Saturday, November 29, 2008

Still Not a Post

Whew...Friday came a went didn't it? We were going out of town, but I'm paranoid to write that sort of thing because I don't want someone to break into my house and steal all my wonderful possessions. I just couldn't pull off a blog. Now, it's 10:30and I got sucked into blog world, and just wanted to touch base with those of you who may have checked in and found nothing. I am excited to get back to bloggin'...I just feel like I should unpack something before 11:00. We'll see. I almost hate to post this because it still isn't a real post like you were expecting...but I just want to say that I'm home, and I look forward to writing...soon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This Just In...

Did you know that you can get a box of "Just Bunches" of Honey Bunches of Oats? My husband came home today with a box of it that he paid $.11 for and I must say that it is delicious. It's sweet and crunchy and just so yummy. We even went out with a second coupon in hand to get two more boxes! This time they were out of Honey Roasted so we got two Caramels instead. Guess what? They are just as tasty! So, if you are a fan of Honey Bunches of Oats, you will love Just Bunches. It's a delicious snack for any time of day!

I did not get paid for that

I will be blogging about what my husband, a Georgia Tech T-shirt, and Jesus all have in common. I have to post it by Friday so check the meantime put that cereal on your'll be so glad you did!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Public Service Announcement (a rant)

I have seen a commercial two times and each time it makes me want to scream! I just want to say, to someone other than my husband, that a toy that reads books to your children will not instill a love for reading in your child. Our culture is so battery operated that even reading to our children can be passed on to something else...not even someone else...something else.

To be honest, it just makes me sad. We have a chair. We have met a number of people that we have grown to love, and we have gone to some of the sweetest and faraway locations via our chair and quality literature. I understand that people are busy, I understand that not everyone has a chair...but I'm up to my ears with advertising that is preaching to parents that a battery operated, noisy TOY can do more for children than the very people that God has entrusted the child with.

Julia wants her hair in braids like Betsy (from our favorite series Betsy-Tacy) and Anson's first friends when he learned how to read were none other than Frog and Toad. Ella chooses the Bible and I just want something that we can enjoy together.

Maybe you would love to read to your children, but you don't know where to start. There is a book called Honey for a Child's Heart, it's a book list. It's a wonderful collection of quality literature that will ignite a love for reading. We've met Stuart Little, Charlotte, Wilbur, and Louis the Swan, all E.B. White's genius. My kids love them and still talk about them.

So, I do not wish to be condemning or arrogant. I just want to say that holiday advertising is selling us a lot of worthless crap that doesn't do near what a library card and a cozy spot will do. And it's free. Avoid the batteries, buy a'll be so glad you did.

*Just for fun...please share some of the books that you have enjoyed with your children that you would recommend.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cheap Imitations

I'm currently going on week 2 of using my broken hair dryer. Several weeks ago my very old hairdryer served me one last time, and needed to be replaced. I didn't want to spend too much, so I went ahead and bought the store brand (guess what store I was in!) and was happy with my $10.00 "Simply Basic" hairdryer. Happy, that is, until two weeks ago. I was mid dry and my hairdryer just quit. I plugged it it, checked the red button, changed outlets, flipped it on and off and came to the sad reality that my hairdryer had just, as my brother-in-law would put it, "crapped out." I was beyond irritated as my hair doesn't look fabulous when it air dries, and I'm growing it out (that's another story) and so I like it to be thoroughly dry. What I have discovered is that it just gets tired. It will work each day, but it won't really do a great job because it only lasts so long. Cheap stuff breaks.

As you all should know by now, my husband is a teacher and I am a stay-at-home mom who is also educating our children. We have gotten out of debt, and God has helped us to adjust to our income, and I feel like we do well. However, I will buy the generic brand. Growing up we couldn't stand the yellow "Cost Cutter" boxes of cereal, but my kids also eat "Toasty O's" instead of the brand. It just saves money. There are several items I don't mind going generic on. I'll name a few for fun...cheese, cereal, milk, juice, some crackers, peanut butter and jelly. There are a few items that are NOT the same as the brand! Potato chips for one. I buy a brand bread, and I NEVER buy generic Oreos. I have found that the generic cookies simply do not take to my glass of milk in the same manner as Oreos. Another thing I don't buy (anymore) hairdryers. It just stinks.

