Monday, March 31, 2008

Special Prayer Request

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. Proverbs 27:1 KJV
Several days ago my father-in-law became ill with a blockage in the upper digestive tract. He has been in the hospital while the doctors have been trying to remedy the problem without resorting to surgery. The church he pastors began a 24 hour prayer chain on Sunday. He had a better night last night and is feeling a bit better today. I am in Florida right now to be a help and encouragement to my mother-in-law. I will be here as long as she needs me. I am terribly behind on comment moderation and answering emails, but those things are on the back burner right now. Your prayers for my father-in-law would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, March 28, 2008

On A Quest

My children are together 24/7. They eat, play, sing, laugh, and learn together. They also fight, nit-pick, argue, and whine. I know that they love each other and that some amount of “sibling squabbling” is considered normal, but over the past few weeks I have really seen the need to focus on instructing my children in Christian character.

Each morning during Circle Time we have been reading a verse from the book of Proverbs and discussing it. Bible verse memorization is vitally important in the Christian life, but I have found that too often memorization takes the place of meditation. I want my children to memorize Bible verses, but I want them to meditate on God’s Word, too. I want their little brains to be filled with God’s instruction. I want their hearts to be convicted when they sin. It makes sense to spend the time now sowing seeds in their tender hearts before the weeds spring up and choke them out.

Psalm 119:14 “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

I want these same things for myself. Is Christian character evident in my life? Is it evident not only to the people I meet out and about on the street or at church but to my family, too? It is my desire to be a doer of the word, and not just a hearer. That’s where meditating on God’s Word comes in.

Psalm 1:2b “…and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (emphasis mine)

The dictionary defines the word meditate as “dwelling on any thing in thought; to contemplate; to study”. I have to admit that sometimes I just fly through my Bible reading time and fail to dwell on what I have read during the rest of the day. Sometimes I wonder why my day is not going as well as I would like it to, and then I realize that even though I started my day with God’s Word, I haven’t been keeping the verses in the forefront of my mind. I haven’t been contemplating how they apply in my life. I haven’t been meditating on them and living them out.

It is my hope and prayer that in the coming weeks and months I will see an improvement in the Christian character development of both my children and myself. I cannot instruct them in righteousness if I’m not applying the same standard to myself. I’m so thankful that God has given us a Book with all of the instructions in it!

Image from here.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pets need spring cleaning, too.

Our dogs spent the day at the groomer's. Every time I went outside today and didn't see them I would wonder where they were; then I would remember! Who says that only senior citizens have "senior moments"? :)

Dewey received a nice medicated shampoo bath and had his ears cleaned. Wrinkle care is important for English Bulldogs. Dirt and moisture can build up in those cute wrinkles and lead to a nasty infection. Dewey joined our family almost 4 months ago, and thankfully he hasn't had any skin problems yet. We'll see how he does this summer when it gets really hot. I have a feeling he'll be spending afternoons sprawled out on the family room floor enjoying the air conditioning. In case you're wondering why we don't bathe him ourselves, just remember that he weighs close to 100 pounds and has feet the size of a small cow. Enough said.


Buddy, our mini schnauzer, fares best with a puppy cut. He spends so much time romping in the woods with the kids that it just doesn't make since for him to have a traditional schnauzer cut. He looks so skinny right after a haircut.

When Dewey and Buddy came home this evening the kids ran to them like they hadn't seen them in weeks. It had been, in fact, only six hours. Even a short absence makes the heart grow fonder. Those good-smellin' dogs were smothered with hugs.

