Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness

For Thanksgiving, I was trying to find somewhere that my whole family could volunteer together. I was very discouraged that it seemed every idea I came up with and checked kids were too little. Then a friend from church contacted me and asked if we would be interested in staying after the Thanksgiving service to help separate and organize the food donations that every one would be bringing that day. I was very excited about this and we decided we would. Scooter and Little Man only made it about 20 minutes carrying food to the different areas with me helping them and then they were done...but they did it!! The girls did it to the very end and we had a great time with our little family and with our new church family volunteering for Thanksgiving!

The last day of November, my sister-in-law emailed me and asked me what I thought of this. It reminded me of another blog I had seen here that I knew I wanted to do on my next birthday. My family just started reading a book about advent called Jotham's Journey and in the beginning of the book it talks about showing kindness to others during Advent. So I decided VERY last minute that we were going to do this too!

25 days of Random Acts of Kindness for Avent! Here is the list we initially started with.

1st (Thu) Fill up someone’s gas tank

2nd (Fri) Tape coins to vending machines

3rd (Sat) Give a gift bag of food/drink and a blanket to a homeless person

4th (Sun) Buy a hot cocoa or latte for Salvation Army bell ringers

5th (Mon) Purchase toys for kids in need

6th (Tue) Tape candy canes and happy holiday notes to ATMS

7th (Wed) Take a set of holiday books and leave at a mall play area

8th (Thu) Offer to buy a pack of gum or mints for checkout clerk at grocery store

9th (Fri) Hand out pretty Christmas flowers

10th (Sat) Bring Christmas cookies to all our neighbors

11th (Sun) Help someone put their groceries in their car

12th (Mon) Bake & deliver Christmas cupcakes to library employees

13th (Tue) Bake a deliver Christmas cookies & bread to the fire department

14th (Wed) Bake and deliver Christmas cookies & bread to the police department

15th (Thu) Collect canned goods for food pantry

16th (Fri) Pass out candy canes to folks mailing off their Christmas cards at the post office

17th (Sat) Take back shopping carts, hold open doors for rushed and weary shoppers…

18th (Sun) Leave small Christmas treats/gifts in shopping carts for folks to find

19th (Mon) Take presents to hard working post office employees

20th (Tue) Call animal shelter and find out what donations they need. Make a contribution & visit animals.

21th (Wed) Leave basket of Christmas gifts on doorstep of a family that needs it

22nd (Thu) Buy coffee for stranger at Starbucks

23rd (Fri) Leave present in mailbox for mail carrier

Christmas Eve: (Sat) Take all night drug store employee a Christmas surprise (because it’s no fun to work on Christmas Eve!)

Christmas Day: (Sun) Deliver something special to folks who are working and/or recovering at local hospital.

I am not letting this stress me out at all! We haven't done the 3rd one because there is a particular man we want to bless and it hasn't worked out yet. We also changed the 6th one. We had gone out to dinner that night and when we were leaving, we saw the lights on at the military recruiting office. I said, "We should give them the candy canes instead!" Every one was excited about it, so we did! We went into each of the offices for the Navy, Army, and Marines (the Air Force are at a different location) and gave them candy canes and told them that we appreciate what they are doing and we know how tough their job is since before we moved here my husband was recruiting. They were so nice and really appreciated us coming in and then showered my kids with gifts! Balls, bracelets, pencils, and stickers! It felt really great and it was REALLY random, since we decided to do it so last minute!

I read about others on my facebook or other blogs doing the same thing! To know that there are so many people all over the place doing random acts of kindness for just makes me so happy! Today a friend pointed me to this blog and it was just another smile for my day!

I love being able to teach my kids about giving to others! As they say on Yo Gabba Gabba...try it, you'll like it!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Making Every Day Special

Every thing we do, every day...I want to make special for my family. As Mr. M and I celebrated our anniversary, I wanted it to be really special. When we celebrated Tink's birthday, I made sure that Mr. M was a part of it and tried to make the best memories. For Thanksgiving and Christmas, I want us to just have super quality a family. When he is home on the weekends, I try to make every thing we do really special. I'm sure most families do these things, but this year, I have a purpose. Next year, Mr. M won't be here for these things. He will be deploying.

So I want to make memories for my kids...and for their Dad, so that when they are missing each other...they can remember all the awesome things they did. Is it going to make them any less sad when Daddy isn't here for their birthday, probably not, but I still want them to have those amazing memories to hold on to.

