Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Don't Be a Hindrance

It's almost one in the morning and I can't sleep, so I've decided to post since I didn't have time earlier today (technically yesterday). We did school this morning, then had to go out of town after lunch. We were gone longer than I thought we would be, and by the time we got home, it was time to start cooking supper. There were no games and no practices to attend this evening, so that was a nice change of pace! It provided us with more family time at home!

From Journey to the Cross... Today we didn't really learn anything that we didn't already know. I'm not saying that we didn't need to hear it again, though, because we did. Especially me. I tend to forget much, and the Lord has to remind me alot!

Today's chapter was called, "Trouble in the Temple," and it focused on Jesus' reaction to the money changers and the merchants selling animals for the sacrifice. As I said, nothing new in this chapter. Well, that's not entirely true. We did learn that the outer courtyard covered almost twenty acres. Wow! I did not realize it was that big. I've done several Beth Moore bible studies and a couple of them have covered the temple, but I don't recall hearing the size of the outer courtyard before now. Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong; I'm just quoting what this lady says in her book. I haven't really gone behind her checking her facts.

Can you imagine the scene? The merchants and the money changers had set up shop in the outer courtyard, where the Court of the Gentiles was. Can you imagine the smells? the noise? the chaos? How could anyone pray or worship there? Obviously Jesus was upset. He said to them, "It is written: 'My house will be called a house of prayer. People from all nations can come there to pray.'" What a distraction that would have been to those who came to worship and pray.

Of course today we don't have to worry about merchants and money changers being a distraction to those around us who would come to worship and pray. But there are other means of distraction that make their way into God's house. I won't jump on any band-wagons here because there are too many to jump on.

I did ask my children how they thought we could keep from being a distraction to those around us and how we could help to keep God's house a house of prayer. I had to smile at some of their answers (they pay attention to what's going on around them). And I was pleased with their train of thought. We agreed that we could pray before going into the worship service that the Lord would keep us from being a hindrance to those "who would come to worship and pray."

Saturday, March 27, 2010

This and That

I have a tendency to get behind on posting things before I completely forget about them! Thank goodness I love to take pictures. I was going through some of them last night and realized that I had quite a few different things I wanted to post about, but just never had the time to...

So...I decided to combine a few posts here together.

My First Wildflowers This Year

He didn't know I was watching through the kitchen window...

He wants to surprise me...I have to pretend that I wasn't watching...

Aren't they beautiful???

 This next one is from quite a while back, while my oldest son was still living on campus at college. At Christmas break he moved back home and began commuting.

This Is Why We're Paying for Him to go to College???

Let's see...study or Guitar Hero?

Working on the Online Course for Scuba Training

my two youngest, with Dad overseeing

Friday, March 26, 2010


I'm trying to finish up our schoolwork for the day, but I keep losing my kids. This weather is soooo nice! They work a little, then before I know it, they are back outside again!

But that's ok with me...we've had a long winter and a VERY rainy one, at that! So we've been cooped up inside so much that this is really a NICE change of pace! Just after lunch, I decided to take up the brush and scrub the "stuck-on" pollen from the sides of our swimming pool. As I savored the warmth of the sun on my skin, I didn't even seem to notice the tiredness in my arms from the scrubbing action! I LOVE spring!!!

From Journey to the Cross...  Today we learned that the palm branches they waved as Jesus entered Jerusalem was a symbol of freedom. The branches of the date palm tree were like a national flag to the Jews. And by waving the palm branches, the people were saying that they wanted to be free from the Roman rulers. As Jesus passed through the crowds, the people called out, "Hosanna!" The word Hosanna means, "Please save us!" They wanted Jesus to free them from their oppressors, the Romans.

They weren't really concerned with the thought that Jesus came to free people from the oppression of their sin. They were more interested in being set free from their human oppressors. How many times am I just like that? More often than not, I am concerned with Jesus getting me out of the current situation I am in, rather than waiting for Him to deliver me from the oppression of my sin... the very thing that drags me back down into the pit that He reached down into and set me free from. Oh how I need to be reminded that He is working all things together for my good and His glory! And how freeing it is to know that when I don't understand what's going on, He DOES!

"LORD, save us. LORD give us success. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD." Psalm 118:25-26

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What I Learned Today...

In the mornings, after breakfast, the kids and I sit down together for our group read-aloud time. We begin with the Bible, then move into our catechisms. We spend about an hour reading before we begin our core subjects. We are currently reading about heroes of the Reformation, and we read an article from Voice of the Martyrs magazine. And we are reading two biographies, as well. We read just a little from each book, and have gradually increased the number of books that we read from.

We recently started a new book, for Easter. It is called Journey to the Cross, by Helen Haidle. It is basically a retelling of the text of the Bible concerning everything leading up to and after the crucifixion of Jesus. Each chapter ends with a few comprehension questions and a scripture verse to memorize. But what I really like about this book is that each chapter begins and ends with an explanation of a Jewish custom or tradition of Jesus's day, or as in today's reading, an explanation of something that Jesus did.

