Saturday, December 19, 2009

Merry Christmas!


“He’s here! He’s here! Look, guys, he’s finally here!”

This has been a year for babies! Some of my closest friends have had their first baby this year, and several have had subsequent babies that we’ve been waiting on. I find it so exciting to wait on a baby. I never waited on mine (I think we’d still be waiting) so I enjoy the wait. I check my e-mail, and ask around, “Have you heard anything?” I almost always cry. To finally look at that face and decide who the child resembles (sometimes it looks like a grumpy old man, though!). One birth, in particular impacted me. I won’t go into the details, but I had the privilege of attending the birth of my best friend’s fourth baby. My friend waits on her babies. There is no talk of induction. She waits. Everyday it was a question, “Will today be the day?” For several days it wasn’t. Finally, when we least expected it…he was here! The siblings were jerked from a very sound sleep so they wouldn’t miss this long expected and much anticipated arrival. What pure joy! Everyone counted toes and smelled his soft baby hair and rejoiced that at last he was here. All my friend kept repeating was, “Look, guys, he’s here! He’s finally here!”
It makes me think of another baby that was rejoiced over. For hundreds of years the people of God waited on their Deliverer. They waited on the King that would rescue them from their bondage to the law and their slavery to sin. The people waited and waited and attempted to induce God with plans of their own. Still, he waited until the time was just right. He waited until everything was exactly as it should be and then… My mind pictures a sky lit up by the stars that were expecting the birth. I imagine it was still, other than the normal sounds of animals in the evening. I picture Mary’s eyes opening for the first time after a long and focused labor as she grips The Promise and gazes up at Joseph and these words fall from her parched lips, “Look, He’s finally here.” We see how the heavens rejoiced as they announced to the Shepherds that they should get moving because He was here. Ah, yes. He is here, indeed. Emanuel, God with us.
Now, we didn’t have any babies this year, and our babies aren’t babies anymore, but they get better and better every year. Here’s a little picture:
Anson is 7 and in the 1st grade. This is our first year of Classical Conversations, which is our co-op and he is thriving…we all are, actually! His favorite things are Legos, books and more Legos! He is an amazing brother and an excellent student…not to mention son. It’s been a sweet year.
Julia turned 5 this year and it’s a little hard to believe. She is growing up beautifully and although she’s considered Pre-K (the problem with home schooling is we’re never sure what grade they are really in  ) she’s reading some books on her own and I cannot believe that I have 2 readers in the house. She’s a hard worker and refuses to give up, or let Anson be better than she is. She is fast on her feet and she just might be the athlete. She is extremely attentive to details and always notices my jewelry. She’s a girl through and through and I LOVE IT!
Ella, Ella, Ella. Now, Ella, is “flea” years old. She is absolutely adorable with her curly blond hair and very subtle speech imperfections. “Plobably we should read this mazagine clickly.” You can figure out that she’s saying, “Probably we should read this magazine quickly.” It’s just so cute and subtle. When asked what she should say to my Uncle after leaving his office she looked at her feet and said, “Sorry.” The correct response was, “Thank You!” Pretty revealing as to what she’s learning!!! Her ability to memorize and retell information is unmatched and when people ask what I do with her while the others are “schooling” I say, “Let her be in the room!” She’s precious to us and I don’t know what we would be without her.
Mike and I are growing as parents and as husband and wife. Sometimes we look at each other and wonder what we did with ourselves for that short time when we didn’t have children. He continues to serve as a P.E. teacher and learn how to honor God with everything that he does. I continue to fold clothes and plan meals. That’s what I call “Livin’ la vida loca!” I’m learning what the word “enough” means and loving that God promises that He will always be and provide enough. I’m also thoroughly enjoying the fact that God is redeeming my education. I am learning so much! So far my favorite is the Tin Whistle. If you’re lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it) you’ll get a little concert. We feel the breath of God breathing life into our everyday, normal stuff…all because, “He’s here!”
May His very precious promises and His presence carry you through another year.

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10. Even the angels said it, “Look guys, HE’S HERE!”

Friday, December 18, 2009

What does a UGA grad look like?




You'll find out soon enough...you'll find out when my husband gets home with the camera. Today was a BIG day for my family. My little baby brother (the only truth in that statement is that he's my brother!) graduated today after a 7 1/2 year battle with UGA! We are so very proud. We weren't sure it was really happening. Not because he can't do it, but because he's been really close before. He took some "breaks" made some "choices" but in the end...the boy DID IT! I got up early (yuck) to ride with my parents...alone (unyuck!) to Athens to participate in the big day. We arrived to a sleepy boy...SURPRISE...luckily (or because he lost his mind) his door was left unlocked, so Gary was able to enter and give him a morning shake so that he could get to the Coliseum on time. Yeah for the carelessness of not locking your door!!! (I did say he was a UGA grad...HA) So, he came out in his graduation gown and we just squealed like kiddies! What a sight. Our little Andy in a graduation gown! He grabbed his tassel and hat and we headed to get the party started!

When we got to the coliseum he took off to get to the right place and we headed inside for seats. We just kept saying, "We can't believe this is really happening. Are we really here?" Andy's 20's were hard on our family. He is our greatest joy, and sometimes what will stop our heart. Precious I tell you. So, he walks out...SO CUTE! Gary spotted him first and we just screamed (Mom and I). We called him, since it was so quiet and he could hear us...whatever...so then we just literally called him on the phone. That is always so funny to me when you watch someone that is on the phone looking for someone and they're like, "I see you, do you see me. Look left...no right...alright, look at the man standing next to the lady in the ugly sweater! OH!" Well, he never really found us, but he knew which direction to look, so anytime anything happened he looked our way and I took tons of pictures. He just wanted to share that with us and we wanted to share it with him. It was good to know we were there, he knew we were there, but we all wanted to see each other. To make eye contact, to use those words that aren't words at all. Growing up with someone you learn how to speak without words, don't you? We wanted to say, "We see you big Mister! You did it! You look great...quit texting and listen!!!" He wasn't looking for someone else's parents, or siblings...no one else mattered. Just us. When everyone stood, it was our faces that he wanted to see. He didn't care who was standing...as long as it was us.

Who do you care about? Who are you looking for? When you celebrate those huge moments, or the mundane, whose face do you want to see? Yeah, for me...it's not always the right answer. It's the approval of everyone else. Like, "Look, everyone...I made it aren't you proud?" No matter that my Heavenly Father never leaves His throne and is always waving frantically..."Look UP! Do you see me waving? Do you see me swell up with pride that I am your Creator?" Andy looked our direction in faith. He knew where about we were standing and knew that since we could see him it was alright. The fist pumps, the joy, the satisfaction with finishing something well...we saw it. In fact, once we found him, we never took our eyes off of him. No one else in that place mattered to us. No one else had a story that could touch our hearts like his does. We only came to see him.

God does indeed care about more than us, but His attention is so very personal! This season is busy for everyone, but look UP! You may not see Him, but look in His direction and I'll bet you any money that you'll find Him. In fact He says that you will find Him when you seek Him with all of your heart. The shepherds found Him, the wise men found Him...He found me.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gaps...

"So, what's Santa going to bring you kids? Are you on the nice list? I bet that one is." The gentleman in Chick-fil-A waited until we finished our prayer to ask. The kids looked at me with huge grins and Anson mouthed, "You say it, Mom." I shook my head a few times and we continued to "entertain" this man's question. What did Anson want me to say? Well, let me say that we don't "do" Santa. It's not a huge deal, we have just decided that's not how we want to spend our energy or our conversations. There are so many other wonderful conversations to have this time of year, we just don't "do" it. This is the first year we outright told our children. In the past we've sort of raised our eyebrows and grinned, we weren't sure what we thought. We are sure now. We don't want to do it. So, I made up a little song of what they, in theory, could say when all of the well meaning people of this world stoop to their level and say, bright eyed, "What's Santa gonna bring ya." This is what we sing...IN OUR HOME..."I'm a dirty rotten sinner on the naughty list, but I'm gettin' a Savior for...Christmas!" So, today that's what Anson wanted me to respond. I couldn't. I was caught off guard, or was I? Perhaps I chickened out. I could have said, "Actually, sir, no. They are getting nothing from Santa. Their father works hard and we will give them good gifts just like our Father gave us One." That's good...why didn't I think of that? Now I have my line. So, I left convicted. I didn't have to share the "Four Spiritual Laws" I could have just been honest. I don't like it that we have to pretend for the sake of others. I think that even while I type this, I'm not going to. So, I feel like I chickened out in front of my kids. Rats. (Thank heaven that right now Andrew Peterson is singing Hosanna! Praise God!...I love Pandora)

Then we went to the grocery store because I had not sufficiently run my children to the end of themselves. We got all of our ingredients for the yummy things of the season and while we were checking out they asked if I would like to donate a dollar for the hungry. I'm not even sure what hungry that they were going to feed, but I said, with a scrunchy face, "No, thank you." Am I wretched or what? I hardly ever give to that sort of stuff. In my head I always think, "I'm a consistent tither. I support a little girl in Uganda and have for several years...just let me have my stinkin' stuff and not make me feel like a stanky person for saying, "No." I know it's just a dollar, but I have to come back here...then another dollar...when does it end? So, we were walking out and Anson said, "Why didn't we give a dollar to help the hungry?" "Uh, cause we help in other ways." I think he saw my gaps. In fact, I think he saw my gaps twice. I can't hide them. I'm with them all day long, I can't fake it forever! I think I need to follow-up that conversation soon with why I do or do not give to grocery store things. It's a good thing, I'm sure...I just always feel like crap if I don't give. Do you all give? What's your take on it? I'm in need of a Savior whether I give or not...and if my kids see my gaps, then they'll know that I need a Savior too. Then when it's time to worship, we'll worship together because we'll all know Him, because we all know each other and how much we need Him, it will be sweet.

