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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Season of Thanks

     So, I am late. I wanted to do a beautiful thanksgiving post with a few of the awesome reasons I have to be thankful. I'm frustrated, because I am late for everything and blowing my New Year's Resolutions sky high. There is always next year to be on time I guess. Is it ever too late to be thankful?

     Our daughter was baptized this year.

   















                                                                                       


                                                                                We spent some time with long lost friends.
   


 

















     We had really great family vacation time.   

 















    My wonderful husband and I celebrated our fifteenth anniversary in August.

     I have a hard working guy who loves his family.

     My lovely little sister married.

     Family relationships were patched up.

     My father moved to Washington after 25 years in California.

     My stepdad came home safely from Kuwait.

 

















 
      My brother Joey survived his wreck, and is improving at a miraculous rate. The doc said originally he could expect to be in a wheelchair for three to six months, but no, it's been six WEEKS since he snapped both femurs and cracked three other bones, and he is walking with only a cane!

Photo from krem.com
    
     There is so much more that I am thankful for....the JR High and volunteers at church, my great parents....all of them! The most amazing friends I could ask for. My kids, and the lessons they teach me on a regular basis. I am thankful for a God who cares about what is going on in my life, and who works all things together perfectly for the best of everyone involved.

     I want to live each day with an attitude of awe and thankfulness. God is so good!

     What are you thankful for?

   

   

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Crunch Time

     As the sun sets on 2012, I am starting to sweat. It's like the night before a huge test I didn't study for. The adrenaline is high, pulse fast. At stake? New Year's Resolutions.

     Last year, all of them had been fulfilled by now. Is it too late to file an extension?



     I used to think New Year's Resolutions were ridiculous expectations placed on yourself to become something you can't, and then feeling disappointed and guilty when you failed to comply. But I have changed my mind. Keeping them to simple self improvements and within reason, has helped me step toward being a better person.

     This year, I had planned on reading through the Bible. I think I am close to half way, so this one may be redeemable.

     I was going to read every unread book I own before I would allow myself to buy more. I didn't and I bought more books.

     Organizing my home and streamlining my life has also eluded me, though progress has been made, and I continue working at it.

     So, before I change my resolutions to~watch more tv, ground the kids more often, gain 10 pounds~ I think I will take a deep breath, let go of this year's resolutions, and make the same ones next year.

     Forgiving yourself and accepting your short comings is vital to maintaining a hopeful, positive outlook. It gives you the motivation to keep trying.


     Do you make New Year's Resolutions? If so, do you ever have trouble keeping them?





Monday, November 19, 2012

No Shirt Today

     "Mom, you NEVER do the laundry!"

     Really? My goodness, I get sick of hearing that. Of course, I feel like I do nothing but laundry and the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Closer to my side, though, I am sure.

     As we tore the house apart in search of a concert shirt required for school today, irritation flooded my entire being until it squirted out my mouth.

     Thankfully, I don't feel like the kids were scarred for life by my bemoaning their slothful ways. I was gentle, so no one even cried.

     How do I dissolve these problems? How do I get the kids to take responsibility for their own missing clothing? Ranging in age from 8-14, they are no longer little and I expect more from them. However, they are not consistently rising to the challenge. So, they will go to school with clothes that closely replicate the ones they should be wearing.

     Maybe that is why we have them for eighteen years, so we can instruct over and over the proper way to live. Perhaps that is one reason why we should read the Bible daily, because that stubborness never goes away. We must allow ourselves to be taught and retaught daily for our entire lives, lest wisdom elude us. When the active pursuit of wisdom is not in us, neither is the great bounty that she so openly offers.

     So,  a lesson for them and a lesson for me. If you don't know where your shirt is, you will have to wear something else. Allowing that consequence, rather than rescuing them, saves my sanity and hopefully helps to mature their thoughts and lead to responsibility. This in turn encourages a sense of accomplishment in them,  and relief in me.

     Do you ever get tired of relentlessly instructing others in responsibility?

   

Friday, November 16, 2012

Do You Smell That?

     I burned the muffins.....again. This time they weren't the least bit salvageable. These blueberry muffins resembled brownies when I was through with them.


     Yesterday was hectic and I was in a hurry. I was fasting so I could take a blood test, it was a half day at school, so I had to clock out in the middle of my shift at work and go pick up my kiddos. I had lots of food to chop and cleaning to do, and I was trying to get off early so I could get my blood drawn and eat. I was starving!

     Everything was going smoothly. I whipped up the muffins and threw them into the oven. They could bake while I was gone, and be done by the time I got back from picking up my kids. I ran out the door, with no opportunity to let my boss know to keep an eye on the muffins. But it didn't matter. Everything would be fine.

     By the time I got back to the kitchen, there was a terrible odor coming from the oven. It was smokey too. Thinking quickly, I cranked the oven knob to off, flung the oven doors and kitchen window open, flipped on the fan, and shut the doors to the kitchen. Dang! I had put the muffins on the wrong rack before I left. They were black. The kitchen cleared fairly quickly, but my idea that I could keep the smoke and stink to myself and away from the rest of the daycare was so wrong.

     I quickly dumped the black muffins in the trash, and mixed up more to redeem myself. Those were in the oven and I was chopping apples when my boss knocked on the kitchen door, peeked in and asked, "Amy, what are you doing? Are you hiding?" She laughed at my sorry attempt to make sure no one would know.

     "I thought I could keep the smell to myself," I replied.

     "Too late. You can't. Everyone knows." And she propped the kitchen door back open.

