Monday, December 29, 2008

Here is the beautiful new washer

Here is the amazing washer. We literally did sit in front of it with a flashlight to watch the clothes spin. It uses such a small amount of water that my husband stopped the load to see if they were even wet. I am hoping that we are saving money by saving water? Here are the buttons on the top that I need to use my college degree for.

It really isn't that bad, just different. I have done several loads and it is great! Maybe it is better than a tv after all. We are going to put 1 dollar per load into savings and get the matching dryer when we have saved enough. After this weekend, we are up to $10. Yippee!

The only person in the family that doesn't like it is the cat. She won't step foot into the washroom. Not a good thing since her litter box is in there. I am hoping that she gets over it. Not sure why she doesn't like it besides being able to see inside of it. I only do wash once a week, so hopefully over the next couple of days she will acclimate. So, for now she is using the litter box in the garage...

Blessings and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

I don't want a new washing machine...

Okay, I apologize for the whiny voice that you hear in your head right now. It isn't that I am not going to be grateful and even thrilled with a new front loading washing machine with all the bells and whistles. I will need to take lessons on what all the settings mean and my clothes will not fade in color (or so the manual says).

Here is the thing - we were saving for a new 42 inch digital tv for Christmas (my husband and kids were rooting for the 46 inch). My husband and I agreed to not spend money on each other and get a new tv for each other for Christmas. I was so looking forward to watching my favorite movies on the widescreen...Alas, the 11 year old, used when we got it, washing machine literally ceased up. Luckily it was on the last load of the day and the neighbors graciouslly allowed us to use theirs.

Oh, we had an indication that it might die when it started to squel like a pig during the spin cycle a couple of weeks ago. But, it was still working and the the noise went away. How bad could it be? Why replace something that is still working? Okay, it could go at any minute, but why rush things? I was all ready to be irresponsible and go buy that tv that I have been drooling over at Wal-Mart. After all, the washing machine was still working...

God knows my thoughts (like the washing machine broke because of God? Weirder things have happened). So, it wasn't until the darn thing stopped moving - no movement anywhere - the agitator stopped spinning, the water would not drain and I was stuck with a washer full of wet towels!

It was at that moment that I knew, I was getting a washing machine for Christmas instead of a new tv. I am not thrilled, really, not at all.

So, if anyone wants to bring their laundry over, we are going to sit in front of the new washing machine, with a red bow one it, and watch our laundry go around. Don't forget the popcorn!

Blessings

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Today is me and my hubby's 14th anniversary! In my heart and in the spirit we have been married and committed to each other longer than that. This day always reminds me of our humble and sinful beginning - yet, I am grateful for the journey. Let me share...

About sixteen years ago, I had to have the conversation with my boyfriend that no girl wants to have, "I am pregnant." We were without excuse, nobody's fault but ours. I flat out refused to have a second abortion, but also refused to be a single mom. We choose to select adoptive parents together and actually had a couple picked out to give this child to.

Life took a turn the moment Roger looked upon his tiny little daughter. He was enchanted by her - she was real for the first time. We had talked about names and what name I would give a girl. I would name her after my grandmother who loved me and Christ even more at the end of her life. He remembered and had the nurses put that on her birth certificate. So, she was Charity Elise from the beginning.

I signed the papers for foster parents to come and take her for the next 6 weeks - the waiting period for newborn adoptions. I left the hospital with Roger, but without our little girl. It was odd. I remember being exhausted both physically and emotionally. I just wanted to cry!

Roger wanted to "go for a walk". He had never done this before and I was curious. We walked. He said something that I will not forget, "What will happen if we decide to get married and don't have our daughter with us?". I stopped and looked at him. I wasn't quite sure what he was saying. He explained that God opened his eyes when Charity was born and he couldn't imagine his life without both of us in it. (Sometimes he might question it with a teenager in the house:) I kindly reminded him that he would be marrying me and be stuck with me long after this child leaves the house. Did he love me enough without the child?