Grooming the dogs does cut into our budget a bit, but I think if you're going to have pets then you should take good care of them! Dewey and Buddy are looking and feeling great tonight, but I'm sure that as soon as they head out to play in the morning they'll be looking green again from all of the pollen. So much for that spring cleaning. :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Boy And His Dog


These two don't sit still for long. ;)

Homeschool Book Fund

You may have noticed that I have added Christianbook.com to my sidebar. After much prayer and discussion with my husband, I decided to partner with the world's largest Christian products distributor by joining their affiliate program. Christianbook.com carries a huge selection of Bibles, books, devotionals, curricula, music, home decor, and gift items. I have been a customer for years and have always been very pleased with the products, prices, shipping, and customer service. If you click on any of the Christianbook.com links on my site and ultimately puchase products, you will be contributing to our homeschool book fund. Here's the catch: if you don't purchase the item within four hours of clicking the link or add it to your shopping bag to purchase within the next 30 days, the system kicks out my affiliate link and I won't get credit for your purchase. Clear as mud?? :) If you are not familiar with Christianbook.com, check it out! Please pass the word along to anyone you know who shops at Christianbook.com. Our family would appreciate your support! :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Our 13th Anniversary



Yesterday Mr. C and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. We spent the day with our four wonderful children. :)

We ate lunch at a restaurant famous for its tank of lobsters greeting you at the door. I had fried shrimp and shrimp scampi. Delicious!

Our next stop was at an electronics store that the kids just love because they get to play with those expensive video game systems. My wonderful hubby took me shopping for a practical anniversary gift. The rental car we used on our trip last week was equipped with a GPS system. It was a lifesaver! I've been dropping little hints the last several days about getting one. He bought me this one.


We spent the rest of the day browsing the mall and enjoyed spending time together as a family.

I can't believe how fast the last 13 years have flown by! God has blessed us tremendously, and I feel closer to my husband now at this stage of our lives than I ever have before. I'm looking forward to spending many more years with the man of my dreams.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Home Again

Thanks so much for your prayers! Our flight went smoothly and the drive home was as good as an all-nighter can be. I'm off to unpack and prepare for Resurrection Day. Have a blessed weekend!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Snowed In

We were scheduled to fly out of Chicago this afternoon. Our flight was one of the umpteen flights cancelled. We discovered the cancellation early this morning and saved ourselves a pointless ride to the airport. We checked out of our hotel and started driving south in the rental car. We were able to secure seats on a flight out of Indianapolis, praise the Lord! Now our plans have us arriving in Orlando this evening around the same time as our original flight. We'll pick up the kids from Grandma's house and drive straight through the night from Florida back home to Georgia. Please pray that we'll be able to catch a few winks on the plane and have a safe drive home.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I've Waited Ten Years For This

Was I content with all the sunny Florida weather? Apparently not, because I woke up at 4:00 this morning to catch a plane bound for Chicago. I am most definitely a glutton for punishment! Here's the deal. I had the opportunity to travel with my husband --without our children-- and spend five whole days with him! How does a girl say no to that? So, with the grandmas lovingly caring for our children, we're by ourselves on a trip together for the first time in over 10 years. 10 YEARS! That's a long time, my friends. We had a good flight and maneuvered our way through Midway as best we could. We arrived at our hotel at noon but couldn't check in until 3. The desk clerk offered to let us check in 3 hours early for $50 more; we passed. When we finally checked in to our room and headed down the hallway we noticed that all of the doors of the unoccupied rooms were open. I thought that was quite strange and a bit creepy. Just anyone could walk into any of the rooms. Upon entering our room we discovered that there was no closet in which to hang our clothes. There's just a waist-high rack in the bathroom for them. Tell me this: how is a girl supposed to hang her dresses up on a rack that is only a couple of feet from the floor? Even better, there were no hangers with those clips to hang a skirt on. Can you guess how I solved this problem? I went across the hall to a room with the door wide open and switched out a few hangers from the closet. Apparently we are in a handicapped equipped room; that's why we have no closet. The hotel was fully booked, so we couldn't switch rooms. That's okay. I don't have the clothes of four children to hang up this trip, so I can make do with that precious rack. :) We have a busy week ahead, but hopefully I'll have for a post or two. I brought my camera but no USB cable, so pictures might have to wait until we get home. P.S.- I love you Bookworm, Mickey, Curly Girl, and Lil' Nut! :)

