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 time...it'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 for...like 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 times...it'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 subway...no seats...no 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!