I was difficult and wanted it all. I wanted a husband that loved me. I wanted a real wedding. I wanted to be engaged. He convinced me and that was the moment that I knew we were in this for "as long as we both shall live".

We called the adoption agency and said that we changed our mind. We had nothing. No diapers, bottles, clothes or bedding. Yet, the Lord in His wisdom brought us together to make a family. We were married when Charity was 16 months old on Dec. 17th 1994.

I am just so blessed today to have so much because of God's faithfulness.

Blessing today

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Meme

This was sent to me by a good friend and I thought I would share my answers with you.


1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I am not really into wrapping. I have been known to give gifts that were still in the store bag that it came in. Not so much for Christmas, but birthdays. Christmas - I find boxes and use paper.

2. Real tree or Artificial? We usually have a real tree - at least until the kids leave. We love the smell. This year we found one with pine cones on it. We will probably find an artificial tree when we get older - won't be able to carry it up the steps.

3. When do you put up the tree? Traditionally the Friday after Thanksgiving. Last year we waited a week because Thanksgiving was so early and the tree would have been really dead before Christmas.

4. When do you take the tree down? After the New Year, before school starts in January.

5. Do you like Egg Nog? Yes, but I am the only one in my house that does, so I only buy it once.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I vividly remember getting a gift certificate to get my ears pierced. I loved that gift. I can't do just one. I also loved the Pizzelle maker that my husband got me our first Christmas together.

7. Hardest person to buy for? Husband. He usually buys what he needs - I have to find something intangible (gift certificates, etc).

8. Easiest person to buy for? My son, Eli. Anything that moves fast, cars, trains, video games. He is always so grateful!

9. Do you have a nativity scene? I think that we have 3. We only set one up. Our house has limited space so we pick a different one every year. (plus the outside lawn ornament type)

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Neither. We send out Easter letters and photos. We have more time to get them sent out during that time of year.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Getting no gifts at all

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? It's a Wonderful Life

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Depends, usually October sometime

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, I must admit that I have re-gifted.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Fudge and pizzelles (italian Christmas cookie)

16. Lights on the tree? yes

17. Favorite Christmas songs: Breathe of Heaven by Amy Grant

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? home

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Yes, what kind of mom would I be if I couldn't (just kidding to those mom's that can't :)

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? This year an angel

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Eve for Grandma, Morning for the immediate family

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Traffic and craziness of stores like Wal-mart/Target that I do my weekly shopping at.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Don't have one

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?We have BBQ ribs. Yum

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Quiet time with my family


If you feel like doing your own, let me know and I will come and visit you!

Blessings

Friday, December 05, 2008

Fave Friday #16



I can only join in once in awhile, when life slows down a little. Who would have guessed that my life slows down around Christmas? Well, it is the break between the swim season and the synchro season. And the boy is too young to be in any skiing sport (yet). It is always so fun to see how blessed we all are. Thanks for hosting Susanne!

1) Swim Banquet: It is a time to celebrate all the good things that the girls accomplished. It is often boring for the parents (at least it is for me) but Charity has done so well. I can't help but be proud of her Varsity Letter and Distinguished Academic Award (3.6 GPA or higher).

2) Reading: I enjoy winter for the excuse it gives me to read. The sun goes down early and all I want to do is curl up by the fire with a good book. See this post for my most recent favorite read.

3) Day with the Hubby: A week or so ago my husband and I took the day off together and went Christmas shopping together. It was nice to browse and spend money together. We also got to go out for lunch and talk without the kids interrupting or fighting. What an amazing thing!

4) Christmas progams on tv: This might seem like a strange favorite, but I just love this time of year when healthy, family time specials are on tv. The classics like Charlie Brown, the Grinch and Rudolph.

5) Ship to Store: Many stores now have this now. You can save shipping costs, but also get what you want when you get to the store. Shipping is free, you can just pick it up at the store. I did this with Wal-mart (and since I go there anyway) and saved myself money and getting what I needed for gifts.

That is all that I have for now.