So, I guess I'm glad that they see my gaps...if you are around me enough you'll see them too. You may feel better or worse, but if you'd like to meet me at the Cross, we can simply worship together.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sin is pleasant...for a time.

I swore them off. They make me shaky and I can't focus, and I feel fat. I didn't need them. I didn't like the way they made me feel. They are expensive. They are yummy. I had one, today. I felt shaky, I couldn't focus...I feel fat. A Cappucino Blast from Baskin Robbins. Dang it! I knew I would feel crummy. I had Bible Study with my sisters and I felt like I was in warp speed.

After Ella was born I would stop by the Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins and "reward" myself with a little yummy treat (usually after a trip to Wal-Mart...bless my heart). I would usually buy the kids a munchkin to assuage my guilt and a few months later I was heavier than I had ever been (or want to be again) all because of these little treasures. A few months ago I realized that they make me feel really bad. It's probably because I don't take in a lot of caffeine on a regular basis, so the "blast" part does it's job...well.

Today we had Tin Whistle practice. (I LOVE TIN WHISTLE) Ella doesn't play yet (BUT SHE WILL BECAUSE I LOVE TIN WHISTLE) and I wanted her to know how thankful I am for her and her obedience (I do not always reward her for her obedience) but feel like every now and then I should throw my amazing children a bone (or a donut.) So, I got a blast. Yum. I love the first sip. When the guy asks if I want whipped cream and cinnamon I think, "IS THERE ANY OTHER WAY? LOAD IT UP!!!" I love sipping them on the way home. Everyone is buckled up, so I cannot be assaulted whilst enjoying my little treat. I thought about only drinking half of it and throwing the rest of it away when I got home, but WHY? It's so yummy! Then I remembered. My shoulder tensed up, I start chewing on my lip, I feel hungry and full at the same time. NOOOOO! It turned against me. I showed it such love, and it just hurt me.

Sin. Those little baby things that we love, but we know are so bad for us. It isn't always big. In fact, in us "good Christian folk" it's little things that seem O.K. Which is how they take such control and wreck us from the inside out. I indulge in them. Just a little here, a little there. It might only be "House Hunters International" completely safe, right? Right. Until my heart screams, "I want more! I want a Mediterranean vacation home!" It's fine until one thirty minute show moves into another, maybe another. So, I finally turn the T.V. kiss my already snoozing husband and get a late start on my sleep, which usually effects my next day. Am I being dramatic? No. You may be able to handle these things, but I can't. I should avoid them. Just like the blast. Whether I go for a few months without it, the result is the same. I feel yucky. Sin just is never kind or tasty for long. It steals, kills and destroys. Even if it is dressed up and pretty.

I just want to be aware of it. I don't want to see it knocking and be like, "Oh, hey habit...gossip...sloth...I've missed you so much. Please, will you come in and chip away at my marriage, my family, my very walk with God. Can I get you something? Some water maybe...a Blast???"

So, I'm finished with them. I hope. At least I know that in Heaven there are no drive-thrus. I'll be able to worship without the bondage of this world...that is going to be so nice. So much better than the first sip of that silly blast.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning it's shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful man so you do not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ramblings...

Times they've changed! I'm not sure why it's more difficult for me to sit down and write a fun little something, but it is. I'm sure it's a season (that is likely to last for about, hmmm...16 or 17 more years) I have so many things that I want to blog about, but, alas, when it's time to write...I just can't. Here's what I'm thinking right now...

First of all, I just had a sweet conversation with my boy, about sin and the things that we struggle with. He's having a hard time with some stuff and we were able to talk about the Word and how it liberates us and protects us. I am just so thankful for the Bible and how it gives us the words to say. I don't ever want to be accused of saying, "It's not a big deal...suck it up." These things aren't life or death, but they are to them. Mike and I are reading Paul Tripp's book, Age of Opportunity, and it's really great and I feel like talking with our kids now will give us the groundwork for later. I highly recommend the read, whether you have teenagers or not. We do not, but we like to stay a few steps ahead.

We spent some time in Gatlinburg, TN last week. On Sunday we went to Ripley's Aquarium. It almost brought me to a point of worship. They have some neat displays of different fish and how they eat and disguise themselves. God made them well. I was in awe at how these fish looked and acted. Have you ever looked at a Jellyfish? They are so beautiful just floating in the water. They have no bones, brain or heart, yet He took time on them. They are able to eat and survive. The angler fish with it's little worm thing poking out of it's head to catch it's dinner. No one had to tell it what to use it for, it just knows...and the wormy thing glows in the dark to attract a little snack. I have bones, a brain, and a heart. Did God not spend a great amount of time on me? I walked out of there believing that I was an incredible work of my Creator. So what it my kids left me with front butt? (Yes, I said it! I'm adjusting to it. My c-section scar has left me scarred in a rather unattractive manner!) I am not my scar. I am not my experiences. I am declared righteous by a Holy God based on the sanctifying work of Christ on the Cross. It was eye opening. Praise Him!

So, it's Christmas time. I have a small home that I struggle to keep tidy. When I say I struggle...think STRUGGLE! I could blame it on a hundred things, it's just not something I...probably just not something I care about. Until the Holidays. I love decorations, eventhough I'm not Martha Stewart (or even her 4th or 5th cousin by marriage!)I like it to look inviting and sweet. So, I pulled down our Christmas decorations. I say "I" because in an effort to "stick it to" my husband, I crawled into the attic to prove that I don't need his help. The funny thing is, I really wasn't sure how I was going to do it without him. I was going to find a way...he came to help. I made it abundantly clear that I DID NOT need his help, but I did. Nothing like pulling Christmas down angry at the world, is there! So, the decorations are just sort of, well, I feel like they are crammed in here. Like we are just making room. I thought about how that's about exactly what we must do. If it had to wait until my house was spotless it would NEVER happen. If I had to wait until I was good and ready to receive my Savior, it would NEVER happen. Jesus must invade my life. He must show up as the Rescuer that He is and make a spot for Himself. I don't care if it's a mess. It's just a little reminder that I am a mess and without Jesus I'm in BIG trouble. So, I'm not freaking out. When the lights are out and only my little white lights and the tree are lit, it's soothing. How about you? What are you waiting for? Let Him invade. Let Him walk into your mess...your chaotic and out of control mess and bring the Peace that only He can bring. Go ahead, stop freaking out...you know you want to.

Until next time...

Friday, November 6, 2009

100th Post!

This is my 100th post! Wow! I don't have anything special planned for it...which for those of you who know me, that's no surprise. I'm not much of a planner (except there are some things...but not this) so...picture this; You click on my blog and balloons fall from YOUR ceiling and the blog sings and your heart rejoices (although I'm not sure why) all in celebration of 100 posts. That sure was special...I'm glad I planned it.

For real...
I have a godmother. No one else has one. I am one of 5 children and I'm the only one. I had "godparents" but several years ago "Uncle George" died and so now I have "Aunt Janet." Her husband was my father's boss on the railroad and my folks were not near family. When I was baptized they were invited to support Mom and Dad. Like family. Well, they supported me. I never even heard their voice (never Uncle George's) until I was married and lived in Valdosta. I just wanted to hear what she sounded like. She had always sent a card and money for my birthday and when I headed over to Africa she was one of my supporters. I had heard a bit about her, but never met her. Until last January.

My father put in about 78 years on the railroad (not really...I'm not sure how many) and so last year he finally retired. Aunt Janet called and asked if I was going to Dad's testimony. I wasn't sure what she was talking about...it was his retirement party...cute. So, I talked with Mike and got the details and learned that there was a party in New Jersey and we should go...I wanted to go. Aunt Janet said that she wasn't going unless I went. I was so excited to finally meet her!

