Friday, May 30, 2008

On my soapbox today!

If you've noticed the Compassion banners in my side bar, this post will explain why they're there.

See this cutie pie?



Her name is Heidi, and my family sponsors her through Compassion International. We've "had" her for a year and a half now. I'd love to be able to knit a doll for her, but we aren't allowed to send material things. Letters, sponsorship funds and prayers are our gifts to her.

I've never met her in person, although I'd like to. I want to hear her little girl voice speaking to me in Spanish (even if I need a translator to understand her). I want to give her the biggest bear hug ever! To see if she has a snaggletooth smile where she’s lost her two front teeth, to hear what her laugh sounds like. I just want to see her right in front of me with my own two eyes!

Why do I feel this way over a kid I’ve never met? I'm going to post parts of her most recent letter to us, and then I hope you will understand.

First, she draws a picture for us with every letter. Here's the one we got this week:



Not bad for a six-year-old, huh? She likes drawing buildings.

Here is her letter, which is always written for her by someone else (she is only six!) Then it is translated into English.



I emphasized the parts that got me...

Dear Godparents,

Hello! We send you lots of greetings hoping this letter finds you and your dear ones in good health. My name is Martha. I am Heidi Abigail's teacher and I am writing on behalf of her. She thanks you for having a place into your heart for her. She is very happy to tell you more about her life. Heidi wants you to know that in December 2007 her family had a car accident. On their way to Pijijiapan, Chiapas other car hit them because of the heavy fog. Their car went out of the road and Heidi and her brothers got some bruises. Her mother had to wear a surgical collar, but she is better now, thanks God. Heidi thanks you for the letter you sent. She was very sad, and your words cheered her up. Heidi is fine and happy to answer your questions. She wasn't scared the first day of school. She is fine and had very happy summer holidays. The weather here is very hot and Heidi likes to go swimming to the river. The most she likes to do is play in the country and tumble downhill. She likes to play with her brothers and friends. Heidi wants to tell you she is doing well at school, thanks to the brethren of Child Development Center that help her to study. She took some tests recently and got 9, 8, and 9 in her grades. Heidi asks you to pray for her that she would overcome the car accident they had. She is praying for you. Heidi sends you lots of kisses and big hugs.

With love, Heidi

You know, our sponsorship dollars are fulfilling Compassion’s, slogan, “releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.” She is getting nourishing meals, education, and attention that a child needs, that sadly many in her village do not receive. But she’s getting so much more than that. The workers in her Center are showing her Jesus. You saw what she says through her letters. She’s repeatedly asked us to pray for her father. She frequently mentions God.

And that precious baby girl is praying for us. That is so humbling. I’m being blessed by our relationship just as much as she is. It boggles my mind when I stop and consider that she is praying for me. A tiny sliver of a girl, probably living in a shack with a dirt floor, is on her knees for me. She has never met me or my family, but she knows that we are responsible for her enrollment at the center, and she is grateful for it. So unlike most of our kids here in the States who have such a sense of entitlement, she appreciates her opportunity. It certainly changes your perspective on things…

If you want to find a way love your neighbors and serve them at the same time, please consider sponsoring a child. You should be able to see one awaiting sponsorship in my sidebar. I promise you will be blessed, and the child you choose will too…

Could you do me a favor? If any of you decide to sponsor a child, could you send me a little note to let me know?

Have a blessed weekend!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Here's a First!

Guess what? I actually wrote a real live blog post!

Seriously!

So where is it?

Oh. Well, if you really want to read it, I'm a guest blogger on my pastor's blog today over at www.pastorheath.com. Click here to check it out: it's all about service...

I'll be back on my own blog soon :-)

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tiny Talk Tuesday



I overheard this exchange between my 3 and 5 year olds...

3 yo: "I am so sick of Aaron's attitude."

5 yo old hears, and retaliates by saying, "You've got chocolate on your face." while he's wearing the all-knowing smirk.

3 yo: "That's OK. It will wash off with water."

Totally unfazed.
************************************************
3 yo: "Mommy, I'm sad betause I wost my woopee pushion."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Remember



Sometime today, between hamburgers and horseshoes, while you're enjoying a day off from work, take a few moments to remember the brave men and women throughout history who have fought valiantly to give us the lives we enjoy now. Free from religious persecution, free to meet when and where we want, to talk about whatever we want -- even to complain about the very government that is paying those same soldiers to protect us....