I've been thinking about generics for a while and you know what else just isn't the same as the real thing? A Savior. Acts 4:12 tells us that, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." There is no cheap alternative for a way out. There is nothing we can do or buy or be that will dig us out of the pit that Adam has put us in. I've seen cheap imitations that have done exactly what they set out to do; steal, kill and destroy. I've seen cheap imitations wreck families and claim souls. There is nothing, do you hear me, NOTHING but Christ alone that will satisfy our hungry souls. Psalm 103 says this of the Lord, take this in with me, "Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits---who fogives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." Who else can promise those things and actually fulfill them? We are living in a world that is promising champagne and caviar and only delivers toilet water on ice with moldy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. There is only ONE NAME that will rescue us from our mud and mire. There is only One True God that will satisfy us in the morning with His unfailing love. (Psalm 90:14)

My husband makes a lousy Savior. There are times when I put Messiah-like expectations on a mere man. My children and their pursuits will not save me, or satisfy me. There is nothing, nothing, nothing but the blood of Jesus.

So, this Monday morning some of you will head off to work. Some of you will stay in your jammies and struggle through a day with toddlers, some of you will have a successful day of home school. Some of us will grieve losses, celebrate victories, and anticipate great things for our future. In all of this, let us remember that we have but One Savior. There is no option, there is no other. Praise Him that He will not allow us to be satisfied by cheap imitations.

Side Note: The longer I use my broken hairdryer the more irritated I become with it. It will never do the job properly. Yesterday I was frustrated beyond measure getting ready for church. Our cheap "saviors" will only frustrate and disappoint us, pretty much on a daily basis...until we get rid of them.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Alexander and the...

terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Elementary Education. We read lots of books while in the program and I loved all of them. One of my personal favorites, since childhood, is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. The story is silly, this little guy is making much about nothing, but in his world the sky really is falling in and he thinks it would be better if he just moved to Australia. The reader can see how benign his trials are, here are a few: he sits in the middle in carpool which makes him carsick, he can't get the shoes that he wants, lima beans are for dinner, they kiss on TV, he hates his pajamas...I used it one time to teach adjectives. This morning I felt like I was heading that direction.

Here was the conversation (how my story started) Ella woke me up in the middle of the night and now she's waking me up again before the alarm! My shower isn't hot enough and I have to shave my legs. I nicked my ankle and the water is lukewarm. My hairdryer crapped out...again and I can't find my sneakers. This is going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Julia wouldn't let me do her hair and she isn't ready for breakfast. I hate it when they eat in shifts. My bed isn't made and Mike's late for work so I have to make it myself. Ella got mad and spit on the table and then she flipped over her bowl. She's cranky and is going to ruin everything, this really is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I caught it. I could see where this was going. I had even gone so far to ask Mike if I could get a hotel room one night so that I could finally sleep through the night. Then I changed my mind and said that I would sleep at Mom's instead. I do not wish to have that kind of day and God's word tells me that "this is the day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it!" I also remembered little Dorcas, our Compassion child, who probably has never had a hot shower in her life. (and never will) I thought of how nice it was to have a new razor, my favorite kind, that my mother-in-law sent me because she knows how much I love them. They are expensive, and she buys them for me and that is a great thing. I also thought of how sweet it was to have girls with hair to do and I do enjoy their spunk. I'm also glad that my children spend their days with me, and eating in shifts will not effect carpool or tardiness. Julia and I will just eat together.

I remembered that the kids and I are trying to "Choose Joy." That is absolutely impossible without Jesus. I told Him that in the shower. "I can't choose joy, Jesus. Please just do it for me." Now I'm the Little Engine that Could, "I think I can, I think I can."

There are some days that really are terrible. My family has had a few of them this year. We've had more than any of us really care to remember. However, even when the matters were life threatening. Even when we felt like the sky was falling in, God remained good. He is worth celebrating every day. I will indeed set out to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth because He is worthy of the best I have.

A funny little side note is that last night I smacked a bug on my computer screen and left it there (I know... why didn't I wipe it off?...I just wanted to go to bed!) When I opened the doors to the computer to write this there it THAT is a terrible day. Getting smacked on a computer screen and being left for dead!!! HA!

So, I'll let Alexander move to Australia...I'm livin' right in the middle of God's best for me.

Today, right now, I'm choosing joy and I hope you are too!

Note: I've linked you to Compassion International's site. We adopted Dorcas about 3 or 4 years ago, and I have never questioned that decision. The amount we send for Christmas is humbling. It's so little, and it does so much. Our monthly sponsorship is really changing her life and the life of her family. If you feel so inclined, check it out. Thank you.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Lessons From Zumba Part...I don't know...