We all know that Jesus asked his disciples to go into the next village and to bring back to Him a donkey's colt that they would find inside the city gates. We all know that the disciples did just as Jesus asked them to, and that Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem. We all know that Jesus did not come to conquer the Roman army and set the Jewish people free from their rule.

But what I did not know (you may have known this all along) is that Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem was supposed to present a picture to the people of the fact that He did not come to conquer Rome. In Jesus's day, a donkey was known as an animal of peace. Men did not ride donkeys into battle; they chose fast horses for that. So by riding a donkey into Jerusalem, Jesus was showing that He did not come to lead a battle against the Roman army. Instead, He came to make peace between God and man.

As many times as I have read this account in the Scriptures, I did not get that. Obviously I'm in good company, though, because apparently Jesus's disciples and early followers didn't get that message either. Throughout the Bible, Jesus was constantly teaching people through word pictures. I'm glad that He still does that, even today!

The Lamb, who was put to death, is worthy!...He is worthy to receive honor and glory and praise! -- Rev.5:12

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Dear Friend

I had the opportunity this weekend to visit with an old friend... actually, she was more than a friend.

My former pastor's wife was my Sunday school teacher, my bible study teacher, my mentor and my friend for more than 12 years. I often refer to her as my spiritual mother, because my own dear mother went to be with Jesus when I was just 19 years old and when the Lord moved me to south Georgia when I was 24, she just sort of took me under her wing, so to speak.

My heavenly Father drew me to Himself under Mrs. Faye's teaching and ministry, and she challenged me to grow in my relationship with Him. She inspired me to study God's Word and to seek Him diligently. She encouraged me in my role of wife and mother. I will be forever grateful for her influence and guidance in my life.

I will admit that I was saddened when the Lord led Dr. Pete and Mrs. Faye away from our church approximately 7 years ago. God used their ministry to accomplish His will in so many ways. Mrs. Faye was a "Titus 2" role model and she delighted to know that the ladies under her tutelage were walking with the Lord, and just as pertinent, she admonished us when we weren't :).

In case she looks somewhat familiar to you, she had a role in the movie, Fireproof. In addition to teaching a weekly bible study at her current church, she also speaks at women's events. If you are interested in scheduling her to speak at an event, let me know and I will be glad to give you her contact information. My, the wisdom you can glean from this lady!

I am so thankful that I was able to have such a delightful visit with her!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Our Week With Granddaddy and Billy

Our week-long visit with Granddaddy and Billy has come to an end...they are back at home now. I've posted before (last year about this time) about how they stay with us for a week while my dh's sister and her family go away for spring break. Granddaddy is my dh's 83 year old father, and Billy is dh's 58 year old mentally and physically handicapped brother. Neither can live alone or even stay by themselves for very long. My sil remodeled her home last year so that they could move in with her after Granddaddy's hip replacement surgery.

They are definitely a blessing! And we really enoyed their visit. I wasn't sure how well Billy would do because he is so dependent on his routine, and sometimes he is easily annoyed to have anything out of his normal routine. He loves to watch several preschool programs on nick jr, so we upgraded our tv channel line-up to include this particular channel for him (lol). I think he enjoyed his visit. I think he has had to adapt to some changes since they had to leave his home (that he's lived in for all of his 58 years!) to move in with his sister and her family. So I think that had some impact on how well he handled being out of his comfort zone for the past week.

We really love being able to spend time with them, and we especially love listening to Granddaddy tell us stories. My, the wisdom he has to share with us from his 83 years on this earth! He regaled us with tales from his childhood, from his early days of marriage, stories from his military service during WWII (my children sit spell-bound during his stories!).

There are other benefits from their visit. We all learn to think of others more and ourselves less.  Having them here to take care of gets US out of OUR comfort zones, as well. The kids have to make sacrifices, such as giving up their rooms for the week, and giving up their tv time so that Billy can watch his shows on nick jr (lol). That's kind of funny in itself, because they started the week saying things like, "Man, we have to watch these baby shows on tv!" Then later on in the week I noticed that they were sometimes sitting with him watching those "baby shows." :)

While we were tired after having them here, I like to say that it is a good tired. I'm so glad that we have these opportunities to spend time with them, to grow and to learn. And it gives us a healthy appreciation for what my sil does on a daily basis. But I know that she would have it no other way. I hope that I can take care of my parents in the same way when the time comes!

Here are some snapshots of our week.

Kate and Granddaddy

Granddaddy and Will

Billy, sitting in Will's room, "reorganizing" some of Will's card collections (remember when I mentioned sacrifices earlier? I just had to tell Will, "It'll be alright. You can put them back exactly like you had them after he's gone. lol)

my dh and Granddaddy, planning our route to take them to meet my sil

Mike, Kate and Granddaddy

Kate, Granddaddy, Ryan, Will and Billy

Billy and Kate

Monday, March 15, 2010

Scuba Training

My youngest is taking a scuba diving training course. He's so excited! He loves the underwater world...wants to be a wildlife biologist, possibly a marine biologist when he grows up. He will be finished with his training by the time we go on our beach vacation in May, so he's excited about getting to go diving with us. My oldest started a training course last year. He's finished with all the course work, but due to sports conflicts while in high school, he never finished his checkout dives. Then he just kind of lost interest. Now my daughter wants to begin scuba training, so we may have all three involved in this at one time! I do think it will be fun for all of us to go diving together!