Blessings

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Book Review - Riven by Jerry Jenkins

I just devoured this book. I read a review on it in Today's Christian Women magazine and then actually found it on the shelf in the library last week. I liked the Left Behind series that he wrote with Tim LaHaye and wanted to give it a go.

The author's note indicated that this is a book that he has had in his mind and heart for decades and has finally put in on paper. For me, the book did not disappoint. Jenkins does a beautiful job of creating the two main characters, Brady Darby (juvenile delinquent) and Thomas Carey (pastor/Chaplain). By the time they meet in the book you are wanting both of them to see the power of God.

I did not want to put the book down and was captivated by the complexity of the human heart. Jenkins captured the struggles of the characters and allowed us to experience it with them. If you have ever wondered about forgiveness and the Grace of God, this book strikes a chord as to the power of that. Does God's Word have power? This "story/parable" doesn't allow you to sit without thinking about what God can and is willing to do for us.

I highly recommend this book if you get a chance. It is now one of the top ten books on my list.

Blessings

Monday, December 01, 2008

Oh, to be a Cat


Princess hopped in the dryer when it was still warm.
Was she telling me something?


This is her relaxing after I got the hint and
started the wood stove to warm up the place.
Oh, to have the life of a fat cat.

Blessings today

Monday, November 24, 2008

Doing Better

I am doing better. In a nutshell, my daughter does not like us to come to her away swim meets. She qualified for sections and we wanted to go. So, against her wishes we went and cheered her on. She was very angry, but did get over it sooner than I did.

I would have done anything for my mom to plan ahead and make time for me - come to my music concerts, plays, etc. I never knew if she would show up and if she did it was after a stop at the bar. The whole think with Charity just put me in a slump that I had to sort through. I just couldn't put this on her, but needed to understand why I felt the way I did. Thank you so much for any amount of prayer. The Lord is faithful and slowly heals my broken childhood.

I want to enjoy this part of my daughters life - it will go by so quickly. I don't want to be over controlling, but involved. I think that it is important that I know who she is friends with and hangs out with.

That is all for now.

Blessings

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bad day today

I don't really want to share too much here, but I am struggling with some emotional issues. My relationship with my daughter has triggered some long lost feeling that I thought I was over. If you think about it, say a quick prayer that I will know what is from God and what I need to get rid of. Thanks.

Cyndee

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

MeMe

Here is a Meme that I just did via email. Thought it was fun.

Welcome to the new 2008 edition of getting to know your family and friends.


1. What is your occupation right now? Chemistry Teacher

2. What color are your socks right now? white

3. What are you listening to right now? quiet classroom with murmurs of students in other classes

4. What was the last thing that you ate? banana bread for breakfast

5. Can you drive a stick shift? yes

6. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Roger

7. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Yes, Very Much

8. How old are you today? 39

9. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV? NASCAR

10. What is your favorite drink? non-alcoholic, pepsi, with alcohol, Bailey's on ice

11. Have you ever dyed your hair? yes

12. Favorite food? Mexican - bean burritos smothered in green chili sauce

13. What is the last movie you watched? High School Musical 3 (yes, I have a teenage girl in the house)

14. Favorite day of the year? Today

15. How do you vent anger? blog or yell

16. What was your favorite toy as a child? playing with a tea set

17. What is your favorite season? Spring

18. Cherries or Blueberries? cherries

19. Do you want your friends to e-mail you back? Absolutely!

20. Who is the most likely to respond? Don't know

21. Who is least likely to respond? most

22. Living arrangements? in a house

23. When was the last time you cried? a couple months ago

24. What is on the floor of your closet? shoes, dirty clothes basket, stool to reach shelf, gym bags

25. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending to? Monica and Tatiana

26. What did you do last night? Attended a swimming booster club meeting

27. What are you most afraid of?being abandoned

28. Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers? cheese

29. Favorite dog breed? not really fond of dogs

30. Favorite day of the week? Sunday

31. How many states have you lived in? 2

32. Diamonds or pearls? diamonds

33. What is your favorite flower? lilacs



Blessings!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I t is official

Barack Obama will be our next President for 4 years, with a democrat congress to back him up.