A couple of weeks ago, I was singing in church during praise and worship and God spoke to me. He showed me that He wants OUR time together to be special. He wants me to make everything count! He doesn't just want my best on Sunday mornings, he wants every moment of every day to be special for Him and I. Hubby and I love our children and love to spend time with them, God loves us even more and wants to spend time with us.

We don't have to be on our knees in prayer every moment of the day...but we are supposed to pray without ceasing! God wants to be at the for front of our minds at all times. He wants us to share things with Him that make us happy or sad. He wants us to turn to Him in everything and include Him in everything.

Imagine if you will, standing in a group of people and being totally ignored. Sitting down at a table with your family, and not one person talks to you. Holding someones hand while they are going through a trial, and they let go to turn to someone else. Giving someone the best gift they have ever gotten and they act like they got it for themselves. Is this how we treat God? He is right there beside us, yet we do not acknowledge Him.

I pray, Lord, that as I go throughout each day, that I make it a special day that I spend with you...every day. Amen.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Seasons in Him

On the way to church yesterday morning, there was a frost on the ground and the leaves are changing beautifully this time of year. Mr. M said his favorite part of fall is watching the leaves fall and being someplace quiet where you can actually hear the leaves hitting the ground.

That is the one thing we both miss about our house in NJ, it was surrounded by nature! Tons of trees and a lot of animals. Mr. M used to step outside with his morning coffee and listen to the leaves hitting the ground while watching the deer roam through our yard and the park across the street. It was so beautiful and peaceful.

So back to our drive to church. I told him that when I think of the leaves falling from the trees, it makes me think of how God strips away our sins and imperfections. When we allow God to do this, it can really be a beautiful thing.

Then when all of our sins have been washed away, we feel bare and naked.

But then God covers us with his mercy and grace! He washes us white as snow!

And then after God covers you with his mercy and grace...he covers you with his beauty, splendor, and love. He gives us new growth in Him, we are born again!

I pray that God will strip away my sins and imperfections, cover me with his mercy and grace, wash me white as snow, and give me new growth in him!! I pray the same for you today.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Orthodontists and Dentists

So this week I took Princess to the orthodontist. I had taken her 1.5 years ago in WI and they told me she would definitely need ortho care and that it would be extensive. We weren't in NJ long enough so as soon as we got here to WA, I knew I needed to get on the ball. So I found an orthodontist through a friend and set up an appointment. They said Princess had 4 different problems they would have to address. Some of her molars were stuck due to overcrowding so they needed to straighten the top teeth to help those come down, then they would put in a guard to help her stop sucking her thumb, then she has a cross bite, and finally, her lower jaw is very prominent so they want to try and bring her upper jaw forward. So we made an appointment for the very next day and they put on her upper braces. Everything happened SO fast! She looks really cute with them on! This has made brushing in our house quite the event. It's really hard to keep braces clean, but thankfully, Princess is very diligent!

After she got her braces on, that same afternoon, all 4 kids had the dentist. This is our new dentist, and while I really like him and the office, perhaps it was a bit much for one week. I got the big lecture on helping the kids brush their teeth. The girls were fine, but the boys really still need I didn't know that. They are 5 and 2. No more grazing all day long on food...ummm, we have 3 meals and 2 set snack times...and we eat healthy snacks for the most part. And I have to many people have 2 year olds that cooperate with teeth brushing time? We started as soon as he had a tooth, yet now that he's 2...he doesn't want help! Yes, I know I still NEED to do it...but it's certainly not fun!

So I wonder then about all those people I know who give their kids soda, fruit snacks, sugar cereals, gum, etc...what does their dentist have to say to them?! Because I don't give my kids any of that stuff and I get quite the lecture at the dentist. I left there feeling like a pretty bad Mom. So now teeth brushing time has become quite the event at our house for everyone...not just Princess! I have to stand over Tink to make sure she isn't rushing and that she is getting along her gum line, I have to help Princess because of her new braces (3-4x a day!), I have to help Little Man cause he's only 5 but at least he cooperates, and I have to help Scooter cause he's only 2 and he's very stubborn. We spend most of the time with him biting on the toothbrush and I can't get it out of his mouth!!

And ALL of this is SO fun for someone who has anxiety about dentists...that would be me!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Getting Settled

We are now in Washington! We love our house, our location, our church, everything! We are getting used to Mr. M's new schedule and are so happy that he doesn't have to be in California.