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Grandparents Are Happy

I'm in Florida right now visiting some very happy grandparents. Wednesday night after church we drove down. It only took us six hours. We've learned that it's much easier to travel with children at night. We always shave a few hours off of the trip without having to stop for food or those necessary bathroom breaks. The kids sleep, there's not that much traffic, and my hubby and I actually get to have a long conversation. While the kids and I have been relaxing and playing with the grandmas, Mr. C has been helping out with the annual fundraiser for our home church's radio station. Once a year for three days they have "Revival on the Radio" and raise the needed funds for operating the station. You can listen live to Restoreathon 2008 here. Today I got to spend some time with my blogging friend Alesha. Her precious little boy Isaac was just as cute as he could be giving me his winning smile. Alesha, I really enjoyed visting with you! :) Tomorrow we're going to visit a local theme park. Sunny skies and 80 degrees; a far cry from last Saturday and the snow at our house!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Day For Ladies

This past weekend a group of ladies from our church spent the day together at a ladies' conference at a church near Atlanta. We had a wonderful time fellowshipping together and gleaning from the many sessions available.

The keynote speaker was Mrs. Carol Trahan. I was so blessed to hear her personal testimony of how God has used personal tragedy in her life to mold her into what He wants her to be through complete surrender. You can read more about Mrs. Trahan's ministry at her website.

The main auditorium was beautifully decorated. Here are a couple of pictures of tables set up in the hallway.




Breakfast and lunch were catered and served in the gymnasium. It was decorated so elegantly. This ice sculpture of two hearts was the focal point.Lunch was spectacular! The food was delicious, and the table setting was a feast for the eyes. One person at each table won a centerpiece; I came home with a beautiful calla lily.

I attended sessions on homeschooling, coordinating baby/bridal showers, and a special talk for pastors wives. A very godly woman who has been a pastor's wife for over 50 years shared some important helps for pastors' wives. Her talk was my favorite one of the day.

I took several pictures at the Showers of Blessings session. Tables were set up with theme ideas for baby girl and baby boy showers. The three-tiered box cake was actually made out of styrofoam, but it was so lovely.

This was my favorite display. Simple elegance--just perfect for a spring bridal shower.

Check out these adorable cookies.



This cake wasn not made out of styrofoam! It was just gorgeous and was given away as a door prize during the last session. A very sweet pastor's wife was the recipient, and she had the greatest little story to tell as she graciously accepted the cake.

She said that when she arrived home that evening, a missionary family would be there waiting on her. She had gone grocery shopping the day before and had really planned to try to come up with a frugal menu that would still be appreciated by her guests. She used coupons and purchased the store specials and was able to stay within her budget. The only thing she still needed was a dessert. She had actually prayed that God would give her an idea for an inexpensive dessert. Now, I sure do like how God answered her prayer! She was able to take this cake home with her and serve it to the visiting missionaries. How neat is that?
I enjoy attending this conference each year and appreciate the time and effort that the hosts put forth so the rest of us can be blessed. I'm so glad that I'm not the one in charge of such a large event!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Birthday and Busy

Thank you so much for all of the sweet birthday wishes sent my way! It's nice to know that when a girl begs for comments, her bloggy friends come through.:)

I had a wonderful birthday. One of the dear ladies in our church blessed me with a gift card to Cracker Barrel, so our family started the day with a hearty breakfast. Cracker Barrel pancakes are out of this world! You don't even have to butter them, and they still melt in your mouth. And those crispy edges---mmmmm.

After breakfast my hubby took me shopping about an hour away. We didn't stay too long because Bookworm had a piano lesson in the afternoon, but it was still fun to have an outing with the whole family.

Later in the day I went to a nail salon for a brow wax and a manicure. I haven't had a manicure in over a year, and it felt wonderful to be pampered for a little while.