She wanted to surprise Dad, but I didn't know where to pick her up, so I spilled the beans and Dad helped me get Aunt Janet off the train. She hit me for ruining the surprise and I knew I'd love getting to know her! Dad left us alone to visit and Mike, Aunt Janet and I found a little corner in the hotel bar (of all places) to get to know each other. Going into it I felt there would be so many things that she would want to know about me (me...me...me...YUCK) as soon as she started talking, I wanted to hear more about her. First you must know that she's been living in Connecticut for, well...ever I think. So, she's got a very distinct accent. She began to tell me stories of she and Uncle George and how they met and how they courted and all about her letters. See, Uncle George served in WWII and they only corresponded over mail for 4 years while he was overseas. FOUR YEARS!!! I think he may have called her twice. I was so taken by this story that I wanted time to stand still so that I could hear all of the details. What did she do? How and why did she wait for him? What was their life like? It was like she took me back to another time and place. Then she mentioned the letters again. "What letters?" I finally asked. "Oh, I've got boxes of them." He wrote her every day sometimes twice a day all that time. She said that she had more than 1500 of them. I have to write that out so that I can write it in all caps FIFTEEN HUNDRED LETTERS FROM WAR! She said that she used to read books all the time, but now all she could do was read those letters. No book can hold her attention. Only the letters from her love. He's been gone for at least 10 years and still they capture her heart. They connect her to him. She said that she'd send me some. WHAT!!! Mike knew that I almost wet my pants. I love the written word and he knew that these would be such treasures to me.

True to her word, she did send me some letters. (I did have to send them back) You have never seen (maybe you have)such beautiful language. It took me a while to figure out what some of the words were, but once I learned how Uncle George wrote his letters, I could read them effortlessly. I couldn't put them down. They were dripping with poetry that only love could stir. No wonder she couldn't put them down. They were hers, from her love.

Do you know what the Bible is? Is it a list of rules that keep us "good Christians" in line? Is it a good book of history that we can learn from? Is it something that if we teach to our children will guarantee that they don't end up pregnant and shacked up with some "undesirable?" I think some people believe that to be true, but not me. I believe that it is God's letters to his people that is dripping with poetry that only love can stir. I believe that it should captivate us the way Uncle George's letters captivate Aunt Janet. However, the only reason why she clings to those letters is because of the way she clung to him. As we love God (through his grace) and get to know Him, I believe that His word will do the same for us. I believe that we will long for Him. Now, we are going to read other books, I'm sure, but they should never satisfy us the way His letters do.

I've been doing a Bible Study that I did YEARS ago as a new believer and it's like a memory book of scripture. Remembering how God used those verses to change me, to challenge me...to show me who He is and how He loves me. It has ignited my heart a bit. Motivated me to read it daily to see what will be next. So, I don't know how you feel about the Bible, but I want to remind you that God wrote it...for us...to know Him. That's it. So, put that other stuff down, you love has left a paper trail and you will be delighted to read all of the wonderful things that He has done for you.

One more thing. One of my Dad's favorite songs is by Frank Sinatra, My Way (a great song...for the rebel in all of us) and I'm not quite sure whether someone mentioned it or what, but Aunt Janet leaned over and said, "You know, Frank Sinatra sang at my PROM!" The people that are older than us have a RIDICULOUS amount to offer us. Go find one today! :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sharing...

I stumbled upon this blog some time ago, and I always weep when reading it. This particular post is beautiful...eating the living word...hungry?

http://www.aholyexperience.com/

I hope you find it as wonderfully refreshing as I do.

Ali

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Miss Me?









Whew! That sums it up only a little! We had Mike's birthday on September 11, then Julia on the 27, Anson on October 15th and Ella on the 18. Party-time! I've also been learning that if I am homeschooling my children...I'd better do it! I'm finding that I do a bit more when the computer is off...I have longed to blog and have sat down several times, but with no success. So, today...maybe a little something...about Zumba...

I've been shakin' it pretty regularly lately and as always I enjoy it. However, two weeks ago I was a little humbled. This is my second year of Zumba, so I've learned a few songs and do not STRUGGLE with the moves like I did when I started. Well, about 2 weeks ago, it was time for my favorite song again. The "Chico Snap." It's a fun little song, but I think what I enjoy most about it is that this was the first dance that I learned and could do without my brain shorting out on me. So, we start the song and I'm feeling pretty confident and guess what...I had FORGOTTEN some of the moves! My feet didn't go the direction that I thought they knew they would and so I laughed a little bit and had to wait until I could get back on the beat and jump in. That happened a few times throughout the song. Hmmmm I thought I knew it so well. Was I, perhaps, a little too confident? I think so.

Lately I've seen myself tripping a little spiritually. I learned the Christian dance. I was discipled well and even went on a few trips for the purpose of teaching others. I was sharp. I was passionate...I got confident in my flesh and I stopped being as intentional with my time alone with the Lord or as intense in my study. I've been caught off guard and where no one else may have noticed, I have. I have taken for granted that I knew how to do something and thought it would simply return when I needed it. Not so. Just like Zumba, my walk with God must be maintained on a consistent basis for it to have any real effect on my life or the life of anyone around me. I can't be jumping in every now and then with the hopes that I'll get enough to last me. I must study the moves, practice them, until they become second nature (or first nature!) again!

So, I'm meeting with my little sisters in a Bible Study. I'm so very excited about this because I've wanted to be in a Bible study with them ever since I became a Christian almost 13 years ago. It's fun to be challenged to meet with God...maybe you don't need accountability...but I know I wouldn't Zumba on my own!!! I'm brushing up on some of those things that captivated my heart so long ago and I know that in time my moves will be sweet! Not only that...but my relationship with Christ will be the prize. Knowing Him. Meeting with Him daily. Laying my life down at His feet every morning. To be confident in Him alone. I'm so thankful that His mercies are new every morning.

I'll be back soon...I've got some things in my head...but there are some folks around here that I have really been enjoying...I hope the same for all of you!

Blessings

Friday, September 11, 2009

Torn.

I was beginning Phonics when the teacher across the hall stepped in, "The World Trade Center has been hit." Wow, that's some horrible accident. What could that mean? A few minutes later, "They are suspecting that we are under a terrorist attack." I saw a bit of the footage and immediately headed over to the computer to find out how close my Dad was to the Towers. Everyone was scattering. Looking. Searching. Making sure that those close to them were no where near the attack. Unfortunately not all were far enough and unfortunately the attack was on their family directly, not only our Nation.

Dad was fine in the train station, although he was stuck there for a few days because they closed the tunnels. Whew. I was so very thankful.

9/11. We don't even call it September. We all know what 9/11 we're referring to, don't we. It's the 9/11 the day that our soil was invaded. It's also Mike's birthday. Every year I hardly know what to do. That year was tough because we wanted to go to dinner, but we felt torn. Dare we celebrate when the lives of thousands have been buried under debris. Dare we celebrate when men risked their lives to hijack the plane back in order to spare the lives of those fortunate enough to be on the ground? Do we dare hold our loved ones close when there is an empty side on so many beds? I never know what to do.

I do celebrate Mike. He is here and he is mine. This morning, however, my emotions caught me off guard. I don't know if it was hearing George Bush, (on the radio) or the cries for help and mercy or what, but it hit me that we are at war and have been for 8 years. I sleep sound every night. I homeschool my children and kiss my husband when he comes home from work. I buy ice-cream for no reason and waste food. I act like we're free cause we wanna be. You know what is bizarre? My Step-Father missed Julia's birth because he was in Iraq. His body will never be the same and I'm sure there are secrets that are tucked away that torment him. My brother-in-law is a Purple Hearted, Combat Wounded Veteran at the ripe old age of 24. I know there is a war and while they were there I knew it. I prayed for it. But, our table is full again. God let me remember that some folks have empty seats. Some babies will only ever see a picture of the one they would call Daddy. Heaven help me!

I think about the phone calls that the media reported. People calling from airplanes and buildings engulfed in flames. I don't remember one person saying, "Hey honey, tell me...how much money do we have in savings? Do you think my boss thinks I'm good?" Not one. They were desperate attempts to tell the people that they loved the most that they loved them and that they were loved in return. In the end, that's all there is. We got mad because the people we love were hurt, or worse, killed. We got mad because this is supposed to be a safe place.

You know what I try to do? To honor those who lost their lives? I wish I were a better Patriot, but I keep short accounts. Try to anyway. I snuggle with my husband and read with my children. I love the people around me because I am reminded that each day we have together really is a gift. It really might not happen again.

Paul said it best when he said that these three remain, faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is...love.

Father in heaven, would you please comfort those who mourn the anniversary of that last phone call. Be the Father to those whose Dad is only a picture and a story. Please be the provider for those who lost so much so quickly. Please, Father, won't you please draw us back to You that Your name would be exalted in this country. I pray for the men and women, our soldiers, sleeping outside in filthy conditions. I pray that you would whisper to them of your love and faithfulness. Please do not send them without your presence. God, help us. In Jesus name.

P.S.
I am nervous posting this because I feel it is such a sensitive subject. My prayer is that it will just cause us to pray for those families who have lost families and who have family members gone right this very minute. I also want to remind us all that life is short...love well.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Daddy Wong from Hong Kong!!!

We are a homeschooling family. That means that we usually try to make everything about learning something. It's probably annoying sometimes to the kids when they just want to tell us or show us something, but that's how we are. So, that being said, several weeks ago we had spider egg sacks hanging on our front porch. (Please don't wretch or judge me!) So, in good ole' homeschool fashion I said, "Guys, look at how amazing that web is! Look at that little egg sack. How many eggs do you think are in there? Probably at least hundreds! Isn't that amazing how God has designed spiders? We aren't going to knock it down because spiders eat the other bugs that we don't want around." So, that was that. The spiders were allowed to live (rent free) on our porch. We left for 2 weeks.

