged and afraid because their concept of God was too small.  At one point in all of our lives, we have felt like no one knows what we're going through.  Like Israel we need to be reminded how BIG and MIGHTY God is.  He is great!  He never sleeps or rest, and He knows exactly what your life is like.  He created you, and OH HOW HE LOVES YOU!  Do you know the powerful God can give you power?  Those who depend upon Him will exchange their weakness for God's strength.  For those who hope in the Lord, we will renew their strength.  What an amazing promise!  He wants your walk in life to be filled with Him and His strength.  So if you are feeling drained, pray to God to be refueled with Him!  God is not hidden from you, but the question is are you seeking after Him?  Jeremiah 29:13 says, "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." 

Jeremiah 31:25"For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul."

Friday, August 26, 2011

B's 1st Day of Kindergarten

You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.  ~Clay P. Bedford


Brody's first day of kindergarten was yesterday.  He did GREAT!  I was a little bit emotional yesterday, but I didn't cry and I held it together.  I was emotional at the thought of how far Brody has come.  My 2 lb. baby boy who I have guarded for five years is completely able to learn and go to school.  God is good!  There were doubts for years if Brody would lead a normal life.  We love Brody just the way he is, and we always have and will.  But it's amazing to watch your child be successful at things.  It was a good day!


Brody said, "This shirt is going to make everybody laugh."

He picked out Batman for his book bag and lunch box

He didn't have time for pictures because he was ready to go!

"No, more pictures please."

He had to sign-in.
Brody with his teacher hanging up his apple. 
To learn where things were in the school, his class did a Gingerbread Man hunt around the school.  His first homework assignment was to decorate a G-man.  I made him a Mario Brothers shirt, and Brody glued and drew the rest. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Follow The Yellow Brick Road

Dorthy:  Goodbye, Tinman. Oh, don't cry! You'll rust so dreadfully. Here's your oil can.
Tin Man:  Now I know I've got a heart, 'cause it's breaking...

Brody graduated from preschool this morning.  And yes, my heart broke a little!  The graduation theme was Follow the Yellow Brick Road.  This was quite the appropriate theme for us considering the journey it took Brody to get where he is today.  We are so proud of him!  He sang his heart out this morning without any fear.  I cannot even explain what a blessing it was to watch him on the stage just being joyful.  We have so much to be thankful for.  It's funny how you travel down the road of life and not feel like your getting anywhere only to one day to magically arrive at your destination.  Oh, our journey is not complete, but we do feel like we finally got somewhere.  Today felt good!  Please remind me of this feeling next week when I'm crying because he started Kindergarten.  Haha! 
My sweet little Tin Man
video 
Brody singing the Tin Man song


The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep on running.  ~Author unknown, in reference to Ecclesiastes 9:11, "I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all."

We're going to continue our race right on into Kindergarten!