Friday, May 30, 2008

TSMS~~The voice of Truth

I am convinced that summer is Satan's favorite season. The weather is steamy! And learning schedules & bible studies are replaced with laziness or the hot pursuit of fun in the sun. Sunday church has even more competition; vacations, picnics, ball games, swimming pools..... Oh yeah, Satan must love the prospect of summer.

My CBS bible study ended a month ago and though I have tried to remain in the Word, I can feel myself becoming more vulnerable to attack.

Recently I have been hearing voices in my head. Voices I have heard before but were quieted with God's promises. They say things like: "You can't, You won't, You aren't"

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and the voices said to me:
"the good is behind you, your children are growing up and the sweetness is done, no more baby innocence only teenage angst...your youth is behind you, your body is wasting away.
All that is left for you now is to grow into an old and empty shell."

Now I know these are not the voices of truth. They are lies directly from the enemy himself. But that doesn't make them any less real or painful. It used to be that I would hear these things and believe them, because I didn't know any better. I lived in mourning of the moments that were passing in front of me because I had no idea what was lying ahead of me.

Satan may not have changed his method of attack on me over the years but I have learned a new way of battling him. (I think he knows this and it is one reason he attacked in the middle of the night, hoping to catch me off guard). Instead of listening and internalizing the enemies lies I grabbed the weapon I keep next to my bed (and in my car, in my gym bag, in my book bag....). My bible. God's word. The sword of the spirit. The truth.

"For I know the plans I have for you.....plans to give you hope and a future." Jer. 29:11

" being confident of this, that he
who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

"do not fear or be dismayed....the battle is not yours but God's." 2 Chronicles 20:15b

"in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing." 2 Timothy 4:7-9

"submit yourselves then to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." James 4:7

No, Satan hasn't changed throughout history but neither has my God. He is the same today as He was yesterday and will be tomorrow. Though I must fight through some battles in this world, he has won the ultimate victory. So when the Devil whispers lies that keep me awake at night I will choose to rest in God's never-changing truth no matter what season it is!!

Visit here for more encouragement today!

The Game of LIFE (vacation edition)....

I 've said before how I loved to overfill my car with "children" when I played the game of life as a kid. I would stick the pegs out the sides, on top of each other..... just shove them in wherever they would fit.

Those were the days before seat belt laws and all the kids in the neighborhood could (and sometimes did) fit into one station wagon.

Fast forward to 2008......
SUV's have increased the capacity for passengers but somehow there seems to be less room than was in the station wagons of my youth. Between seat belts, car seats, boosters, cup holders, magazine racks and portable DVD players there is limited space for actual people. Oh, I know these things are for our safety and comfort, I just wish I had considered this problem a little more before I "overfilled" my SUV with children!

The truth is, we cannot fit our entire family into one car. I have tried all of the tricks I learned in the game of Life and they don't work. BTW~it's against the law to tie children to the luggage rack. On the few occasions we have crammed everyone into our Suburban we look like the clown car at the circus. And the trip is far from peaceful as someone is always "touching someone else" or making irritating noises (usually intentional) to disturb their sister.

So we have been forced to drive multiple vehicles. Most of the time this isn't even a concern since 2 of the kids are out of the house and my son just got his own car. However, for a week out of the summer we have tried to take all the kids somewhere on a family vacation and there is no avoiding the "car dilemma."

For the past 2 years we have flown to Ft. Myers and rented 2 cars which we drove to Sanibel Island. That is 9 round trip plane tickets and 2 car rentals (I'm pretty sure that would send me back a few spaces in the game of LIFE!).

This year we were being very frugal and decided to drive to Florida (Perdido Key). Yes, we would need to drive 2 cars but that was still a lot cheaper than flying. That is until gas prices nearly doubled! Unfortunately even driving is not going to be frugal enough this year so we are canceling changing our plans (sad sigh).

As of right now I have no idea what kind of vacation, if any, we will take this year. I am sad about missing Perdido Key (I hear it is gorgeous) but I don't think that is where we are supposed to go right now. I believe God has something planned and we need to be open and available to His plan and not try to force our own. (Now with that attitude I just might win the game of LIFE and retire to Millionaire Estates!).

What are your plans this summer?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

WFW~~Flower of Love.....

I have had daisies on the brain lately.

Last week I helped my friend Joy create a new blog layout. She said daisies remind her that God always loves her (it is never loves her, loves her not). I was able to find some great daisy accents for her new design. If you get a chance be sure to check out her site~ Ponderings~ she has a HUGE heart for the Lord and I know you will be blessed!

Then, as I was downloading photos I had taken outside my home I found some pictures of daisies growing in my garden. Remembering how Joy had described daisies as "God's love flower" I decided to use one of them for my Word-Filled Wednesday post...........

Have a wonderful Word Filled Wednesday! Don't forget to see the other WFW photographs at 160 Acre Wood.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Becoming a Betty......

Although it was fun, I forgot how humiliating Memorial weekend can be.