Thanks, all of you soldiers who aren't eating burgers and hot dogs on the grill, but MRE's on the battlefield. Thanks all you soldiers who aren't enjoying a day off with the family, but working months on end, without seeing your family at all.

Thanks for fighting so I don't have to...

So what did you do on Sunday?

We decided to spend our Memorial Day Weekend Sunday having a fun family day. We tried out a different mini golf course, and this little gem was at the entrance:


Oh, to be young again. I wish I was brave enough (or had the stomach) to ride this like my teenager did! Let's just say that I think he now qualifies to be an astronaut.

(Side note: this photo isn't him. I didn't have time to run to the car to retrieve my camera. But this is the contraption that spun him around like he was in a blender. Or clothes dryer. Or something that spins A LOT. This photo is from Rhode Island Bounce.)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Unspeakable

I have no words, except to say please pray for Steven Curtis Chapman's family...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I wanna be like THAT!

My boss sent me this, and I just LOVE it!!

Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, "Oh no...she's awake!"

Don't you want to live that that?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tiny Talk Tuesday


At a restaurant this past weekend, my social three-year-old was hamming it up with some teenage boys at the table beside us.

The boys asked him his name. His answer?

"I'm Spiderman."

We hear that from him all the time, but it was so funny!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The answer

The umbrellas are tick repellants. :-)

Well, according to someone who shall remain nameless. They insist that ticks fall out of trees. I always thought they were in the grass. So, smug little me decided to google the answer and post it here. As it turns out, I found just as many sites saying that ticks DO fall out of trees as I did saying that they do NOT. So, whatever. But the conversation about it was funny anyway!

I was outside all day and didn't see a single one. Worms, though? I got your worms...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hypothetically speaking

Let's say, hypothetically, that an hour after breakfast, while going about your business, you can still smell your maple and brown sugar oatmeal. Would you:

1. Sniff continually, wondering where the smell is coming from
OR
2. Immediately go to the nearest mirror just in case you happen to be wearing a big blob of your maple and brown sugar oatmeal on your neck like a pendant.

I'm just asking. Hypothetically, of course. :-)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I've lost that lovin' feelin'.


ANY lovin' feelin' that I had is gone, OK?

This morning started out great. Hot coffee, breathtaking sunrise, Jeremy Camp blaring in my car. Yep. It was all good.

Until about 7:35 am.

I had a problem patient that I had to deal with, delaying my breakfast by a full half hour. Work remained very busy after that.

As you know from an earlier post, I've been having lunch and writing in my car. Having a Slimfast for lunch enables me to actually do that in 30 minutes. So, lunch time rolls around, and guess what I don't have. You got it! Slimfast. I had to settle for yogurt and a banana.

Back to work. I got fussed at by a doctor because of a fellow employee's incompetence. What's new. I got caught up in my department, and it was time for a much needed break, because I was HUNGRY. Except, we had to have a FIRE DRILL instead! No snack for me :-(

I was grumpy about this series of events, and grumbled about it to a buddy or two while we signed in for the fire drill. The safety officer, a VERY SWEET Christian man apparently heard me and apologized to the group in general for the disruption. I felt about an inch tall.

Finally! I got to leave work. No rain in the forecast, so I decided to finally wash my grungy car. I took my place in line behind another car and patiently waited while his wash finished. In went my ATM card to pay for mine. A voice said that I was getting a receipt, but it never appeared. Great! The scramble for scratch paper ensued. While I was looking, the guy in front of me, WHOSE WASH IS OVER, began backing his car back into the stall. This triggered the sensors, and HIS car got the wash I PAID for.

I am telling myself that he was old and senile and no business behind the wheel of a car. That he was completely confused and didn't really realize that he just sat through TWO car washes. And drove off without a wave, a word, or anything. Just took my car wash and "Hasta la vista, baby!"

I'm trying really hard to believe that it was an honest mistake and not be mad.

Can I say UGH!?

I got home, and a squirrel had been digging through my freshly-planted-I'm-still-just-a-seedling herb garden.