Our church here is amazing!! We have met so many wonderful people and have just dove right in. Tink is doing Teen Bible Quiz (TBQ), a Sunday School class that is talking about creation vs evolution that she is really enjoying, a middle school small group, youth group, youth choir, and serving with me in the little kids choir. Princess is doing Junior Bible Quiz (JBQ), Kids Church, Impact (a Bible club), and kids choir. The boys have their little Sunday School classes and Little Man has Royal Rangers and kids choir too. So we are staying pretty busy!!

A couple weeks ago, a new friend was going over to the east side of WA for a fun weekend of homesteading type activities and one of those was getting some apples. So I bought some too and she brought them back for me! So over the last 2 weekends, Mr. M and I have made over 50 quarts of applesauce!! It is so yummy!!! Hopefully it will last us till next fall...but we'll see!

This Thursday I am going over to a friends house to learn how to make my own bread. Not like the type you get from a bread maker...blah! But homemade, whole wheat bread!! I am really excited to start making my own! Mr. M and I have researched kitchen mixers and can't wait to get our Bosch Universal Mixer with it's 800 watt motor!

Next summer we are definitely making our own freezer jam again too! I know, I am sounding like a crazy homesteader right?! I hope so! Pretty soon I will be sewing all our own clothes!! Just kidding...not that there is anything wrong with that! Been there done that. I have made a few dresses for my girls and I have found it takes way too much time and money and I can buy things much, much cheaper!!

I am still trying to finish up unpacking. Downstairs is looking amazing! I hung up all the pictures and everything down there is unpacked and put away. So, now it's upstairs time. I feel like I never get to it cause I am always trying to keep up with cleaning the downstairs and doing laundry and doing school. But now I have a time limit...which always helps! This Friday is Tink's birthday party!!

Now I feel like saying blah, blah, blah...cause that is how I feel like I sound!! Lol. This is part of why I haven't blogged in so long!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Answered Prayers

Wow, last night I finally had time to sit down and look at my blog after a very busy summer so far. In my latest blog I talked about having faith and being able to wait on the Lord. I was stressed about choosing the right church in WA and finding the right house and Mr. M having to go be in CA for 4 months. Reading it, I was almost giddy! Because God answered ALL of my prayers!!

I had been staying up late every night scouring the internet for rental houses out in Washington. I knew we were going to have to pick a place to live without going there first to see it. We've done this before, we actually bought our house in VA without ever having seen it in person. Sometimes this is just the way it works out with the military. I also have been in prayer. Knowing that I shouldn't worry about it cause God has ALWAYS provided the perfect place for us to live. So I kept praying and I kept looking!

Even though I knew it was too early to be calling about houses, there was one house that really caught my eye. So I decided to call the property manager for it. She told me it definitely would not still be available when we were looking to move. She asked me what I was looking for and I told her and I also told her we wanted to be south of Everett to be near the church we plan on going to. She asked which church and when I told her, she said that it's a great church and she grew up in the Assemblies of God churches. So she took my number and said she would let me know if anything came up. I was like, wow, what are the chances that of all the property managers I would call in all of WA, it would be someone from the Assemblies of God?!

The very next evening, she called us and said that one of her tenants gave notice that day to vacate August 31st and she thinks the house would be perfect for us! So she sent some pictures and I had to call her back cause I knew there was no way this house was going to be in our price range...but it is!! It's 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2 story, 3 car garage, 2800 sqft!!! So Mr. M and I took the evening to talk about it and pray about it and definitely felt like God was saying, "Here you go, here's the house I have picked out for you."

When we talked to her the next day she said that this is "God's house" and it's for "God's people!" The people that are in it now are a Pastor and his family, and now us! She's never actually had to put it on the market since the owner moved out. Because of the distance and timing, we asked if there were any other applications in on it that we were going up against and she said that she has the house set aside for us! They would not be accepting other applications for it!

It is in the perfect location, 25 minutes to Mr. M's work, 15 minutes to church, 5 minutes to shopping and food, great neighborhood, and we are just super excited and feeling SO blessed!! We have been praying that God would direct our paths and show us the perfect house for us and He did!! Praise God!!

As far as the church, God has given us complete peace about that as well. With the wonderful people I have been emailing with from there and making contact via facebook, and watching their services online on Sundays...I know we are going to love this church!

The last part of my prayer was about Mr. M having to go to CA for 4 months, 2 weeks after our arrival in WA. He received word from the guy he is relieving that now it looks like he will only have to go to CA for a week or two and then he'll be working up in WA!!! I mean, seriously?! God, you are so awesome!! We would have gotten through it...but I am so thankful we won't have to! This will still mean some stress for Mr. M as the commute from Everett to Bremerton everyday is 1.5 hours each way. But I know God will bless us and even if he's not around much during the week...he'll be home on the weekends! There is SOME talk about a possible 3 or 4 day work week and that is what we are praying for right now.