What will happen? Some people are hoping for amazing change - peace, freedom, prosperity - and Obama will be able to do it all?

My heart was saddened by the results. What is God trying to teach us? Is God letting us choose our own way? Has our country so turned from the truths of God to let us be led by such a man? Only God knows Obama'a heart and I may be spending eternity in heaven with him, but his actions and philosophies truly scare me. What is going to happen to the millions of women allowed and encouraged to get abortions? What will happen to our military personal so dedicated to the freedoms of our country?

Yet, I must trust that God allowed this and is control. He has seen the result of this election and knows the end of the story. Will the churches (us) step up and fill in the gaps and offer true hope beyond today? Is this the beginning of a revival for our country? Ultimately God will use whatever means possible to bring us back to Him.

Lord, help me to respect the authority of the new leadership and ultimately to bow down only to you. Help me to see your purpose in all this and to teach my children appropriately.

Blessings

Friday, October 24, 2008

Rejoice

This is one of the verses in bible readings that our church is doing. I have actually been keeping up - no matter how tired I am, or how much I want to read the novel next to my bed.

There are a lot of great verses in Phil 4, but yesterday this one struck a cord. A couple of things that I thought about.

1) Rejoice always. Not sometimes. Not when I feel like it. ALWAYS!

2) I am not rejoicing over my circumstances. I am to rejoice IN the LORD. Not about myself! (amazing insight, huh?). I am rejoicing because he has saved me from an eternity separated from Him. I am rejoicing for all that He is. I am rejoicing because I am known by the great I AM. I am rejoicing because nothing can separate me from His love.

After the long month that I have had, this verse has made a difference to me today. I hope it blesses you too.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Fave Friday #10



I have not done all 10 of these, but I pop in when I can. I so enjoy this, so here is goes.

1) Getting a couple days off for Teacher meetings. I am a loser and don't attend. My husband goes hunting for deer in N. Dakota and I shipped the boy off to Grandma's. So it has just been me and the girl. I haven't done much, which is the point sometimes.

2) Finishing a couple of books and updating my book review blog. Check it out here if you are looking for something new to read. I don't always have the best luck with books. I mostly just grab books from the library. Sometimes I reserve a particular book, but most of the time it is all chance.

3) Being able to actually watch Charity swim her 100 M Butterfly. I work the scoring table and usually miss it. I have a trainee for the position and left him alone to watch her swim. She is just amazing in the water. Maybe not Olympic quality for the rest of the world, but most definitely for me!

4) Still being on track for my Bible reading and enjoying it. I know this is a habit that I need to get back into.

5) Hearing my son tell me about his adventures with his grandparents. He went fishing yesterday and had a grand time. I am hoping that I am instilling in him a connection with them. I wish that I had more time with mine as a kid.

I think that is all I have for now! Blessings.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

40 days of growth

My last post was pretty raw and honest for me. What is strange is that I found an old journal entry from about this time of year from 3 years ago. It said about the same thing. I am praying and working on trying to figure out what triggers these feelings this time of year. Roger and I did meet together over pie (most things can be solved over dessert!). Our jobs/careers seem to have become our life - and working in education can be challenging - a blessing many times, but it does suck the life out of us. We have very little left for each other and the kids. We agree that our marriage is the most important relationship besides the one with Christ. We are going to try to have more alone time together and I need to share what is on my mind instead of bottling it all up. I am the type of person that needs goals and I feel lost without one. We are going to work on finding a common goal to work toward. Currently it is getting the children raised and out of the house. This is our season in life and I need to be okay with that.

So, this is the perfect time for what our church is doing at the moment - 40 days of spiritual growth. We are a large church (regular attendance of about 10,000 between our three campus') with a lot of new believers It is so exciting to see lives changed for eternity! That is our purpose as a christian church as a whole - planet wide - to share the good news of salvation. I once heard a christian comedian say that he had friends not want to say yes to Christ to just stay out of Hell. Well, isn't that the whole purpose of Christ coming to earth anyway? That is not a wrong motive to say yes to God's gift. I think that God will use whatever it takes to reach His children that He dearly loves.