I was finally calming down a bit until just now: I went outside to check on my kids. And noticed a lovely four-foot-long scratch down the side of my 2004 Sienna minivan. It was still a nice-looking ride.

I think I'll just go to bed now. I have a lot of repenting to do before I can go to sleep. :-Z

Lord, Lord! What a rotten day. I know my ways are not Your ways, because I would not plan a day like this on purpose! I pray that whatever kind of test today was, whatever I needed to learn, that I learned it! I don't want to repeat it. Help me to see the good that was in this day.

Thank you Jesus for dying for me, because my behavior today would not be helping me get to heaven. Thank you Father, for forgiving me when I mess up. And I do. Frequently.

I pray Lord that this yuk in my heart will be gone soon, washed away by Your mercy and grace. And that tomorrow when I wake up to another beautiful sunrise, I'll still feel like singing your praises!

Tiny Talk Tuesday



My three year old son asked, "Does the sun sweep (sleep) in the clouds?"

Go ahead. Say it. Awwwwwwwww...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day 2008 Highlights

* I got to see 2 of my 3 siblings

* Gifts :-)

* Cards handpicked by my children

* Three-year-old wearing nothing but Spiderman socks shouting "Happy Muver's Day!"

* Listening to my mom and my sister talk about how big my oldest son was getting, and trying to decide who all my boys look like (Don't you think he looks like Uncle William? Eli definitely looks like a Paxton, though.)

* My 79-year-old mother asking for her "blob" post (She saw a copy of this post about my daddy and wanted one about her. She didn't know I had already written one!)

* My six-year-old in the bath challenging me to math problems: "I'm not getting out until you miss one, mommy!" (Bring it, kid. I might not be able to beat you once you start first grade!)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Happy Mother's Day



Isn't my card sweet? My kindergartner made it for me, along with the jar of bath salts. (Have I mentioned that I love his teacher, Mrs. VonDohlen?) The hand-painted flower pot is from my three year old.

On the front of the card, in six-year-old print, is "Happy Mother's Day." In case you can't read it, the inside says, "Dear Mom, You are special because you play with me. Your kid, Aaron"

Just in case I didn't already know that he was my kid, you know. :-) And the teacher had to specify "Eli I." on the flower pot because there's an Eli W. in his class.

Thank you, sweet boys. Your mommy loves you!

I don't remember it, but I'm sure I made stuff like this for my mom when I was little. God love her, that poor woman was 45 when I was born. I could NOT imagine! She'd already raised two kids and had practically raised the third when I came along. She had to start all over!

I hope she's glad she did! I can remember so many things about my mom from those days. Like how she made me cream of wheat for breakfast with lots of butter and sugar and I liked it. That was a big accomplishment, because I was a very picky eater. (My favorites were raw potatoes and uncooked pasta!) If I had a nickel for every time someone said, "She eats like a bird!" I could have paid my way through college!

Mostly I remember baking with her. I always got to lick the cake batter bowl, and eat the leftover biscuit dough. But the best has got to be her homemade birthday cake icing. She only made it for birthdays, and that made it even more special. She'd leave the tips on the decorating bags when she was through and I'd play with it, and of course eat the leftover icing. Yum....

I loved digging through her jewelry box. She had this sparkly necklace that looked like diamonds, and I felt like a princess when I wore it. I even wore it to my Junior Prom! I think my sister has it now, but I sure loved playing with it...

I know she doesn't think she prepared me for life, because when I got married at 18 I had no idea how to cook. While that particular fact may be true, she taught me more than she thinks she did. I finally learned how to make a mean cake of cornbread that doesn't stick to my skillet (not that yellow boxed stuff, either!) Towels look neater when folded in thirds, not halves. Irons are not our enemies (although I don't often use mine!). Kitchen sinks are NOT for cleaning freshly caught fish, in my humble opinion, even though she did do that for my brother.

She is a devoted wife who takes great care of my dad, fixing his meals (even filling his plate!) and ironing his handkerchiefs. She knows his preferred clothing, from the fabric weight of his work clothes, to the kind of socks he wants. They've been married over 50 years now, and I can only hope to follow in her wifely footsteps.