I am simply amazed at God's love for us. At how He provides everything for us each and every time we move. His love for me is greater then the highest mountain!! And deeper then the deepest sea. Thank you Lord for answering my prayers in such an amazing way!!

Here are pics of our beautiful new home!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Having Faith

I like to think of myself as an optimist...some would even say to a fault! I don't just think of the glass as half full...I think of it as completely full and running over!! I always want everyone to win! When I used to play on our church co-ed baseball league in Virginia Beach years ago, I used to cheer on the other team. The teams needed to have a certain number of females to play, so they begged me to play, even though I really can not play baseball! So the only place they could put me was as catcher, then the pitcher would run up and cover my spot if needed, lol, sad, I know! But when I would sit up there in my catcher gear, and the other teams girls would come up to bat, I knew that some of them, like me, were only playing to fellowship and to fill a spot on the team. So I would give them a word of encouragement. My team used to crack up at me! But they loved me for it too. That is just who I am, it's how God created me.

If you are my friend, then you already know this about me. If you have ever been through a trial, then you know that not only am I on my knees before God, but I am in your corner. Encouragement is one of my spiritual gifts. A gift that is from the Lord and I try to use it to glorify Him!

Another spiritual gift that I have, not quite as high, but it's still right up faith. I have little that God is going to help the time go slower when I am running late for piano practice with my kids so that we won't be late! Or that I will find a close parking spot so that I won't have to walk through a busy parking lot with 4 children in tow. I also have BIG faith! The kind that made me know that my husband was going to come home safely from Iraq, or that a friend is going to be healed from cancer. And REAL faith, that when God doesn't answer my prayers the way I wanted Him too...that I still know that He knows what is best and that He has bigger and better plans...or just different plans.

Sometimes I think it's easy for me to have faith cause I have never had to deal with anything tragic or terrible happen to me like being abused as a child, or to go through a divorce or the loss of a loved one, or a miscarriage or the loss of a child. So maybe it's easy to sit in my naive little world and have my faith cause everything always works out for me in the end. Well, not everything, Mr. M and I have been apart A LOT in our marriage due to the Navy and I certainly didn't want him to go to Iraq...but again, he always comes home safely to me.

So the area where I struggle the most with waiting. Trusting in God that HE WILL PROVIDE! So, now we know we are moving to Everett...but where? Have I chosen the right church? I haven't even been do I know this is where God wants us? What if we find a house close to the church and then we don't fit? It seems that most Navy families live north of Everett but the church is south so I want to live somewhere in between, is that the right decision? Now Mr. M may have to live in California from September to January while we are in is that going to work during the move? Will I have to unpack and settle us once again by myself and with 4 kids this time and no one to lean on for help? How are we going to take a long trip across the entire country and then find a house to move into before Mr. M has to report to his new command? What if we can't find a house in the 10 days we have for house hunting leave? Should we spend the $500 on a ticket for Mr. M to go out there early to look for a house? Should we move right at the beginning of September or more mid-September? Will I make good friends? Will we be apart for Christmas?

My mind is reeling this evening and I can't sleep. Why is this so hard for me? God always provides the perfect house for us, He always takes care of us, and He always gives me the strength that I need to carry on in whatever task lies ahead.

On Sunday my Pastor was talking about some missionaries that live in an area where they are under constant persecution and their words really hit me, "Do not pray that God would take this away, pray that God would help us to withstand it". Wow! Now that is faith!! BIG faith!!

So, Lord, help me to withstand this move once again. You always give us what we need. You especially always provide for me to be able to get through whatever I need to get through. Give me rest Lord. Help me to know what decisions to make and help me to be submissive to my husband and trust him in the decisions that he needs to make for our family. Help us to really enjoy these last few months we have here in New Jersey. Amen

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I found my JOY!!!

So, I took a day to mourn the loss of my care free days, sun kissed skin, and palm tree hugs, lol. Then I wanted to find the JOY in my circumstances!! I was having a tough time though. The only negative I can even find about Everett is the rain...the constant rain.

Today I talked to someone at a church out there and it was a great conversation! I sent her an email afterward and thanked her for her time and I posted a link to this blog. Then I went to look at my blog to make sure I didn't say anything bad about Washington, lol. A few posts down, I reread a post I wrote about my name. It reminded me that God is taking care of me and that He has called me for a purpose and that He has given me everything I need! I have found joy in my circumstances!! I wrote that blog before I knew I was going to Washington. God is amazing!!