I am off track already! The whole idea behind this 40 days of spiritual growth is to teach new believers (and remind those of us that have been believers for awhile) of the disciplines that will bring us into a closer relationship with God. We are encouraged to join in a bible reading plan which started Monday and I am still on track. Yea for me! The above link is for the blog where different pastors from the church share what they learned from the readings. This is a great series and if you don't live close by to attend, listen or watch online at www.eaglebrookchurch.com. I am re-learning and trying to apply to my current "crisis" as my husband calls them. I know that bible reading can't hurt.

I must go, but wanted to update the few and faithful readers. Thank you so much for the prayers!

Blessings

Monday, October 06, 2008

Not too happy

I think that I have a happy marriage. Our household runs like a well oiled machine most days. We get up at the same time every morning, eat breakfast, pack lunches, go to work, come home, make dinner, maybe watch some tv or go to the Y and start all over the next day. On occasion we have a swim meet to attend or conferences. Otherwise, our life speaks of routine and stability. Two cars, two kids, a cat and a mortgage - the American Dream!

I truly should be happy with this. My life growing up was challenging. I did have a strange routine as a teenager. Come home to an empty house after my part time job. Mom was still at the bar. Brother was out getting high with friends. I came home and started my homework or headed over to make out with my sometimes boyfriend. Life had little predictability.

I don't know what is going on, but my life feels empty and dull. I want an amazing marriage. But instead, I feel like I have a great roommate. He is amazingly helpful and works hard to keep life orderly. The yard looks great, he fixes things that are broken and even takes care of the floors. But lately, I feel lonely and unknown. He doesn't even know as much about me as many of you do - or at least that is how it feels today.

We have never prayed together because it makes him feel weird. I am always the one praying at dinner or before bedtime for the kids. We have never done a bible study together - it is a private thing. I keep looking to him for some directions in this area - but he seems timid. We both serve at church, but not together. It seems like everything we do is separate or alone. And that is how I am feeling. And then I get comments from him about our not so good sexlife. It is so hard to want to be close physically when emotionally I feel like there is a chasm.

How can we see each other every day and not really know each other? There have been days when we say little more than hello and goodbye. Our lives look so good on the outside, but I am hurting on the inside. We really need some time without the kids to talk. I am just afraid that we will talk and nothing will change - it never does. He really doesn't seem to think there is a problem. But I don't know what he is feeling, because he doesn't share with me.

Please pray. It may take some professional help to work through this. I want to feel cherished and loved by my husband. Right now, I am just feeling like a housemate. I truly want this to change. I don't want to be stuck here forever! Thanks for praying.

Blessings

Monday, September 29, 2008

Gambling for kids

Well, we took Eli and 3 of his friends to Chuck E. Cheese for his birthday on Sunday. It is sort of a pizza place, but mostly an arcade for little kids. I had some coupons for pizza and tokens. Amazingly enough, the boys did eat and not just play games. We spent a couple of hours there and finally decided that places like this are like gambling for kids.

Why? Here is my reasoning...

1) Definite overstimulation - sounds, lights, movement - very similiar to a casino.

2) The kids can keep playing with tokens and "win" tickets for great prizes (bouncy balls and plastic toys that break before you get home). It is this hope of winning the keeps them coming back to the table begging for more tokens!

3) My daughter just had to conquer this game called the flaming finger - she admitted that it was addicting as she just kept adding tokens until she won. And then she wanted to win again after she had felt that euphoric feeling.

Anyway, it doesn't matter. The kids had fun and were occupied for a couple of hours - and not dirtying my house.