No more sweat pants and long sleeves, but instead it is time to debut the shorts, sleeveless shirts, and worst of all bathing suits.....Something has got to be done about these extra pounds I am carrying around. I'd call it baby fat but the baby will be 6 yrs. old in July!

Since most of my life was spent looking more like Olive (no figure at all).....

I ask myself: why, oh why have I let things get like this? sniff, sniff (or should I say snort, snort?)

That does it! Tomorrow As of right now I am turning over a new leaf.

No more Miss Piggy for me.
By the end of the month I will be lookin a lot more like Betty Boop.......
OK OK, I would even settle for a more realistic Betty......

Either way, it is time to put my money where my mouth is (buying healthier food)!
And my mouth where my money is (the gym we pay for every month)!

Note: As I gave my girls a kiss goodnight Cece said, "You smell really good Mom; kind of like Pork." (we grilled chops for dinner).

I rest my case.....

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Charming Afternoon......

I spent yesterday at an antique show with a girlfriend. It is a nationally renowned show called "Antiques on the Commons" and has been featured in Country Living magazine.

All of that to say that I am not a collector or antique expert of any kind. But my grandparents collected "early American" antiques and rummaging through these wonderful old items brings back memories of my childhood. My favorite times as a kid were times spent at my Nana and Bimpy's house!

Here are some pictures of my afternoon:

There were even musicians strolling the grounds (this woman had bells on her ankles).

After spending a couple of hours at the show we ate lunch at a little diner and checked out some of the shops in town. That is where I found my "treasure".......
It is an old flower box that I think will look fabulous painted and filled with flowers! In the fall it can hold mums and large gourds and I am sure I can use it at Christmas with greenery and packages.

I love it, and best of all it was only $30.00!! That is a steal after the high prices I had seen all day! I will be sure to do a "before" and "after" post when I get around to painting and filling it!

Overall it was a charming way to spend an afternoon!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Homecoming and TSMS

Do ya know how time flies by and suddenly you realize it has been 2 months since you've seen your daughter?

Her school is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from us but between the other kids' weekend activities and her work schedule we haven't managed to see each other since Easter. What a wonderful surprise to see her walk in the door Thursday night!

And check out the little friend she brought with her:Unfortunately she is working this summer so she can only stay until tomorrow afternoon but we will take what we can get! Needless to say it is busy at our house this weekend!

Now for my TSMS post~~

There are times when life just doesn't make sense and all we can do is pray for the arms of Jesus to hold us and get us through.

I am praying this especially for the Chapman family right now as they face the nightmare that has come upon them.

Hold them and hold us Jesus, because this life is hard and we can't do it alone...

I encourage you to visit Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders to hear more encouragement for the Soul today!

Enjoy this holiday weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I've Sprung a Leak

I was just minding my own business yesterday, checking off the events on my May calendar by attending my daughter's 5th grade graduation. When suddenly & unexpectedly I sprung a leak.

I know what you are thinking, "after birthing 7 babies she probably leaks all the time!" But it wasn't that kind of leak. I have leaked from all kinds of places in my time but this one came out of my eyes......

The day started pleasant enough. We had a lovely catered breakfast in the cafeteria and I snapped some pictures of my girl with a few of her friends........

Her silly sister......
And her teacher.....

We then moved on to the gym where the teachers sat on the stage and the kids were on risers surrounding them.

Since I had made it through Quin's preschool graduation with dry eyes I figured there was nothing to worry about here. No waterproof mascara for me, I was going tissue free!

SIDE NOTE: The Assistant Principal of the middle school came over to shake our hands. Our family holds a special place in this man's heart thanks to the two teenagers. While he said "it's great another one of your kids is entering middle school" I saw the fear in his eyes....

As the kids sang songs from each of the years they were in elementary school my mind drifted back to first grade......

It was 2002. My daughter's first year at the school.
We car-pooled with a neighbor and one day, about 3 weeks into the school year, Cece decided she wasn't going to get in the car. She sat herself down on the porch and refused to budge. After pleading with her, bribing her and threatening her I finally had to have a neighbor watch my babies while I drove her to school myself.

Everything in me wanted to keep her home but I also knew that would set a dangerous precedent. Even walking her in to the building was not a habit I wanted to start but she wasn't going to go in alone. As I tried to leave her outside her classroom she threw her body to the ground and cried. This is a great way to get to personally meet every teacher, aide, office worker and the principal himself!

Eventually we got her to the principals office, I was able to leave and she went on to class. Every day that year I prayed she would go to school. I have had kids cry about going but none actually had the guts to refuse to go.

By the end of first grade she was much better and of course now it is just a memory.....

As I watched her sing a song from that school year I felt a tear fall. One tear led to another and before I knew it I was leaking all over the place! Fortunately a mom next to me was better prepared and gave me a tissue. I guess I'm not the cold fish I thought I was (LOL).

Congratulations Cece, and thanks for the memories!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

American Idolized!

Dreams really do come true (even in Kansas City)!

This town is Cookin'......

WFW~~Psalm 20:7

I have a neighbor who decorates her garden with treasures found at yard sales. She has everything from old water cans to bocce balls to this old bicycle.....