Now today I am feeling really great about the move! I am excited about the church out there and the fact that they have a large homeschooling community, I am excited that Tink already has a pen pal out there and that I have a friend, and I am excited because God reminded me to have joy in my circumstances through my own words that He gave me to write. Words that reminded me that God has called me to this military life and that even in the rain...he will help me to grow!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Answer #1

We got one of our answers yesterday. We are moving to Everett, Washington. Wow. I'm very glad to have our answer, but it wasn't what I was hoping for. Mr. M even told me it was most likely going to be Everett. The funniest thing is that when he was picking orders, there was 1 job that he wanted and there were 2 places he could go. California or Washington. We, OF COURSE, chose California because I didn't want to go back to Washington. Lol. Well, God obviously wanted something different for us!

Yesterday, I mourned my palm trees and sunshine. Today, I am still a little in shock and I WANT to be excited about Washington, but there just isn't as much to be excited about. I just checked the weather and for the next 10 days, it's nothing but rain. *sigh*

We most likely will not be able to get into that housing I liked, it's a long wait, but there are a lot of nice houses for rent in the area and the cost of living up there is a lot less then CA or NJ! It looks like there are some decent churches in the area and they do have JBQ up there.

We also found out that there is a chance that Mr. M might have to be in CA for a few months while we are in WA. NOT happy about that at all. Praying against that!

So, I got my answer. Now, today, I have to find my strength to be joyful in my circumstances!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Crazy Life...

I think this could be my blog post every day! Maybe I should rename my blog this! As usual we have been extremely busy, so computer time has taken a back seat, which is a good thing I suppose. There are 3 things that have been weighing on my mind lately.

#1.) JBQ. Junior Bible Quiz is a wonderful program for kids 3rd - 6th grade where they memorize questions and answers and quotations from the Bible. Princess and Tink are both in it this year. For the State competition, they were on separate teams and Princess's team did really great and I am so proud of how she has totally stepped up this year as a leader her first year. This is Tink's 3rd and last year in the program. She is very gifted in this area! Her team had an "off" day on the day of competition and they ended up in 5th place. Not bad at all, but there are only 4 spots for regionals. The teams that beat them are teams they have beat before and even teams that beat them earlier in the day, they beat later during the playoffs. It was just a series of unfortunate events that day. Her one teammate actually came in 1st place in the whole state of NJ!! There was still a chance that they might take a 5th team but it wasn't looking good.

Well, we heard last night that things are changing and that we don't know for sure yet but we should make arrangements to go! I am still praying really hard! I really want Tink's team to have this opportunity! It's almost like we are the the Packers!! And we are going to get in and take it all! Lol! Well, I don't know about that...but it would be great for them to have this experience!

#2.) Our house in Virginia. Our tenants moved out, and I won't even go into all the drama with that in itself! Our Property Manager went to do the walk through and the house is extremely filthy. The tenants said they hired a professional cleaning company but there is just NO WAY! the floors are filthy, the drawers are filthy, the appliances are filthy...I can't believe ANY cleaning company would leave a house looking like that! So now my PM is having to call the company and make them come back out and do it right. There is damage to window screens, the screen door, the garage door openers, the blinds for the sliding glass door, and a few walls. Now, all of this will come out of the security deposit but it's still stressful! In the mean time, the new tenants are coming to see the house again tomorrow and the house is filthy and they wanted permission to paint. On one hand, they are saving US money by painting it instead of us having to paint. But on the other hand, I am not comfortable with them doing anything until the process is finished with the previous tenants. Plus I don't really want them having a key and such till they start paying rent. I sure hope they understand!

#3.) Our move. We found out back in January I think that we were moving before the end of the year, probably November. Mr. M has the opportunity to go to a new job and it's in San Diego!! This is the job he wanted when we left Great Lakes but it wasn't available. We were so excited! His CO here did not sign the paperwork to release him cause she wanted a person to replace him first. So WE PRAYED!! God provided and a person took the orders and is coming in August!! That means we are leaving in September now, even earlier then expected! I really like this time frame better, easier on the kids for programs and such. The kids and I have gotten SO excited about moving to San Diego!! Disneyland, the zoo, Sea World, Lego Land, military hopper flights to Hawaii!! We started researching churches there too. NO JBQ in San Diego. Wow. Princess would be the only one in it next year but it's such an amazing program we are just shocked about having to possibly give it up.