Time passes. Apparently the spider lings "birthday" occurred whilst we were away!

We open the door and start the normal dropping and unloading and begin to notice daddy long leg spiders here and there, wait, no they are EVERYWHERE! It was horrific! I felt dirty and negligent. The nerve of those spiders! I had given them a wonderful place to eat bugs and live and now they moved in! How dare they!!! Ella kept saying, "Dere's anudder daddy wong weg!"

This morning I was putting some things away and another stinkin' daddy wong caught my eye. I was so irritated. I wish to heaven I would have DESTROYED the egg sack and then just called Borden to deal with the other bugs that the spiders were no longer able to handle because of their sudden death! Unfortunately I didn't do that. I just let them stay. They seemed innocent enough. You know that daddy long legs are poisonous, but cannot bite, so they are harmless. Why not let them take over. Why? Why you ask? Because this is my house and I do not want them here.

Now, how about my thoughts? I let little spiders build webs all over my brain. I just let them hang out (again, rent free) allowing them to build nests and make their evil plans to take over my brain. What are these "spiders?" Let's see, they can be any number of harmless sins. Worry. Concern for what others think of me. Fear for my children. Irritation with my husband because he isn't more like Jason Bourne (WHAT??? If you know me, you know where that came from) Laziness in thought. I could go on and on. I have found that these harmless spiders produce at a rapid rate and before I know it I am overcome with worry, fear, basic sin in general. One worry is bad enough...but it gives birth to many more and I am unable to trust God because I am so overcome.

So, what to do. Well, I blasted the webs. They ARE amazing! I had the hose on them full force and still had to use a paper towel to get them down. We catch them and flush them or throw them out the door. We do not allow them to stay. We are over them! We've learned our lesson and the lesson is this, "LEAVE NO SURVIVORS!" We must put them to death.

I must do the same. God has been dealing with me in the area of my thoughts. What I take in totally effects what comes out. He has nixed some shows (I saw it coming, but it's still hard) and has been stirring me while it is still dark in order to be with me. Renewing my mind by the washing of His Word. Don't get me wrong, there are still spiders. Just like the one that I found today. They are still making there way in here, but I don't have to tolerate them, or give them food to make them stay. God, who is rich in mercy, has given a way we can be free from spiders in our brain. Those things that seek to steal, kill and destroy us. I am so very thankful for His grace.

No spiders allowed! In my house...or my head!

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1

I was looking for another verse, but found this one and though it was just too good not to share...

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time." 1 Peter 1:3

Note: This summer there was a contestant on Wipeout and her name was DeeDee Wong from Hong Kong...that's just too good not to use! That's where the daddy wong from Hong Kong is from!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Not So Cool

Do you ever feel uncool? Like everyone in the world is cooler than you? More popular
than you? Being used by God in ways that you would NEVER be used? I need to get in the Word. I'll tell you what. How long, Oh, Lord, will I be in the 6th grade? How long will I long for You to mold me into something that I am not? How long will I look on with envy that you have gifted others in ways that You have not gifted me. How long will I be sad that I don't sew, or monogram things...or want to? How long? How long will I want to spend time with people that I don't have anything in common with? How long will I scoff at the life and talents and mercies you have so freely poured out on me? How long? Until I spend time with You, You say. Until I value Your Word more than I value 20 minutes of extra sleep? Until I seek Your will alone, rather than my own. Then, You say, and ONLY then will I be satisfied. Then, and only then, will I look at where the boundary lines have fallen and declare them to be so good...so pleasing...so perfect. Oh, Father, won't you captivate my heart again. Won't You please satisfy me in the morning with Your unfailing love. I'm not all that...but to Christ...ahh...but because of Christ...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A bunch of nobodies...

So,
After reading Darlene Deibler Rose's book, Evidence Not Seen, I've started another challenging book. Many of you have probably already been challenged by it, Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot. Many of you have probably heard his words, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." I read something today that I loved even more than that.
I tend to glorify the call that missionaries have on their lives. (I know we are all missionaries, I mean the ones that raise support and hit the trail...) He said, after some time in Mexico, which he loved, "Missionaries are very human folks, just doing what they are asked. Simply a bunch of nobodies trying to exalt Somebody." I was thankful for those words. I'm pretty much a nobody and pretty human at that! Apparently I still make the cut for those that are capable of exalting Somebody...The Somebody...Praise Him that He would choose to use us even in fallen condition.
My little sister said that she didn't read biographies because they would make her feel like she's not good enough. I'm sure she's not alone in that. In reading biographies of those who have gone before me, endured opposition and even surrendered their very life for the cause of Christ, it fires me up. It refines my vision for what God is doing in my life and the life of those around me. It makes me long for Him the way these "human folks doing what they are asked" longed for Him. I was almost jealous of the intimacy Darlene Rose had with the Father and Jim Elliot's conviction and determination to know God and preach Him to those who have NEVER heard has revealed how little I...um...care about the lost.
So, that's where I am right now. Realizing I'm a mess...and Jesus knew it when He laid down His life. Wow.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Cup of Reality.

So, sometimes when you don't hear from me, it's because I am not an anonymous blogger. Sometimes I would love to blog about something...but it would not always be the best thing. That's all I'll say about that.

Also, we've been checked out. We went on what I called the Team Wessner Summer Tour where we saw lots of our favorite faces and hugged lots of necks. It was a ton of fun, but after our two weeks were up, we came home for a few days and then headed to Tennessee for a few days with family for a suprise party. It felt I had a "layover" at home. I'm thankful for the time away and thankful to be home. I've already started the laundry so tomorrow all we have to do is fold it. So, there have been several "blog-worthy" moments, but I must share about the book I just finished. It was a cup of cold water and a cup of reality.

Several years ago during a Christmas Conference I heard a woman by the name of Darlene Rose share her story. (Do any of my college gals remember this??? I don't think any of us could forget it.) Darlene was a young missionary to New Guinea just before WWII broke out. Her husband was taken by the Japanese soldiers and she never saw him again. What I remember most is that she was a much older lady when she spoke with us and she still wept over her loss as though she had just received the news. She was a POW for 4 years plus a few months and she wrote her story in a book called, "Evidence Not Seen." Like any good young Christian I bought the book with every intention of reading it. This was probably at LEAST 10 years ago. I wanted to buy some new books, but decided on reading some of the books that are on my shelf first and started with this one. I'm so thankful I did.

I haven't read several biographies of heroes of our faith, but I have read a few. Do you? Reading the stories, especially this one, causes me to desire Christ more. It challenges me to fix my eyes on Christ. Is He really worthy of my life? Could I really suffer for Him? Why? While reading this book I was almost jealous of the intimacy that this young woman had with our Lord. Her ears were so attentive to His voice and her heart was so tender to His commands. She told Him she would go anywhere and she did. When she thought she couldn't take any more confinement or suffer through the devastation of one more loss, she laid herself at the feet of her Lord and submitted with GREAT JOY to His leadership and love. Unbelieveable. I want to know her Savior...who is also my Savior. Her husband's life was used in a mighty way as was hers. She labored selflessly even in her POW camp believing that God was with her and HAD ORDAINED it. Challenging to say the least.

So, there are things in my head that I would like to write about, but I would like to encourage those of you who are up for a little challenge to pull a book off of your shelf. Snuggle up with Jesus and meet some of the people who have laid their lives down for His Glory and Kingdom. I'll tell you what, not a whole lot seems all that important afterwards. So, if you've read a great book that has impacted your faith, will you tell me so that I may be mutally encouraged by the lives of the saints? Thank you...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Souvenirs of brokenness







Kids break. If you haven't had one break on you yet, just give them time. Ella was our first break. Roughly 4 weeks ago she got a little baby cast on her teeny little arm. She fell. I'm not sure if she was falling getting back into her bed, or getting out of it...she was supposed to be in it, however it happened, it broke. Actually it didn't break, it buckled, and she needed a cast. Today the cast was removed and an interesting conversation occurred that struck me. I'll try to make it fast, I should be cleaning a bathroom...

"Hey, now we can play broken arm." That was the response when the nurse told Ella she could keep her cast. They cut it in two places, so she simply wrapped a bit of tape around it, so you could put it back on. The kids thought that was so much fun and told Ella that she could put it back on if she wanted. I laughed with them and said, "Now, why would she need that? Her arm isn't broken anymore?"

Neither are we. Jesus Christ paid the price. There is healing in His blood. How many of us walk around with our cast "just in case." We remember we were broken. We remember how it felt. We remember that it hurt and then we got a cast and we couldn't feel the pain anymore. I am not broken. Yet I keep my souvenirs around. I can show them to others or even pull them out privately and relive the brokenness. Foolish. It's foolish. Would you think I was funny if I kept that cast on Ella even though her arm is healed? No. Would you think maybe I was smart because I was being proactive? No. You would (hopefully) tell me I was a crazy woman.

I think of several instances where Jesus healed someone and said, "Go, your faith has made you well." He told the man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5) "Pick up your mat and walk." If you do a word search on "healed" their are a number of verses that will come up. Jesus is about healing. Not remaining broken.