I received some fantastic birthday gifts, but I haven't had time to post pictures yet. Today I'm going to drive an hour away to visit my hair stylist. With the price of gas these days ($3.19/gal. where we live) it is painful to make the 100 mile round trip, but my precious locks are worth it. I don't trust just anyone with my hair. The first couple of years we lived in Georgia I would wait to get my hair done until we made trips back home to Florida, but finally after 2 1/2 years I've found a Georgia girl who does my hair just the way I like it. ;) At least now I only have to drive 50 miles instead of 450! I'm hoping to be able to have lunch with my good friend who lives in the town where I get my hair done. There's a huge outlet mall there, too, but I'm not sure if I'll have time to spend the birthday money that's burning a whole in my pocket.

Tomorrow I'll be taking a small group of ladies from our church to a ladies' conference at a church near Atlanta. Breakfast and lunch will be catered, and I always look forward to gleaning from the speakers. It will be a long day, but a good one.

My sweet hubby has had to watch the kids a lot for me this week, and he'll have the whole day with them tomorrow. They'll go with him on visitation and entertain themselves while he studies. Saturday is always a busy day for my preacher-husband, and I really appreciate his willingness to take care of the kids without any complaint. He's a wonderful daddy, and I know when our kids are grown they will look back and appreciate the quality time he spent with them when they were little. They won't feel like they took a back seat to the ministry.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I leave you with the hope that spring really is on the way. My pear trees have bloomed!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Guess What?

Me and my Snow White cake--age 5.

Today I'm turning 32! I'm going to shamelessly beg for birthday wishes from all of you. If you're a regular reader here but don't usually comment, please do so today. I would really enjoy "meeting" you on my birthday. :)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Good Things


I am a bargain hunter. Shopping for a family of six requires it. I use coupons and check the grocery ads for specials. I've tried the CVS program and had a little bit of success, but I'm not one to go purchase a bunch of items that we don't need just to have ECB's to spend on more stuff we don't need. I pick and choose to find the best deals for our family.

I did find some good deals this weekend. Last week on Crystal's blog I found a link to a coupon for a 12-pack of Sharpie retractable markers that would cost $2. The teacher in me just loves a Sharpie, although one of my children who shall remain nameless colored her whole room with a black one once. Anyway, a town not too far from us has an Office M*x store, so I printed off the coupon and thought I'd give it a try. There were only two packages of the markers left on the shelf, so I snatched both of them up and ran headed to the checkout. The sales clerk said that he hadn't seen one of those coupons yet, but he thought it would just be $2 off of the regular price of $23.99 each. He was shocked when he scanned them and they rang up $2 each. I paid $4 total for the markers which retailed for a total of $47.98. It was all I could do to keep from jumping up and down. ;)

Our next stop was B*th & B*dy W*rks. I had received a $10 off coupon in the mail, and it did not require a minimum purchase. The anti-bacterial hand soaps were on sale 3/$10, so I picked up three spring scents and headed to the checkout. The coupon was deducted before the sales tax was added, so they didn't cost me a penny. ;)

My last great deal came from my mailbox. Well, actually it came from Trixie. I won her winter giveaway at Farm Home Life for a $10 gift card to Wally World a few weeks ago. I've been eyeing some flowers for the front porch, so I think that's what my prize will be used for. Thank you, Trixie, for the gift card and for all the great homemaking and frugal tips you share on your blog. :)


So, here's what I spent on these good things:
2 12-packs of Sharpie retractable markers = $4.00
3 B&BW anti-bacterial hand soaps $10.00-$10.00 coupon = FREE
$10.00 WM gift card = FREE

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Peach Nectarine Muffins


I made a batch of muffins for our new neighbors next door. I kept a few for us to enjoy. They were delicious!

Peach Nectartine Muffins

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 large ripe peach- peeled, pitted, and diced
1 very ripe nectarine- peeled, pitted, and diced
1 tbs. brown sugar

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 8 muffin cups or line with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add vegetable oil, egg, and milk; mix well. Fold in diced peach and nectarine. Fill each muffin tin to the top with the mixture. Sprinkle a dab of brown sugar on top of each muffin tin.

3. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Serve warm or cool.
 
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