So, I'm still shakin' it! You must know how absolutely not sexy I am when it comes to this. I do it because it is a super great work-out. I must be honest, I do not love working-out for an hour. I enjoy it, yes. However, there are other things I could do for an hour that would bring me far greater joy. You know what I love about that hour? I sweat. I work my abs. I move my entire body. I am alone. There is always cool down. Sometimes I can feel a blog coming on. Seriously. If I am having a hard time liking something, or something is funny or strange...there is a blog lurking in there somewhere. Throughout my shaking (BTW everything shakes at Zumba!)I was thinking what it was. I kept looking at my watch, I looked at the clock. I was looking forward to the cool down. I kept working as hard as I could, but I knew that before long the lights would turn out, the music would change and I'd be inhaling and exhaling. What is the blog? Let me make just one more point.

I am not a physical trainer. I am not even physically fit, for that matter! However, the people I know, that are, would agree when I say that the stretching before and the cool down after are just as important as the hard core sweat. The cool down matters. If I were to just leave after working out and skip that, I would be receiving an incomplete work-out.

Over the last year I have been struggling with what a "Sabbath" is. Does that mean that I can't go out to eat? Does that mean that everyone has to take a nap and if they don't we are all in sin? (No, but it feels like sin sometimes when we don't!) I've read and studied it a bit and feel like I am in process, but my recent study with Anson helped me tremendously. (I will, again, urge you to study Kay Arthur's kids studies with your children). We are studying the first two chapters of Genesis and we learned about the Sabbath a couple of weeks ago. Do you know what the word "rested" means? This is as in Genesis 2:2, "By the seventh day God completed His work which he had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all of His work which He had done." Rested: shabat or shabath or shavath (shaw-bath') means to cease, desist, rest, leave off, to bring to an end. (That came straight out of the book) When I read that for the first time it totally changed the way I thought of God and the Sabbath. I had been thinking that God was just pooped. Of course He rested, He had been quite busy! We learned that those were real 24 hour days, and He got alot accomplished. He did way more than wash, dry, fold, and put all of the laundry away! (Although, let's all give ourselves a pat on the back if that gets done in a 24 hour day!) God was NOT tired. God was finished. He had provided for everyone and everything. The needs of creation had been met. We see that God blessed and sanctified that day while He also rested. God set that day apart.

So, I learned that God was not really tired, He was finished. The other part that changed the way I view that day is that all of the needs had been met. There was no reason to continue. God provided for everything. My needs have been met. Do you realize the order in which Creation was created? Even the stars had a place before they were made. Man was created last because God was getting everything prepared for him. From the very beginning He has been my provider (I think I have a post about that...Jehovah Jireh maybe). I can rest, because He did.

So, what is my principle? God worked all week long. The work was complete. I must work hard (Colossians 3:17) during the week with the prize in mind...the cool down. I can struggle throughout the week. I can wash, dry, fold, scrub, prepare, teach, train, discipline, plan, because God has designed a day for me to be finished. He has planned, in His infinite wisdom a day for me to observe Him as my Maker, my Redeemer, my Provider. By stopping on that day, I am recognizing that He is my God and I am His child. My needs are met, in Him and Him alone. There is a day for me to sit with Him. To be with Him. To adore Him for being everything that I cannot be.

That's another thing about the cool-down. I'm not nearly as haphazard when it comes to that. I have to focus. We are slower and we have to make sure that we are stretching certain parts of our body. We have to keep our back flat, our head above our heart. I'm not just bouncing around trying to work up a sweat. I'm focused. I'm cooling down.

So, how about you? When was the last time you cooled down? I know you need one because 1. God ordained it. 2. I've heard us all say, "I just need a break." Take advantage of God on the day that He has blessed and sanctified. Then be prepared to work as though working for the Lord the rest of the week knowing the cool down is coming, and a cool down always feels better after a hard work-out.

Note: I have not arrived, but I feel like I am getting closer to understanding. Right now our Sabbath is a day of worship. We have Sunday School, Morning Worship, and Evening Worship. We do not "go" all day long and then just head back to church. We do not do any of the normal work. I do not pick up the house, or prepare for the week. I prepare my heart. I use Monday to get things in order for the week, not Sunday. A few weeks ago, our lead Pastor was sharing about the Sabbath and he said, "Sunday is not a day for us to remind God that He is God. It is a day for us to be reminded that He is God and we are His children." I sure need a cool-down. I look forward to it, and I hope you do as well.