Read Isaiah's words, "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

He was broken. We were healed. You don't need the cast if you are in Christ. You aren't broken. You are at peace with God through Jesus Christ. You are friends. There is healing in Him. Sometimes it's good to remember the brokenness. It serves as a gentle reminder of His grace. I would, however, like to focus a bit more on the healing.

1 Peter 2:24, "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed."

Get rid of the cast. You have been made well.



Two funny stories of the cast.
1. When my sister was here Ella fell and my little nephew said, "Ella, you are lucky you have that cast on when you fell or you could have broken your arm." HA!

2. The other day Anson said, "Ella, one good thing about having a cast on your arm is when bugs are around you can just wham em' with your cast!" Nothing like bug guts on an already dirty cast!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I Know Him, but I Can't Trust Him

Ella has been responding in a rather irritating manner these days to loud noises. She covers her ears and repeats, "It's woud." We're trying to be patient, but it can be inconvenient.

Tonight we were coming home from church in a thunderstorm. It wasn't bad, but there was lightening and a little bit of thunder. She walked inside covering her ears and was still noticeably nervous once inside. I knelt down in front of her and looked into her sweet little face and said, "Ella, who makes the thunder?" To which she responded in a confident whisper, "Jesus." So I replied, "So, can we trust it?" She immediately said, "NO."

Isn't that the truth. Eventhough we know the author and perfector of our faith, we don't believe that we can trust anything He does.

God help me to trust You, and You alone.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Hmmm...

It drives me crazy when people don't update their blog. I mean, it really frustrates me! I love to know what my "url" friends are up to. What they are learning, teaching, growing...whatever. I suppose I understand why blogs aren't updated on the hour. Life happens first.

I have decided that Father's Day is one of my least favorite holidays. Please read the rest of this before you unsubscribe or write me off...Mike is a fabulous Dad. He really is. I love watching him learn and grow and try and fail and try again. He always knocks it out of the park on Mother's Day. This year I had a yummy breakfast in bed. (He went to two drive thrus because where he got my biscuit doesn't serve Coke and he knows I can't/won't eat a biscuit without a Coke) he got me a super coupon for a pedicure and Vera Bradley pants. I didn't even know they made Vera Bradley pants! I felt like a special woman. Then came Father's Day. First of all I love Mike's help. So, to give him a special day off annoys me because more and more we are becoming quite the team. I need him. Then there is the whole gift hangup. I love to give. I love to pick up fun little things and give them to my friends as little surprises. When it comes to Mike I just fizzle out like a really disappointing firework. No pop, no flare, just a little squeak and then smoke. He loves golf, fishing, gardening, and lots of other things and I just struggle choosing anything. The truth is that I don't know enough about his hobbies to know what would be a special gift. I'm having a hard time remembering what we got him...Oh, two new games. Scrabble Apple and Bing-OH. Lame-Oh. I know-Oh.

Because of my poor planning and my lame gifts I was angry all day long that I didn't do enough to really express how valuable he is to this house. When he isn't with us there is an enormous hole. If he isn't eating dinner...we eat cereal! So, all day I just wanted it to be over because I was so embarassed that I was so bad at expressing how vital he is to me.

Jesus. Mike's love reminds me of Jesus' love and I get frustrated that I stink at showing Jesus my gratitude as well. I think of all of these great things that I could do for Him and then puff, sqeak, smoke...I'm sleeping in and missing opportunities to love Him.

The best thing I could do for Mike is to be with him. To enjoy his company and to build him up in front of my family for the great guy that he is. In the same way that's what I can do to express my love for my Savior. I can enjoy Him. I can build Him up with my praise in front of the watching world so they will all know Him for the great Savior that He is.

So, I still don't love Father's Day, but I sure do love Jesus for giving me my Mike.

A quick Blogella:
Mike is becoming quite the gardener. He visits his garden in the morning and in the evening. He loves those plants. He waters them, he prunes them, he cuts vine borers out of them. I am seeing how neat he is while he gets to know his plants. I've been watching and I've been learning. Here are just a few things:
1. Pests are killing his vegetables. He does everything right but he cannot keep the bugs from doing their thing. He is vigilant in checking the vines, shaking the leaves, reading up on how to rid the garden of the pests. In my life it's the pests. It's the little seemingly insignificant things that wreck my crop. It's 30 minutes here, a little gossip there, before you know it I'm under attack. We must be aggressive with dealing with the pests. God help me!

2. You reap what you sow. We planted cantelope and there is a little baby cantelope on the vine. We planted tomatoes and we've been enjoying tomatoes. We've enjoyed the squash and tonight we had one of our sweet peppers. No surprises. What we planted is what came up. In the lives of my children what am I planting? Heck, in my own life what am I planting? Is it righteousness? Am I planting seeds of forgivness and grace or impatience and hatred? There are no surprises. You reap what you sow.

3. It is good to enjoy the crop. It is so pleasing to serve someone a tomato and cucumber salad and say, "Yup, those are from our garden." To be quick...my children are from my garden. God has given us what we need to nurture them and cultivate the soil of their hearts. We cannot make them believers, but we can be sure to check them for pests (literally we check for ticks 'round these parts)and be sure that nothing is working it's way into their hearts that could steal and kill and destroy. I believe I can enjoy my children. I do now and I plan on it later. We'll do whatever we can as the earthly gardener and we'll trust God for the rain to make them grow.

I think that's all for now...Oh wait...one more...Margie told me this would be a good story for my blog...
Last week was VBS. My sister was also in town so it was a busy week. When my boy gets tired he gets weepy. One particular day a child took something that belonged to Anson and he felt rightfully wronged. Or wronged with good reason...anyway...he was mad. I had another copy of what was taken from him, but he wouldn't have it. He was fired up that someone had taken something that belonged to him. I couldn't calm him down, but he finally pulled it together long enough to tell his friend Daniel about the incident. I watched him across the room explain what had happened and then watched as he listened intently to Daniel's response. Later that day I remembered to ask what Daniel had said and this was his response, "He just told me that I need to be the opposite of what I was." I thought that was precious. Daniel didn't respond with hatred or anger, he looked at Anson's condition...at his heart. When I shared that with Margie she said, "That's what I say to Jesus! Just make me the opposite of what I am right now." Praise Him that is EXACTLY what He does. I am so thankful that I am not the same as when He made me the opposite.

Last thing. Last night was the Graham/Wessner swap. Kelli and I swap one child and we each still have 3 kids. I got her daughter and she got my son. It is such fun getting time with them. This morning the girls were playing and I went in to check on them and sweet little Haviland said, "I was just telling Ella about Jesus in case she didn't know." Does that challenge you like it does me? Who have I mentioned Jesus to "just in case." God help me.

That's about all. I just wanted to update my blog...thank you for reading and hopefully enjoying what is here.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Refiner's Fire.

I had a mouth. I have a mouth. Before coming to faith my mouth could spew some serious venom. Some of you may find that shocking, others, my cussing friends...just giggle. Coming to faith didn't change my mouth so much as it changed the venom. It didn't seem as vile as four letter words, but I still cannot get my forked tongue under control. A verse that I have had stored in my heart since 1997 is found in Psalm 141:3 "Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips." I feel like I need an armored soldier standing outside of my lips arresting any detestable thing that flows forth. I could blame my words...but Jesus says that the real problem is not my mouth, but my heart. In addressing the Pharisees in Matthew 12:34 Jesus says, "You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." I need the armored soldier...but I also need a clean heart.

This year has been really stinkin' hard. Since I started keeping another child my days were more like managing than mothering. I missed my children. I missed my house. I missed my life. My children have been with me, but when you babysit everyday (at least this is true for me) you become more like a babysitter than a Mama. I'm a pretty good babysitter, but I'm a much better Mama. I have seen alot of my human frailties and to be honest...I'm a little surprised. I really didn't think I was that bad. I joke about my sin, (which is despicable since sin is what nailed my Jesus to the cross)but have really seen that it's no joke. I'm just going to be honest. I thought I was a pretty good Mom. I am...to my children. I don't know everything about parenting...someone else's child. I know mine. God has given me divine insight, understanding, and wisdom to parent my children. I'm not the mother of the year...I'm their mother...this year...and every year, so I guess I am a Mother of the Year! I have seen how judgemental I really am. Thinking that I got where I am because of my own awesomeness. I mean...what else could it be? Hmmm how 'bout some GRACE? FAVOR? MERCY? God has shown me kindness because of Jesus. That's humbling. Do you (I say you because when I write this it's like I'm talking to a friend on my sweet front porch rocking chairs)think that you must be responsible for at least some of the great stuff in your life? I'll take credit for the screwed up parts, but can't I take some credit for the good stuff too? Nope. He is the Breath of Heaven. The Bread of Life. The Father of Heavenly Lights. Giver of every good thing. My Creator, Redeemer and Friend. He enables me to obey, repent, and love. I have made some great choices, but it is because He was leading me. They weren't my ideas.