Here are some photos my husband took of our little fellow at his skills class...

he is third from the left

he is third to the right of "yellow fins"

participating in the tired diver tow

his turn to tow a tired diver

the smile says it all...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away...?

Yesterday I was invited to join a friend for lunch. It had already begun to rain by the time I had to leave my house. As I was backing out of my garage onto our muddy dirt driveway, I thought to myself (and subsequently, to the Lord as well), "Oh why the rain today after these few days of blessed sunshine we've had?" Really, we've had LOTS of rain lately (and it's not even April yet!). "Lord," I thought, "Do we really need more rain?"

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Signs of Spring

It's beginning to look like spring around here, finally. I have to say this has been the coldest winter I remember ever having experienced here in the south. Usually by March it is quite warm and the kids are even beginning to go swimming by mid to late March. However, it is still quite chilly right now. But today it has been really nice weather. The kids have enjoyed playing outside this afternoon, and I've enjoyed walking around noticing all the signs of spring.

the seeds have sprouted underneath the bird feeder
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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Party Scenes

the girls on Friday night

scenes from Saturday

They've decided to play King of the Hill, with my oldest being King; but if you'll look to the left of the photo, you'll notice my dh is on his way up to challenge the King.

Everybody knows you can't have two Kings!

I suppose you'd have to call it a tie.

They decided to try something different...kind of like pole-vaulting,
without the pole.

I don't think anybody actually cleared the wall.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Girls, Girls, Girls

My house is overflowing with girls! Literally. Last week was my daughter's 14th birthday and she wanted to have a few friends over for a spend the night party, but we were unable to have the party until this weekend. So, here they are...

All loud and giggling...talking their girl talk and their funny girl-language...six of them, ranging in age from 12 to 14. They are having a good time. It's hard for me to believe how grown up they are. They used to play dress-up and play with dolls. Now they sit around comparing songs on their ipods, and giggling at the pictures on their cameras. Cue the song, Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle.

They had pizza for supper and they are filling themselves full of Mountain Dew and chocolate chip cookies. They probably won't get much sleep tonight. As a matter of fact, I wonder if I'll get much sleep tonight.

We rented one of those BIG inflatable slides for the weekend and they are outside on it right now at 9:00 pm. They keep coming in every once in a while though because it is cold out there.

I am glad that she is having fun, and that she is making memories. I am glad that God has blessed her with good friends (and I thank Him that they are not the drama queen sort!).

Thursday, March 4, 2010

2010 Awana Grand Prix

the cars as they were being checked in by the clubbers

Every year our Awana clubs host the Grand Prix, where the clubbers design and build small cars to race. The kids can make their cars to look like...well, cars...or they can come up with a different design altogether. For example, my son chose to make his car look like a wii remote, as seen in the photo below.

The races are divided into three different divisions -- Sparks, which are kindergarten - 2nd graders, T&T, which are 3rd - 6th graders, and Leaders, which are obviously the adult leaders, plus any 7th graders and up that may be working in Awana. The clubbers can place 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place in the design category as well as 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place in the speed category. Will's car placed 3rd in speed in the T&T race, which is kind of funny to us because he wasn't building his car for speed. He was going for design. He was a little sad that his car didn't place in design, but there were several other cars that were really neat. Overall, he was happy to win a trophy!

Below are some pictures of the evening. I hope you enjoy them!

waiting for the race to begin

getting ready to race

waiting for their cars to come down the track...the little fellow
on the right is Will's best friend and his car won 1st in speed

3rd Place in Speed

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A New Camera

I am so excited because I have a new camera. A Nikon D3000.

I've been asking for a D-SLR for quite a while now and my sweet dh has been researching and price checking for me. I know there are a few very competitive brands out there. I narrowed it down to the Nikon and the Canon. I think both are very comparable, but my brother-in-law is a professional photographer and he personally prefers Nikon, so I think that is probably what influenced my decision to purchase this one. I hope I won't be disappointed. I don't think I will.

I've already taken a few inside shots of my children. But I haven't had an opportunity to take outside pics because I received it later in the day. I'm really excited about getting to use it at our Awana Grand Prix tonight! Hopefully, I'll have some good pictures to post.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Our Day

Today was just one of those days...nothing seemed to go according to plan. For one thing, I overslept this morning. That's always a good indicator that things aren't going to fall into place for the rest of the day! I'm just sooo tired. My dh is sick (with a cold) and he hasn't been sleeping well at night. Also, my little fellow has had strep throat and now he has developed a bad cough. So I've been lying down with him at night to help him get to sleep. And I always fall asleep in his bed. Then I wake up and go get in my bed. And I have a hard time getting back to sleep, because dh is either snoring (bless his heart) or he's tossing and turning.

Well, I've said all that just to justify my sleeping late this morning! So we got behind on our lessons and our chores today. We did finish everything; it just took us all day! Then I had to call the doctor again...and go to Wal-Mart for more medicine...again. I'm so ready for my family to be well again! I'm sure they are ready, too!

I hope your day has been better than mine!