Then Mr. M got a phone call from the guy who he's relieving. They might be moving the job to Everett, Washington!! WHAT?!?! Washington?!?! I don't want to live in Washington again! I want to move to San Diego! I want the sunshine and palm trees! *sigh* Okay God. I know that we are in the center of your will right now. I know that these orders are a reward from you for our family. So I KNOW that I need to TRUST in you. So now we are researching Everett as well. It's different then where I lived there before. The housing is NICE if we can get in it. They do have JBQ there. It IS beautiful, there is no denying that. But there definitely aren't any palm trees.

I just want to know! Is it San Diego? Is it Everett? Are they going to move us to San Diego and then to Everett? Hmmm, I just realized this sounds very familiar. Back in Great Lakes we thought we were going to be moving to Long Island, NY. Then it is was either going to be there or Manhattan, NY or Colts Neck, NJ. All I wanted was to know!! Now here I am again just wanting to know. The Lord blessed us in it being Colts Neck, it is the perfect place for us. I know He will pick the perfect place for us again. I just wish He would tell me which one it was going to be! :o)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I fell off the bandwagon!

Today is day 31 in my reading program! I am 1/3 of the way through the Bible! I can't believe it! This past week I had gotten REALLY behind in my reading. Not a big deal when you are doing a 365 day just read a little bit more. But when you are doing a 90 day was a little overwhelming! Yesterday was day 30 and there was no assigned reading...that REALLY helped! I am caught up!! It felt really good and hopefully that will help me to not get behind again!

I haven't worked out in a week. First it was my back, then this past weekend was really busy with MOPS, iMpact, JBQ, church, and the superbowl (GO PACKERS!!! WOOOHOOOOOO!!!!). I also haven't been counting my calories or even caring about what I've been eating! Sigh. Hopefully today I will be able to get back up on the wagon and get moving!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What's in a Name?

About a year ago, my husband and I were in a small group with some other couples and in the book study we were doing, we were asked to research our name and find the meaning of it, Biblical or otherwise, and find a scripture verse for it. I knew right away that this was going to be a challenge. Let me start off by saying I LOVE my name! It is me and I have never not liked my name.

My name is Heather. In baby name books the meaning says: an evergreen flowering plant that thrives on peaty, barren lands. Wow. Exciting. When I was a young adult, I would meet a man and when I would tell him my name was Heather, the response was ridiculous. You could see the excitement in their eyes and hear it in their voice with their response, "oh Heeeaaaattther", they would say all saucy as their eyebrows went up and down. Like they were conjuring up pictures in their head of Heather Locklear that very moment! Then there was Hollywood...with the movie Heather's and pretty much any voluptuous, man-stealing, bimbo...was named Heather!! I always knew that as soon as a bad girl came into a movie scene...her name would be Heather!

Heather in the Bible? Not so much! So I scoured the web for SOMETHING! Anything other then it being a flowering plant that grows on barren lands! I came across a little story that I absolutely loved! Remember, it's just a story! But it really made me think about my name in a whole new light.

When God first made the world, He looked at the bare and barren hillsides and thought how nice it would be to cover them with some kind of beautiful tree or flower. So he turned to the Giant Oak, the biggest and strongest of all of the trees he had made, and asked him if he would be willing to go up to the bare hills to help make them look more attractive. But the oak explained that he needed a good depth of soil in order to grow and that the hillsides would be far too rocky for him to take root.

So God left the oak tree and turned to the honeysuckle with its lovely yellow flower and beautiful sweet fragrance. He asked the honeysuckle if she would care to grow on the hillsides and spread her beauty and fragrance amongst the barren slopes. But the honeysuckle explained that she needed a wall or a fence or even another plant to grow against, and for that reason, it would be quite impossible for her to grow in the hills.

So God then turned to one of the sweetest and most beautiful of all the flowers - the rose. God asked the rose if she would care to grace the rugged highlands with her splendor. But the rose explained that the wind and the rain and the cold on the hills would destroy her, and so she would not be able to grow on the hills.

Disappointed with the oak, the honeysuckle and the rose, God turned away. At length, he came across a small, low lying, green shrub with a flower of tiny petals -some purple and some white. It was a heather.

God asked the heather the same question that he’d asked the others. "Will you go and grow upon the hillsides to make them more beautiful?"

The heather thought about the poor soil, the wind and the rain - and wasn’t very sure that she could do a good job. But turning to God she replied that if he wanted her to do it, she would certainly give it a try.

God was very pleased.

He was so pleased in fact that he decided to give the heather some gifts as a reward for her willingness to do as he had asked.

Firstly he gave her the strength of the oak tree - the bark of the heather is the strongest of any tree or shrub in the whole world.