     I felt ridiculous for trying to keep my smoke and stench to myself, when I knew it would likely slither under the doors of the kitchen and permeate the daycare anyway. There was no holding onto my dignity in this situation, and it would have been more noble of me to just confess and apologize for stinking up the daycare.

     We do that, though, don't we? We think we can hide by shutting the doors to keep our odors to ourselves, and no one will know that anything is wrong. Whether it's something we shouldn't be doing or an unsavory life situation,  attempting to keep it to ourselves is futile. Those who know us well and even some who don't will be able to smell it, even if they can't pinpoint where it's coming from--better to confess and endure the consequences. In my case, harassment.

     "As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor." Ecclesiastes 10:1

     Have you ever tried to pull off a cover up?


photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ups/433742210/">ups2006</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fire!

     Last Monday, as we were getting ready to go to dinner, a fire broke out on the neighbor's deck. I guess because the fire was behind us and I was unsure of the address, the fire trucks came to our house.




     The fire chief ran through our gate on the side of our house and jumped the back fence, to the absolute delight of my children. I had to keep them in the house and out of the way, they were so excited (not because of the deck being on fire. They worried about that, but firefighters came to our house!)


      By then the neighbor had pulled a garden hose around the house and was nearly half way through extinguishing it, and the fire chief called the fire trucks around the block to the house on fire.


     One thing, it was surprising how quickly the fire grew. Within just a couple of minutes an ember from a fire pit caught the deck on fire and flames licked the eaves of the house. 

                                   
     After the fire was extinguished, one of the fire trucks came back by to congratulate the kids for reporting the fire. They told us that even though the fire was small, it spreads quickly. I was so impressed with the firemen for coming back to reinforce the lesson the kids learned that night. I know that it won't be easily forgotten in their minds. 



     I am grateful for those life lessons that just sort of happen, the ones kids learn on a grand scale by experiencing them. I hope that they will always be careful with fire.

 
     When have you been thankful for experiential lessons for your children?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day!


Veteran's Day Party for our service men.....Great fun!
     It's Veteran's Day, and in light of last week's election I have been contemplating the incredible, selfless sacrifice of so many servicemen and women that fought and continue to fight for our freedom and rights.

Allen: USMC

      Because of this, we are able to vote, and to cast our ballots however and for whomever we choose. We enjoy freedom of speech, when much of the world does not. We have the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and The Bill of Rights ensuring our freedoms will not easily be lost.




     These men and women leave their families so that we can stay with ours, responding to the call of duty with determination and purpose. Whether on peacekeeping missions or at war, our armed services have the best interests of the US and her allies at heart. 



     They go to make the world a better place for their children and for ours, chasing the ever elusive dream of peace on earth. No matter how difficult the challenge, they haven't thrown in the towel. They continue to fight.....for us, for their families, for our nation, and against the ever increasing threats to peace.

John: US Army


     Take a moment today to thank a veteran. Think about how much you value your rights, and what those rights cost. They deserve our gratitude and respect. 
     
      
Steve: US Army Reserve, Skip: US Air Force, Scott: USMC, US Army Reserve
     



   

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Celebrate Life

    Since my birthday was earlier this week, I have been thinking. Birthdays are a perfect reminder to celebrate life. With all of its topsy turvey mix of joys and sorrows, life is worth celebrating.


      Rejoicing over others for their birthdays reminds me of the way God rejoices over us, honoring the person that they are and taking the time to show them what they mean to us. It is impossible to determine how long God has placed them in our lives, and taking every opportunity to demonstrate love and appreciation is important.

      Renewing often the assurance of a person's importance and value helps alleviate some of the feeling of neglect those who are lonely can experience.


    My own birthday is an annual reminder to be thankful to God and to my parents for the life they gave me, the second greatest gift I have ever received. Despite challenging circumstances, my teenage parents chose life for me. Though it wasn't easy, we all made it through. The lessons we learned from each other along the way--priceless.

     I am so thankful for the experience of running through cool grass in my bare feet, playing in the waves of the ocean, watching the full moon rise. Wind in my hair. Water skiing. Driving. Hanging by a rope (some people call it climbing). Knowing God. Laughing. Sunsets. Riding a horse. Friends. Getting married. Having kids.  Life is amazing!

     So, yes, I love birthdays. Not because of the gifts I may receive, but because of the gifts I have already been given.


   So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all. ~Ecclesiastes 11:8


  Do you enjoy birthdays?

Friday, November 2, 2012

I'm Speechless.....

     Literally. My voice just up and left. Sure, I knew for a day or two that something wasn't quite right, but mostly I was blindsided. Halloween night, I really noticed the strain. I called after the kids to slow down and my voice would crack, refusing to finish the words I'd intended.

     All the arguing and pleading in the world would not make my voice react in appropriate fashion. It's like suddenly there was nothing left she wanted to say.

     I don't even remember the last time I lost my voice, but it's been quite a while. Squeaking out a few painful words today is all I can muster. It is time to just be quiet, and enjoy the peace of these couple of days before life returns to normal.

"He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul....."Psalm 23:2-3

      Because I am thankful for my illness, here is a list of the blessings that came with losing my voice:
  •  The kids and I have been whispering to one another, requiring us to actually walk up and speak softly to whomever we wish to communicate
  •  Two days off work, with nothing to do but sleep and rest
  •  My awesome husband is picking up my slack with the kids and the housework
  •  This time of quiet has greatly decreased my anxiety
  •  I have had plenty of time to read
     When have you been thankful for an illness?