It makes for a bright, fun and whimsical garden! For more WFW posts visit Amydeanne here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Livin' the Love Boat

A few years ago my husband and I attended a Gary Smalley marriage conference. One of the first things we did at the conference was to take a "personality profile" test. The information we gleaned from this test was nothing short of life changing! I understand my husband and myself in a whole new way!

Gary Smalley compares the four basic personalities to positions on a cruise ship:

The Captain---likes to give orders and expects others to follow, in charge, can be gruff and no-nonsense....

The Social Director---loves to have a good time, all about the party and making things fun for everyone, wants to be the center of attention, can be a bit flaky.......

The Steward---caring, compassionate, doesn't like to call attention to themselves, a peacemaker, is a good listener....
(did anyone else have a major crush on Gopher?)

The Navigator---A bit "anal", likes to have their "ducks in a row", intelligent, a planner.....
(I am quite certain there was no navigator on the Love Boat)....

Of course most people are a "blend" of two or more personalities but usually one is most prominent. Here is what I discovered:

I am a Social Director/Steward married to a Captain/Social Director.

So what exactly does that mean?
--It means that just like the Love Boat we are sailing this sea of life with no Navigator! We tend to concentrate on the voyage not the destination.
--It means we have a great time but have no idea where we are going or how to get there. (This might explain how we ended up with 7 kids!).

Unfortunately things like retirement plans and savings accounts are on the Navigator's map and as far as we know it it has been thrown overboard in a corked bottle. So if you happen to find it washed up on shore somewhere be sure to let me know, I'll be the one handing out party invitations and my husband is the guy handing out orders.............

Anyway, last week my husband "the captain" decided to call a "family meeting". His goal was to get all of the kids (and us) on the same page and discuss our summer vacation plans. He put out orders that the meeting would begin at 6:00pm and that all of the kids should be there. Here is our family meeting in a nutshell:

---Dad made oldest daughter mad and she never showed up.
---College daughter had finals at school and couldn't come home.
---Two youngest daughters made plans to sleepover with friends.
---Quin was in the middle of winning a Star Wars video game and couldn't be bothered.

That left us with the two teenagers!

Note to self: NEVER, EVER attempt a family meeting with teenagers without a navigator's map written agenda. They WILL take over and lead you on so many rabbit trails you come back mentally exhausted!

By the end of the night very few people in our family were speaking to each other and our vacation plans are still "up in the air." Of course it is Tuesday now and all fences have been mended (at least temporarily).

Ahhh, this kind of drama is exactly what kept the Love Boat sailing for over 10 years! I can't wait to see what's on next week's episode.......

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tribute to Kansas City and David Cook

You know Kansas City is not known for a whole lot of exciting things (except of course being the home of the very exciting David Cook) but I was reminded this weekend that we are blessed with some incredible Bar-be-Que!

After attending 3 graduation parties where there was some form of this delicacy served I am grateful to call Kansas City my hometown! So, in honor of Kansas City bar-be-que, I am going to share with you a recipe today for some of the best beans you have ever tasted.

Arguably one of the best bar-be-que joints in town is Jack's Stack BBQ and I believe it is these beans that have made them famous. So without further adieu, here is the recipe for Jack's Stack BBQ beans...........

1 32 oz. can pork & beans (I use Van de Camps)
1 cup chopped brisket
1 cup BBQ sauce (Jack's Stack Original)
4 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a 4 quart saucepan over Med. heat. Bring beans to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook beans for 20 minutes or until a thick, soupy consistency is reached.

And that is all there is to it. My cookin' tribute to Kansas City and David Cook (go David Cook!).

I will close today with a picture of my very smart niece who received her diploma yesterday (and of course you all know my mom by now)......

Congratulations Lindsay! And though you didn't have beans at the party, the chocolate fountain more than made up for it....LOL

Saturday, May 17, 2008

TSMS~~At The Foot of the Cross

I couldn't handle the dark header and backgrounds so I decided to "lighten up" a bit. I hope these changes don't distract you and keep you from coming back to visit.

I look at it as therapy. I can have multiple blog looks instead of multiple personalities. HA!HA! Actually I do have a few multiple personalities but that will have to wait for another post.

So as I was thinking about the song I wanted to share today I was hit with the idea that there was a lesson for me in all of this "blog changing".....

Just like I was able to change what I didn't like about my blog look and layout, we are able to trade our sins and imperfection for the beauty and grace found at the foot of the cross! Trading our ashes for beauty.....

Be sure to check out more TSMS posts at Signs, Miracles and Wonders!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wrestle Mania

Yesterday as I was wrestling with Quin things got a little out of control.....
He was laughing with his mouth wide open so naturally I stuffed a Webkin in it.
When I pulled it out his front tooth came with it........

Here are before and after the "accident" photos:

Is it a coincidence he lost this tooth on his last day of preschool?

You know that once they lose those two front teeth they never look the same again. It is truly the end of the "baby look".

Dog-gone Webkin....