So, I've just been sort of introspective. I'm finding some insecurities. I'm worried that I'm going to say something ridiculous and offend thousands. I find I want to withdraw a bit to protect myself and others. I'm finding that without the Cross...I've got nothing. It's been so precious to see my need because it makes me love Jesus more and want to honor Him in the things that I do. Then I make a dumb comment or mistake and feel like I'll never get it. I suppose that's where the whole "sanctification" comes in. A verse that I go to sleep thinking about is that His mercies are new every morning. I LOVE that Truth. I love knowing that in the morning I start over. I want to be that kind of person. I want to start new every morning with everyone and everything. I want to live in awe of His ability to deal with me.

So, I say all that to say I'm really excited about June. I'm excited about tearing down some alters and worshipping God instead of the other foolish idols that I've been looking to for salvation. I'm looking forward to having my kids back. I did't realize how much I enjoy them until I was managing them. I'm excited that the Lord has refined me this year. Burning away all the yuck that isn't of Him. I know that I'm not finished, but I can only withstand the flames for so long. He takes me out, looks me over, and in I go again. Thankfully. Thankfully there will be more refining. The thought of being the same for the rest of my life turns my stomach. I invite it, Lord. Please, burn away all that isn't of You. As long as You are the One doing the work I know it can be trusted and I know it will be worth it.

P.S.
I'm very proud that I figured out how to put music on this. I don't love it because I can't read and listen at the same time. However, I felt like these songs were appropriate and maybe it will give you a taste of what I enjoy listening to. Jo...whenever I listen to Jennifer Knapp I think of you...playing your guitar in our little dorm room...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day...Wreckage.





So, there I am in all of my pregnant glory. The pictures are in order of the children. The first was taken a few weeks before my due date with Anson, the second was the day before my c-section with Julia, and the third was the morning I went in for Ella. I'm so sorry to sound so cliche', but, it seems as though it was only yesterday. The kids are now 6, 4, and 2 and I'm shocked at their abilities. I suppose that is where it all started. That is where the wrecking began.

They wrecked my body. I used to have some body. I look back at pictures and think, "Man, I thought I was fat? I was beautiful!" Just last night I happened upon a high school photo and noticed my shirt was tucked in, I had on a belt, and there was NO MUFFIN TOP! I was a cute little thang if I do say so myself. Some parts of my body have sadly yielded to the powerful force of gravity and only my feet are faithful when it comes to choosing a size. My feet never (only during pregnancy) feel tight in the size that they are supposed to be. My feet are good to me!

They wrecked my mind. I never forgot to brush my teeth until I had children. I used to speak in complete sentences and not use "potty talk." I found it inappropriate to talk about various parts of the body, nausea, or breast infections in mixed company...those days are long gone. I remember being so embarassed by my inability to communicate over the phone to some insurance lady that I actually told her that I was a college graduate, but couldn't think straight because I was pregnant! It was pretty bad. I never put cereal in the refrigerator until I had children. I've never heard an incessant beep telling me that something was ready and been unable to remember what I was timing. I wasn't top of the class (like Mike was) but I wasn't the bottom of the barrel, either. Now I have been known to scour the trash cans for missing pictures or utensils that have been inadvertantly thrown away by an overly zealous toddler.

They wrecked my sleep habits. I used to sleep through the night and wake refreshed and ready for the day. Now it is not unusual to wake up only to find my hands scrubbing "pee-pee" off the floor and trying (quietly) to find clean panties and comfort a screaming child while begging the God of the Universe to let the other children stay asleep. Then I crawl back into bed only to wake my husband so that he knows that I was up...and he wasn't...at least until I woke him up! Saturday mornings Mike and I would sleep in, wake up to eat breakfast and maybe go back to bed. Not anymore. We wake up with 3 other people making their needs known to us and we, well, we comply...we just want peace on earth!

They wrecked my marriage. We used to talk quietly about our day over dinner and then watch some Wheel of Fortune before piddling around the house and then heading to bed. We used to go to movies without 3 weeks notice to find a sitter...we'd actually just go to the theatre and see what was playing and decide right there what we would watch. Then, we'd go to dinner.

They wrecked me. I used to meet friends for lunch, or dinner, spend hours with the Lord, finish books and write more letters. Now my lunch and dinner dates include them, I am teaching them how to meet with the Lord and how to read and write themselves. Lots of wrecking, but you know what...I needed it.

Before my children I don't think I really relied on God for the fruits of the Spirit. I was pretty capable of getting through my day on a wing and a prayer...although there was all that Bible study I was able to pull off! I was self-centered and selfish believing that serving others could take place on short-term mission trips and "special occasions."

Mike and I are a team now. We have a common goal...to honor the Lord in our marriage while we train our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. We cling to each other and dinner involves reviewing our scripture memory and discussing the adventures of the day. We snuggle up and watch movies on the couch. Saturday's are full of life and abundance. Our cups overflow. We were wrecked, we are wrecked, thankfully God has a Savior for wreckage. They wrecked me, for sure and if you know me well you know that I don't sugar-coat the joys and pains of motherhood. I am so thankful that I am not the same woman that I was even 4 years ago. They have changed me, refined me, they are certainly instruments in God's hands as He molds me more and more into the image of His precious Son. They are gifts, I know that, I hug them a little bit tighter everyday.

So, to all of you out there that are enjoying this day...the breakfast in bed, the pampering and hugs...let's not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest...maybe our children will even rise and call us blessed. Who knows...until then...I hope that you enjoy the wreckage and trust God that He will pick up all of the pieces.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Blogellas

I just like to say that...Blogella...there have been a few things rolling around in my head lately...but the computer is off alot more than it is on (for SEVERAL really good reasons!) so I'm just gonna post em' all right here...right now...

What's the Weather?
We have the great privilege of knowing the BEST weatherman and his family very well. I would say that we LOVE spending time with them probably as much as this guy loves him some Storm-Tracker! So, a few weeks ago, they were over for their monthly dinner and I had a blogha (that's an AHA for the blog). I had the kids pick their clothes out for church before our company got here so that once they left we wouldn't have to do all of that "get ready for the next day" stuff. Well, Anson picked out a long sleeved shirt, which I replaced with a short-sleeved shirt. When he finally realized this he came out and this was the conversation:

"Mom, what happened to the shirt that I picked out?"

"I put it away. It's going to be warm and you'll get too hot in the shirt you chose. I put a short sleeved shirt on the hanger for you."

"But, Mom, I wanted to wear the other one."

"I understand that, but you need to trust me...it's going to be hot."

I was just about to head over to the computer to prove that it was going to be hot when Christine (the weatherman's wife...or Chief Meteorologist) said, "You've got the weatherman at your table...ask him." At which point Jeff leaned across the table and said, "It's gonna be hot."

DUH!!! Fireworks in my heart. Why would I check the computer when the person responsible for telling the CSRA what the weather will be like is sitting at my table? He wasn't above giving us the forecast. He was totally accessible to us and it would have been foolish for us to struggle to find the weather with him sitting right there.

Did I really get fireworks in my heart because the weatherman was at my table? No. I got fireworks because the Maker of the Heavens made His home with man and when He left He left the Counselor with us. We have the God of the UNIVERSE at our disposal and we just act like He isn't even sitting at our table. We just struggle and try our hardest to make things work and to find our own answers when He says, "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3 or Jesus says in Matthew, "Come to ME all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Not only do I need to call to Him and come to Him...I need to be sure that my children know they can talk to Him as well. Jeff didn't look at me so that I could interpret for Anson, he looked directly at him...and Anson responded. Got questions? Ask the One with answers.

Miss Mable
A few weeks ago Mike and I were at Lowe's trying to figure out what we wanted to plant in our garden. A familiar face walked by me, but I couldn't place the name, thankfully Mike did. It was Miss Mable. Mike teaches her granddaughter and we had dinner with her a few months ago at our Missions Conference. I love old women. I don't mean "older" I mean, like late 70's and 80's. I could listen to them for hours. Learning what their life was like, what they did and how I can learn from them. I just think there is a treasure trove of information in the elderly that we aren't tapping into, so whenever I get a chance...I LOVE it.

So, Miss Mable was telling us about her garden and what she has planted and where she put it and where it came from. I was mesmerized, really. I finally said, "How do you know where to put it all? Do you read in books or magazines?" She sort of chuckled and put her elbows on her cart and said, "Honey, I'll be 80 years old next January. I just know where it goes by now cause' I've been doin' it for so long." Wisdom. She just knows. That doesn't only apply to her garden. As we grow in the Lord we just know some things. We can skip the trial and error really hard lessons because we've already endured them, lived through them...and can now enjoy just putting the plants where they go and enjoying them. I invite my birthdays.

Another thing she said was that she shared a few of her plants with her neighbor and now his backyard is like a Botanical Garden. My thoughts started racing...she just shared a few flowers. Just a cup of cold water. Sometimes as we share our life we have no idea what people will do with it, or how it will change them. God will multiply whatever it is that we have to offer...'member the bread and the fish? Whatever we have could inspire others to grow a garden of faith that would knock our socks off. What can I share? She looked at me as we parted and said, "Be careful, it's catchy." She was referring to the gardening...working the earth...enjoying the fruit. I would have to agree. Already we check our garden daily and rejoice with the fruit we see. I'm also working in another garden. I'm laying seeds in the lives and hearts of my children, neighbors and family. It's not much, to be honest...but my prayer is that it's just enough to turn their lives into a Botanical Garden that King Solomon himself would approve of. What flowers can you share?