Next he gave her the fragrance of the honeysuckle - a fragrance which is frequently used to gently perfume soaps and potpourris.

Finally he gave her the sweetness of the rose - so much so that heather is one of the bees favorite flowers. And to this day, heather is renowned especially for these three God given gifts.

This reminds me of how God has asked me to go and be a military wife. I can not put in deep roots like the oak tree, we never live anywhere long enough, so the heather's roots have to be quick and strong.

The honeysuckle needs something else to grow against, to support it...I don't have that here with me. Every time I move some place new...I am on my own. I don't get to have my best friends surrounding me with love and support to help me grow...yet the heather will grow.

The wind and the rain and the cold would destroy the rose...but not me. I can take anything that life throws at me. 7 month ship deployments, year long deployments to Iraq, just getting settled one place and being told it's time to move again, raising children and being their strength when Daddy is gone...the heather will not be destroyed.

God asked the heather "Will you go and grow where I send you, and make my world more beautiful?"

The heather thought about the poor soil, the wind and the rain - and wasn’t very sure that she could do a good job. But turning to God she replied that if he wanted her to do it, she would certainly give it a try.

So then God gave me what I needed. The strength of the oak tree, the sweet fragrance of Jesus Christ which is His salvation, and the beauty of the rose which is the light of Christ shining through me that attracts new friends in new places and hopefully hurting people that I may encourage them and be a light in this dark world. Some days I am definitely not sure I can do it, but I will try...every day.

So...what does your name mean? :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Journey Begins...

My goals for 2011; 1. Spend more time in God's word. 2. Serve others more. 3. Lose 20lbs. So, more of God, more of others, and LESS of me!!

Last week at church, our Pastor challenged us to spend MORE time in God's word!! I will fully admit that I have been severely failing in this area. So I decided I am going to take that challenge! I decided I will read my Bible before I do anything else for myself in the morning. No computer time until I read the Bible. It went great for a week! I was doing Our Daily Bread, and some extra reading. Then this Sunday, our Pastor mentioned a program where you read the Bible in 90 days. 90 days?!?!? Are you serious?! I have tried numerous times to do the Bible in 1 year programs and I always end up not finishing, not even close, I never make it to the New Testament! I am intrigued!

So I did some research today and while I still think it's going to be a struggle to get through the Old Testament parts that I have read numerous times, I think this plan is a great idea!! 365 days is a big commitment! You never know what life has for you! But 90 days? I can do 90 days!! My Pastor said, "Which sounds better? A diet that will last 365 days, or a diet that will last 90 days?" I am so IN!!!

Starting today...I am doing the 90 day challenge!!

Also, this week our Pastor challenged us to memorize God's word. UGH!!! It's not just about reading the Bible in a certain amount of's about GOD'S WORD!!! He said the biggest excuse people use is, "I have a bad memory". Yup, that would be me! My 8 year old daughter, Princess, was asked to go up on the platform on Sunday and recite Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amazing!! Tink taught it to her on Friday, she also taught her 3 other versus on the way to church on Sunday! My girls are amazing!! The way they memorize their JBQ questions amazes me!! These are MY children!! I need to stop making up excuses and just do it!

So, it may take me a little longer, but I am going to start memorizing God's word!! Of course I do know a lot already that I purposely memorized...but why not more?! How can I know how to walk with the Lord if I don't know His word? How will I depend on His word when I am in the dark if I don't have it in my heart? When someone asks me to pray for them, I don't want to pray flowery words or on my own authority...I want to pray God's word into them...the breath of life!!

Lord, help me! Help me to stick to this reading plan! I have read many unimportant books from cover to cover. Help me to love every page of your word! Help me to make this important above any time wasters in my life! Help me to witness to others through this. Also, please help me to memorize Your word! Amen!

My first verse: I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

The Journey begins...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Homeschooling Little Man

Homeschooling has been an interesting journey for me so far. We started 6 years ago for Tink, it definitely was the best thing for her! Princess has also flourished in our little homeschool, she is gifted in a completely different way then Tink. Last year, Tink started doing the video through ABeka. She LOVES it!! And it showed in her work and attitude. This year both girls are doing it and Princess loves it too. They watch their lessons on DVD on their laptops and then they do their work. I still do all the grading and helping with questions and studying. This year I also added Little Man to our classroom. So the girls having independent lesson times are great so I can focus on the boys more.

Little Man is only on lesson 33 today. When I think about that, it puts panic into my heart!! The girls are already on lesson 63!!! There are many reasons why Little Man is "behind". There have been a couple of days that I have kicked my 4 year old out of my classroom. That sounds terrible but he has to learn what the classroom is for and what it ISN'T being disrespectful to his teacher.