So, Happy Birthday ELI!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Funny News Article-To Have and to Haul

This was in our paper and we read it during lunch. It is a tradition in WI where the men carry their wives through this obstacle course to win prizes. Most of the prizes are award based on the wives weight. For instance you can win your wives weight in beer or bratwurst. I wonder if my husband would be willing to try this. Maybe if I lose those 10 pounds I have be trying to for so long...

Blessings

Ramblings

I don't have much time, but feel like I have much to share. Life is good and busy, which I actually like within reason. It keeps me from worrying and making bad choices that lead me down not so good paths. So here is a list of things that have been occupying my time.

1) Work:) I know, imagine that! We have a new schedule this year and I am spending a lot more time planning than I have had to do in the past. I am also trying to be a better communicator with the parents, which takes time. I also had to make up some time for inservice. Kind of silly, but at least it is done.

2) Swimming:) and the daughter. I have maybe bitten off more than I can chew here. I help run the scoring table and I am the treasurer for the booster club. Too much data coming in to this older brain. She is doing well this year - adjusting to high school homework and 3 hours of practice every night.

3) Teaching the daughter to drive. She usually drives us to school in the morning unless we are running late. I am almost to the point where I can take my eyes off the road.

4) The sons birthday is this weekend. He will be nine. He is having a party at Chuck E. Cheese's. I don't have to plan a ton, but had to get the invitations out to his friends. Where does the time go? Top items on his list is an electric scooter and nerf lazer tag guns. He is a boy through and through.

5) I have also been sucked into a few tv shows and the premieres started this week. We watch "Big Bang Theory"(Monday), "Biggest Loser"(Tuesday), "New Knight Rider"(Wednesday) and "Chuck" will reappear next Monday. I will need to record "Big Bang" and watch later.

6) My husband has dragged me away from the tv a couple of nights for my 25 minutes of torture better known at the eliptical at the YMCA.

Thanks for reading - I want to go read some blogs myself.

Blessings

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Shopping Trip

As I was waiting in line at Wal-Mart, I was wondering what the cashiers (or anyone really) would be able to find out about me from the items I purchased. I think that it would be fascinating.

So, here is the list of items I purchased and then I will imagine what someone would be able to tell about me. See if you could figure anything out.

2 boxes of Cookie Crisp Cereal
IAMS bag of weight control cat food
Bottle of strawberry flavored water - Sam's Club brand
Sam's Club trail mix
12 rolls of double roll toliet paper
2 bottles of Purex laundry detergent
2 bottles of Sam's Club Bleach
Fish food
Half and Half
2 packages of Maxi pads
Cloth adhesive tape - for bandages/cuts
Band-aids - off brand
RV winterizing antifreeze
2 packages of flushable wipes
2 boxes of 100 ziploc sandwich bags
1 box of 50 quart size ziploc bags
Heavy duty self-adhesive velcro strips
cordless telephone
1 bottle of fabric softener

I would say that I definitely have children. Many things give that away- cookie crisp cereal, band-aids (which seem to be on my monthly list), and the flushable wipes.

Second, I have pets. Specifically fish and cats. That one was pretty simple to figure out.

I don't live alone. I am buying way too much toliet paper to be living by myself.

I may have just done laundry or need to do laundry with the amount of detergent I bought. (I actually need to do it and ran our of soap)

Someone likes to drink coffee. In a bunch of groceries half and half may not be a sign, but it seems to be a random food item that needed purchasing (yes, it is true, but it is for my husband).

Own a camper, again, the winterizing fluid is a dead giveaway.

Kids possibly take lunches to school - thus the sudden need for so many sandwich bags. (Actually it is for me and the husband - we take lunch and they eat at school usually)

That is all I have, just was an interesting thought!

Is there anything that you can find out about me from these purchases? Just chime in..

Blessings

Friday, September 05, 2008

Friday Fave Five

Wow! Has it really been almost a month since I last entered a post? Life has been full, full, full. I am going to include some of my faves since the last time just to catch some of you up on what is going on here at Riezzee's Place. Join us at Living to Tell the Story and see what others are enjoying this week.