Lots of Jesus
Last week my brother came over because he needed some help on some schoolwork. He's attempting to finish up a degree at UGA...that's another story altogether! When he left I said, "Ans, isn't it nice that Uncle Andy can just stop in from time to time and see us. I sure hope that he sees a little bit of Jesus while he's here." Anson's response was, "Well, I hope he sees a lot of Jesus." My heart stopped. Me too. I want people to see alot of Jesus...all Jesus...none of me...that means I've got to become less so that He can become greater.

Here's a random snapshot into a day in the life.
The kids went exploring in the woods with a little boy from down the street while his mom and I chatted. When we called them to come home they seemed really far away. I got a little nervous even though I could hear them and decided to walk into the woods to see where they were. I kept calling and they kept answering, but I just couldn't see them. When they finally came into view, they were sopping wet and Anson was barefoot with his boots in his hands.
"Anson Arthur...put your shoes on! You cannot walk through the woods barefoot!"

"But Mom, we put something in them."

Then my sweet little Julia pipes up, "Yeah, we caught a fish!"

Sure as the world they had caught a fish with their bare hands and then put it in Anson's boot to bring it home. I never saw it because I made him dump it out to put his boots on, but he says if we would have eaten it we would have been finished in about 10 seconds, because it was just little. It still makes me smile.

Since the computer has been off I've been playing a few more games that I wouldn't normally play. I was playing with Ella last week and we were playing Mommy and Baby. I was the baby and she was putting me to bed (Praise the LORD!). I was giving her a taste of her own medicine. "I want my lovey. I want water. Kiss me. Hug me. Pray for me." Eventually do you know what she did? She said, "I'm leaving." and she walked out the door! She still gets out of bed at night...maybe we'll have to play again soon until she figures out how rough bedtime can be!

I think there's one more that I'm forgetting, but for now that will have to do. I sure love sharing the stuff that goes on in my head and pray that it reaches you all as the cold water that I pray it is. I've got dishes in the sink, laundry in the washer and dryer...and I promised to make some popcorn for story time...promises, promises...enjoy this day...

Blessings,
Ali


I remembered the other one. This came to me on the way to Kroger this morning. It's titled,
"There's a hole in my umbrella, but we sure do need the rain." Sometimes life is just plain inconvenient...but it's necessary. We do need the rain and the fact that my umbrella has a hole in it shouldn't prevent the earth from getting the water that it so desperately needs. We've been in a drought for some years now, so any rain we get is welcomed...even though there is a hole in my umbrella. Do you have holes? Do you have days where things just have to happen, but it just makes you wet? Rejoice! WE need the rain! It keeps things alive...it cleans the pollen...it refreshes everything. Instead of trying to be safe from it under a leaky umbrella...dance in it and feel the difference!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Danger Zone





How many of you blog surf? I do. I'm not on facebook because I'm sure I would surf/stalk there as well. Here's what happens and what I need to be aware of.

I start out innocently checking on a few blogs that I read regularly. Then, I start clicking on comments, bouncing around from blog to blog. Sometimes I run into people that I know (that's weird!) sometimes I just lurk. You know what happened today? Something that is rather dangerous. I started to feel inadequate. I HATE when I feel like that. I ended up in Virginia on some woman's front porch that she had just made over (it was very nice) and suddenly became very sad about the front porch that I have. I have one of the sweetest little houses ever, little sweet front porch. However, you know what else I have? Three little people. Three little people that love boxes. Three little people (4 Monday-Friday)that like boxes and playdough. Three little people that like boxes, playdough and walking THROUGH the screen door...like, through the screen. I live in a very blooming place and so it's white with a yellow tint. Guys, it's a mess. All of a sudden all that I do wasn't good enough because my porch, well, it sucks. I know that sweet lady has no intentions of her blog making me feel bad. I'm sure I'll find my way back there someday when I'm all grown up. What happens is we start poking our noses around everyone else's space (it's way fun...I know) and then we aren't good enough cooks, photographers, parents, wives, shoppers, cleaners...you name it. I love, love, love the internet. I love that there are people I don't even know that have taught me so much. What I don't love is how the enemy often uses it against me so that I feel like nothing I do is good enough. Several verses come to mind (I'm doing this off the cuff...they may be off a little) Micah 6:8, "He has shown thee, Oh man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee, but to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God." It's KJV cause it's a song! Another one says that we shouldn't compare ourselves by ourselves because when we do that, we aren't wise.

So, I'm supposed to be cleaning up while the three kids I have are sleeping because we are having one of our favorite Teams over for dinner and here I sit, thinking that I should, instead, set the porch on fire and start from scratch. I am so very thankful that there are people that can do makeovers for the rest of us to learn from. Right now, however, the only thing that's getting a makeover is me. God continues to refine me and make me more like His precious Son. So, if you come over, you may see my front porch and feel better or worse about yourself. Either way, I hope that when you enter my home you find yourself in a place of grace and that you'll come back.

P.S.
I feel like I must be clear (being misunderstood is an idol of mine...I'm a dirty sinner, I know) I love seeing how people have changed and made their things beautiful. I want to learn from them. Sometimes, I just have to stop surfing and start thanking because what I have is pretty great too.

Friday, April 24, 2009

New Post

For those of you interested, I just posted on my other blog, Harvest Classical Academy...after a really long time. I can't figure out why the comments don't work...but, thought I'd mention it. Have a great day! I'll be back with some cold water as soon as time allows...well, maybe sooner than that!!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Treats.


"Dad, I'm not quite sure why, but I just don't think it's wise for us to make the trip. I wish we could come, but I just don't think it's best."
This was a conversation I had a couple of months ago regarding flying down to visit my Dad and Pam in Naples. We went as a family last year and we had one of the best vacations ever! So, it was sad when I had to decline an invitation for this year. I told Mike, I just don't know why, but I just don't think it's best. I would have had to fly down with the kids while Mike stayed behind to work. All I knew is that the Lord had said, "Nah." I knew I wouldn't get in "trouble" if we went anyway, but I've been walking with the Lord long enough to know that when I get that "feeling" I should respond appropriately. So, the answer was, "Not this year." Until...

"Ali, Gene and I would really like to have you over for dinner sometime. Just to get to know you a little better."

"We would LOVE that. What nights work best for you?"

"Saturday nights are best, but not this Saturday, we're flying to Naples for the day."

"Oh, my Dad has a place there, it's beautiful...you guys will have such a nice time."

"You should come with us, have lunch with your Dad, we'll be back that night."

It never registered with me that my friend was serious, but I declined because "something in my spirit" just told me it wasn't wise, and that we should wait until next year. As we got into the van to go home (we were in our church library having this conversation) I said, "I wonder how they are going for the day?" Mike said, "Babe, he's a pilot and has his own plane, she probably meant what she said." AHHHH!!!! You mean that God would make a way for me to visit my Dad??? Yes, that is exactly what happened.

To make a long story short, my friend was serious about me flying down with them, having lunch with my Dad and Pam, and then coming home that evening. I was shocked! God has provided for me in great ways ever since I've known Him (and even before then!), but this has probably been my favorite way. You see, I stopped visiting my Dad during my summers in college due to mission trips. As soon as I graduated from college, I became Mrs. Wessner and from then on I haven't visited by myself. I've missed Dad.

As I was trying to figure out why God had nudged me to decline a trip with the kids, it never dawned on me that He was orchestrating a trip that would be so much sweeter. The trip down was full of precious fellowship with new friends that have been walking with God longer and more passionately that I have. Lunch with Dad and Pam was overlooking the bay with a sweet smelling breeze tickling my nose. The food was delicious, but it was wonderful to be with Dad and Pam, by myself, for the first time in a long time. We did a bit of shopping and I got to be an only child for a day! Dad said that was what the day was about, letting me see what it is like to be an only child! We laughed...but I liked it! I love being a part of a big family, but I really enjoyed the time alone.

We are members of a large body. However, I don't know that any of us spend enough time with our Father. That day was a reminder of how good it feels to be a child, in the presence of my Dad.

"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' " Romans 8:15

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Worms.

"Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you," declares the LORD, "and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 41:14

"But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people." Psalm 22:6


"Rachel, are you sure these aren't going to crawl out and get into my van?"

"Yes, I'm sure. Worms don't like the light, they crawl down into the dirt to get away from it. See, you can't even see them anymore. You'll be fine."

So, today, I read two chapters of Farmer Boy, one chapter of David Livingstone, did a spelling lesson, a language lesson, made lunch and picked up some worms. Yup, worms. The Wessner's are goin' green! Mike and I have two gardens and we wanted to compost. To be honest, I'm more excited about composting than the gardens because I really have come to despise throwing away food. (I don't know how many times my children have heard me say, "Eat up. Daddy and I have seen the starving children of Africa!) In fact, I was taking our food out to the "dump tree" just because I felt like maybe the deer could eat it and it wouldn't be wasted. So, we (I mean Mike) researched composters and the pros and cons of all of the models and we settled on worms. I actually like the idea because I think the kids will learn alot and I understand that worm "castings" make the best soil. So, worms it is! The composter came yesterday and so I went and picked up the worms today.