She has a big heart, taking care of those who need it, even when others have given up.

She's funny, too. It makes me laugh to think of her dancing in the kitchen to Conway Twitty songs, and chopping off snake heads with a hoe.

She's passed on her love of crafting to me, too. She quilts beautifully and recently has started beading jewelry. She made doll clothes for all my dolls. She gave me my first cross-stitch project when I was only 7 or 8, and taught me latch hooking. Today, I'm a knitter and occasionally try to quilt a little. I wish I was better at that so I could carry it on.

We used to play Rummy, and she called me a card shark. I won alot. Looking back, I wonder if she was letting me win? She took me to the library in the summer, and introduced me to Laura Ingalls Wilder and some other great books. I'd like to read those again today!

Wow, my memories of her could go on and on. Suffice it to say though, it hasn't always been easy. My teenage years weren't very good for us. Thank goodness we got past all that!

Even today, sometimes I don't feel like a very good daughter. I don't call or visit as much as I should. She's almost 80 now, and I should be taking better care of her. I just hope she knows how much I love her and what a great mom I think she is.

I love you, mama. Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I can't write because I'm writing.


When did life get so busy? (Didn't I post about this already?)

I'm not sure what's happened at work. On most days, I have always had enough time to at least check my email, and maybe read a blog post or two. Nope! Not anymore. It's like someone kicked the workload in overdrive. It's crazy. Now, I actually have to work to earn my paycheck! :-)

Aaron is playing T-ball, and it seems like he has games all the time. Fridays, Saturdays, Mondays, and occasionally make-up games on Tuesday. And don't forget practice. Gotta go to the park for that, too! Jeff is gone to small group on Wednesday nights. Thursday is the one night I watch TV, and then only for an hour. And of course there's church on Sundays.

That's something every day of the week.

That alone shoud explain why I can't seem to post on a regular basis, but there's more...

I finally got motivated and am actively working on my books. (Remember my Open Doors post?) But I thought, "Where will I find the time?" I read about a book called "Time to Write" on my friend Marybeth's blog and bought it that day. It really has helped motivate me.

So now, I'm spending my lunch break in my car with my laptop. And I'm actually making progress. At first, I kept watching the clock to make sure I didn't stay too long. Finally I learned to set the alarm on my cell phone. Now, I work right though with no worries until the alarm goes off. That little discovery has been a HUGE help. Thankfully, God is blessing my effort and the words are pouring right out. Well, they should! They've been rattling aound in there for, um, how long now?

So, my life may be busy, but finally, FINALLY, my mind seems less "cluttered." It's hard to think when you've got book chapters and blog posts trying to get out of your head!!!

But, the writing fever is growing. So if I can't seem to post here much, that's probably why. Not because I don't love you guys (because I do!). I'm just in my car writing :-)

And please, please ladies: go to my surveys on the top right of my blog. Daughters-in-law: you rock! I'm getting a great response. Mothers-in-law? Not so much. Spread the word and round up those ladies!!! The clock is ticking! Thanks for helping!!!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Finding the Glory

I stepped out on my deck to enjoy the gorgeous morning God laid out before us. My quiet serenity was interrupted by a noisy "whoosh." I looked up, and this was over my house:



"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."
Psalm 19:1-4

The folks riding in that balloon got quite a view this morning. (I can't say that I'll ever be brave enough for that!) But, my view from the deck was beautiful, too. I got to see brand new seedlings emergings from the damp earth, and listen to the rustling leaves as the squirrels chased each other around the trees. And the sky? Cloudless. Just breathtaking.

Like Psalm 19 says, God's beauty is proclaimed everywhere we look, whether we're on land, air or sea. Take a few moments today to be still before God (Psalm 46:10) and see what His creation is saying to you!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

New on the Market!

My husband and boys stopped for sports drinks on their way home from the park tonight. Apparently there is a new product on the market that we didn't know about:



We learned this when we discovered our 6 year old drinking it AT BEDTIME. You know, P.M.? Not A.M. like on the label?!?!

It seems that if you don't get enough cardio exercise in your workout, you can just have one of these to get your heart racing. Electrolytes and Energy-Boosters.....TASTY! :-P

I'll let you know if he's up running laps with the hamster all night or not.

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