Every day he begs and whines to do school...and then as soon as we start, he begs and whines to be done. He likes the IDEA of doing school. Also, I have to give up things I want to do to do school with him. Like shower, workout, clean the house...which I am happy to do...if he was happy to do school. I wait to do school with him when Scooter goes down for a nap so that we can focus. So when he doesn't act like he wants to do it, I'm like...fine! Then I'll go take a shower!

Then the holidays hit. I did a lot of online shopping and bargain hunting and baking and, well, not a whole lot of schooling. Luckily the girls can do their work without me having to sit right there the whole time. Although even they took more days off then I was anticipating.

So that brings us to today. January 5th. I decided I HAD to get back to schooling Little Man. I mean technically I don't HAVE to do school with him at all. He's only 4, and it's just preschool...but I realized over Christmas break that my son could not count to 10 while playing hide and seek with his sisters. That...I am not okay with! I really wanted him to at least be able to count to 10!! Not for anyone else, not because I care what anyone else thinks, cause I don't. But just so he can play hide and seek with his sisters!!

So this afternoon when Scooter laid down for his nap...we did school. Not just one lesson, but 3 lessons!! He can count to 10...apparently he just didn't feel like it when he was playing. He also can recognize all 10 numbers and put them in order. He can also sing his ABC's, which he used to be able to do, and then I thought he couldn't anymore. He knows all his colors. He knows what sounds all the vowels and quite a few letters make. He can also write his name, all by himself, in capital or little letters.

Apparently, when playing, he wants to do things his own way. Why do the numbers have to go in order all the time and why can't X be in the alphabet 4 or 5's a fun letter to say!! And so what if we are only on lesson 33!! It's preschool!! He's gonna learn all the same stuff in Kindergarten anyway!! We need to have a little more fun and a little less seriousness I think. Boys sure are different to teach then girls!

Lord, give me what I need each day to give to my children. Help me to remember that they are individuals. Help me to be a good teacher and a great Mom and a loving wife. Amen.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas in NYC!

Five days before Christmas, we took the train into NYC to see all the lights and sights of the city at Christmas! It was amazing!!! It definitely surpassed our expectations!

The train took us into Penn Station which is quite the hubbub of activity and this is where we saw our first NYC Christmas tree. It was so big they had to hang the star from the ceiling! We went out into the city and headed straight for Macy's. We waited in line to see Santa at Macy's about 45 minutes, but the stuff you see in the line was so cool that the time went really fast. One thing I didn't get a picture of was along the walls there were blown up lists from children to Santa and they were really cute to read!

After seeing Santa we headed down the street and went to McDonald's for lunch. We would have loved to eat someplace more "New York" but the kids really wanted McDonald's and we hardly ever eat there...and we were really hungry!

After that we headed out into the cold again (it was really cold that day!) to look for a subway that was heading uptown. We couldn't go the route we wanted cause there were police everywhere blocking off the streets and sidewalks. Apparently there was a bomb threat!! The New Yorkers didn't seem scared at all...just annoyed! So we had to go a much longer way to get to the subway station we needed. There probably was another station we could have gone to but hey, we're tourists!!

The subway was fun! Family with 4 kids gets on the one cares!! After a young lady watched Little Man for awhile, she stood up and offered her seat to him, he was happy to sit down! We went uptown to go to a special place to get Scooter's first haircut!! He was so cute and when he was all done he was not happy about having to get out of the race car! He looks so big with his new haircut!!

We decided to walk back down 5th Avenue to go to Rockefeller Center. It was a long walk and it was really cold. We saw a lot of neat stuff though! Rockefeller Center (or RC) was really cool! Seeing the NYC Christmas tree and the lighted angels and the skating rink...beautiful! The girls really wanted to go ice skating but the wait was SOOOO long, so we decided not to. We did go to the Starbucks on the bottom floor of the RC and have some hot chocolate!!

After warming up and walking around some more, we went to the top of the RC! What a great view!! We could see the Empire State building and all of the city! After that we stopped and got some pretzels and then headed for the American Girl store. I now have been to 3 and I still think the one in Chicago is the best! It was a lot of fun!

On our way back to Penn station we went to Times Square...they didn't need any Christmas lights added to their display!! WOW!!! The train ride back to NJ was pretty quiet. I think we all really enjoyed our big trip to the city and look forward to going back in the spring to see completely different things!

Enjoy the pics!