My dear friend dug them for me. She's way more like Caroline Ingalls than I am. (Oh how I long to be Caroline!) I do not like my hands to be dirty. I don't even like to handle frozen blueberries for long because it makes my nails look bad. Vain. I know. I don't like slugs, snails, worms, snakes, centipedes...I could go on. My point is this...I'm stretching.

Please remember that I have 4 children on a daily basis. They were all in the van while I was getting the worms. Some of them had escaped their seats and were moving freely about the cabin, while one stuck one was screaming, "I want out!" So, I got everyone buckled in and the words that kept repeating in my head, besides, "Ali, you are doing so good. DO NOT STOP FOR A CAPPUCINO BLAST AND MUNCHKINS. No temptation has seized you...no temptation has seized you..." were Rachel's words, "Worms don't like the light. They crawl away from it." I vaguely remembered David's words in the Psalms when he compares himself to a worm. While looking for that verse I found the verse in Isaiah where God uses the word to describe the men of Israel. He uses this word, according to my study note, as a reference to their feeble and despised condition in exile.

Romans 3:10:11 states, "As it is written, 'There is no one righteous, not even one, there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.'" It goes on with more good news about our wretched condition, but I'd like to use 1 John 1:5 to remind us what God is, "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all."

When I put these two verses together I can only rejoice that because I don't seek Him, because I am prone to crawl away from Light...He brought the Light to me.

"When Jesus spoke to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'" John 8:12

So, that's what I'd like to do. Take the Light to those who are prone, as I am, to crawl away from it. Doing this with the sincere hope that they will also, as I have, have the "Light of life."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Nasty.

It's been a regular puke-fest around here lately. So far my boy has been immune, but my girls have been up and down. It's been so frustrating! Thankfully we aren't due to go anywhere or have any company until the first weekend of April, so I guess I should be thankful. My 2 year old knows when she is going to be sick, and more importantly WHERE to get sick. My 4 year old just sort of, well, bursts...wherever she is. So, what I've been doing is spot mopping the floors. You know what that revealed to me...my floors are NASTY! Yesterday I was cleaning up after Julia and my friend was over...my super dear friend that isn't afraid of vomit...and I looked at her and said, "Do you know how very disgusting your carpet is?" I know, words of encouragement...a gift of the Spirit to be sure! Seriously, when I see what gets ground into my wood floors I can only imagine what our past homes with all carpet were like. YUCK!

Tonight I got couched by Ella and Mike took the older kids to dinner at the home of some friends. Ella went to bed early and I decided that I would do a little bit of cleaning. The problem...

Once you start to clean, without people distracting you from the filth, you see the filth. My kitchen floor was/is raunchy. I was on my hands and knees trying to get it clean. My little rag just kept showing my handprint in dirt. Then, if that isn't enough, when you are up close and personal with your floor like that, you get up close and personal with your baseboards, your cabinets, under the fridge, before you know it you are ready to call those English ladies to tell you how third-world your house has become! How did it get so out of control???

As I swept my floor I could feel the difference between where the rug was and was not. I just said, out loud, "It's O.K. You can clean it." You know what other word came to mind? Repent.

Have you ever gotten a really good look at your heart? I should use the actual word. Have you ever gotten a good look at your depravity? Thankfully because God is merciful, He doesn't show us everything at once, but lately I have felt a little more up close and personal with what is really going on in my heart. I start looking at a few things and as I'm exposing myself to God and His Word, I see more and more. I could become really depressed. I think we all could. Even as I was cleaning my floors I was thinking, "Is this even cleaning the floor? Or is it simply leaving a soapy residue that is going to make it worse?"

I can get like that when dealing with God. I'm like, "O.K. what can I do? What is going to fix this? What will clean me up and make me better? Perhaps I should call a friend and see what they use." The answer...Jesus.

Our most righteous acts are like filthy rags. I am not capable of cleaning up my heart. Just like I didn't remove the heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. Just like my floor will never be spotless...unless they are brand new.

I am, in Christ, brand new. I can see my heart and not become overwhelmed because I plead Christ. Looking at my heart only makes me love Him more. It only makes me more aware of my need. It makes me so thankful that I have a Savior that does not change. Yesterday, today and forever...He is the same.

So, are your floors nasty? Well, scrub them. Is your heart nasty? Well, repent...then walk in the freedom that Christ affords...and think of your mansion that Jesus is preparing for you. We will be able to walk on our floors for eternity without feeling crumbs. We can handle it for a little while, I think. Let it remind us of our need for Jesus, and His unending love for us.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Gifts.

Let me start by saying, I think if I were Jacob I would have cried "Uncle!" when wrestling with God. I feel like as life gets harder I just get weaker. I suppose that could be exactly how it's meant to be. Last week one of my journal entries read, in all caps, "LORD, ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME???" The response, "Yes, yes I am." There is still way too much of my own agenda on the line and I do have some more dying to do in order to be more like Christ. He is good, and I'm sure He's going easy on me, but I have been struggling. To the post...

Roughly a year ago (maybe a year and a half) I was invited to a clothing party. Let me preface this by saying I am alot of fun at a party...or so I've been told. I usually break the ice, and keep things moving. I enjoy a party. I will not, however, be the big spender. I usually go with one thing in mind and I leave with that one thing. For instance, I went to a cookware party a few months ago. I needed a bar pan (remember I broke mine to pieces) and a mixing bowl (I threw my other one on the floor in a fit of rage...seriously...and I LIKED IT! it was plastic) I left with those two things and a safety knife for kids. I'm just not the one you REALLY want at your party. So, at this party we were trying on clothes. It was fun, I had lost a little bit of weight and this one skirt felt phenomenal! I could spin in it, and it was a size smaller than I usually wear. I loved it. I did not go to the party with this skirt in mind. In fact, I knew I wasn't going to buy anything. I just couldn't. I did, however, LOVE the skirt.

Time passed. I stayed home from church one Wednesday night with a sick child and when Mike came home he dropped a plastic garment bag in my lap. "What's this?" I asked with a smile. I thought maybe I had loaned someone something and they returned it in this particular bag. "Tandy gave it to me, she said it was yours." I had no idea what he was talking about. "What? What is it?" I pulled the plastic up and would you believe it was that skirt!!! "WHERE DID THIS COME FROM??? DID YOU BUY THIS FOR ME???" No, ladies, he did not...I know, that would have been sweet...I think it's even better. I called Tandy and she said that another woman purchased the skirt for me. WHAT??? I immediately called the other woman to thank her...not to try to give it back!

Do you know what her response was, "Well, I had saved my money, and there wasn't anything that I felt as good in as you did in that skirt. Watching you spin around and look so nice, I just wanted you to have it." Yes, that's the truth. She just saw how much I enjoyed it and wanted me to have it. It wasn't cheap. She had saved her money to buy something for herself, and instead purchased something for me. So, I hung it in my closet and never wear it, for fear that I will ruin it.

Wouldn't that be a waste? Her money would be so wasted if I never pulled that skirt off the hanger. The reason she bought it was because I enjoyed being in it! I didn't hang it up and gaze at it and talk about it at the party. I tried it on. I spun around. I talked about how perfect it would be with a pretty sweater and some nice brown boots. "It's so versatile! You can wear it with everything!" She bought it because she knew I would love it, I would wear it...I'm sure she would be happy to see it worn out in my closet. That would be money well spent. A gift that was used, enjoyed, worn out and loved.

What have you got hanging in your closet? What gifts have you been given that you don't really want to get messed up? Maybe you are afraid you'll get a hole in them, or you can't find anything to wear with them. Maybe the gift that is hanging in your closet is your salvation. Maybe you have invited Christ to be Lord of your life, and you have the gift of salvation...of Life EVERLASTING and there it hangs. Pretty as a picture. Maybe you go in and look at it, you stroke it, try it on every now and then...and put it back, afraid to enjoy it because you don't want to get it dirty, you don't want Christ to look bad.

It would devastate my sweet friend if I never wore that skirt. She didn't want a thank you note, I'm not indebted to her forever because she spent her hard earned money on me. Her only request was that I ENJOY the skirt.

Christ left heaven. He put on flesh. He walked with us. He laughed with us. He cried with us and for us...then He died for us. His life for ours, not an even trade. He was the only one that could restore us with God. "The wages of sin is death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23 We didn't ask for it, we didn't save for it, we didn't die for it. The least we can do is enjoy it.

What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Let's not work our fingers to the bone trying to repay. As we enjoy God, everything, and I do mean everything will fall into place.

Honestly, I have struggled to enjoy Him. I've struggled to enjoy anything these days. I know that I will only enjoy Him if I am spending time with Him. I think I'll go do that now. Spin around, ladies...enjoy that gift...we thank Him, by enjoying Him.