1) Charity passed her driver's ed class with 120%. I would say that she is an overachiever. Like her mother? Maybe. She then took the big permit test and only missed one. She is now able to drive with us - her lucky parents. We started in the parking lot and have moved to city/country streets around our house. I am fairly confident in her ability, but I still push down on that imaginary brake pedal in the car. Tell me this will get easier?

2) Successful start to school for mom, dad and kids. Charity is now at the high school with me, in fact I have her as a student in class. So far so good. Eli has his first male teacher and has had a good time. Roger has a full load of unmedicated ADHD kids. He will be going through lots of coffee this year to keep up.

3) Got a couple scrapbooks caught up. This is so therapeutic for me. Charity now has two books completed. Working on getting pictures ready for this summer's activities.

4) Joined the neighbors on Labor Day for Garbage Can Turkey. Sounds weird but tastes delicious! They basically dig a pit and covered a turkey with a metal garbage can. Put coals around and on the trash can. Cook for 2 hours. It is like an outdoor oven, perfect for the 90 degree weather we had. Perfect end of summer feast.

5) Enjoyed a great day at the Minnesota State Fair. We ate our way through the fair like we always do. They moved some of our favorite food items, so we just tried some new ones to replace them. It is an all day affair looking at animals, art and hearing music. What total fun!

I think that is all from here. Thanks Suzanne for hosting.

Cyndee

Sunday, August 17, 2008

More Bathroom humor...

Just got back from shopping at the mall. After my interesting finds at a gas station bathroom in Chicago, I just had to take notice of what was available in this bathroom.

So, in addition to the regular, tampons and feminine napkins ($1) you could purchase tic-tacs ($1) and a variety pack of fruit hard candy ($1).

Well, I guess that the clientele in the mall is a little different than the Holiday station in Wisconsin. . . I suppose that is a blessing !

Thanks for reading.

Summer over?

Well, it truly must be close to the end - the shopping frenzy has started! Why is it that this always occurs before I go back to work? I don't get paid for another two weeks, but then school will have started. I always get a few things and then Charity saves her money to buy the stuff she really wants!

I am actually really proud of her shopping smarts. She has a limit of what she will buy and how much it should be - so out are the $50+ jeans. She works too hard for her money. Maybe I did something right here.

The boy did not even want to go shopping, but I made him come with me to get jeans. He just feels that it is a waste of time when he can be using these last hours of summer to play! To him shopping is just torture - trained up like any good male.

I return to teacher in-service days on Wed (big sigh). I always have mixed feelings about this - like I never really did everything I wanted to do. But, I must have done what God wanted me to do and that is the most important.

We still have a couple of "big" adventures ahead. We are going to the local amusement park on Tuesday with Roger's sister. That should be interesting. Let me just say that his sister is high maintenance and I am not. Roger said that we will just go and enjoy ourselves and not to worry about his sister. Amen to that!

The last hurrah every year is going to the State Fair. This is a big deal here - one of the best in the country it is told. Growing up in CO, we didn't ever go to the state fair. Maybe it is a midwest thing. Regardless, we go and eat our way through the fair and see pigs, cows and rabbits. What more fun could one have?

I guess that is all for now. Hope your back-to-school shopping is on track.

Blessings

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fave Five for Friday

Suzanne at Living to Tell the Story started this and I thought I would play along since I have the time today. She asked us to list our 5 favorite things that happened this week. This might be a good way for me to be a little more thankful!

1. Watching the Olympics. I am dead tired from staying up too late and then getting up early to take the girl to swim practice. It just amazes me the dedication it takes to be that good in a sport. You almost have to live, eat and breathe your sport. It is also a fun family thing - we watch and cheer together.

2. A chance to go shopping by myself. I am not much of a shopper, but it was a chance to get away and look at my leisure. No real bargains, but good time alone.

3. Fresh string beans from the garden. My beans are growing and producing much fruit. I love the taste of fresh from the garden string beans.

4. Reading. I am going to miss my time to read. I have been able to just sit and read this summer. Once school starts I am crazy busy and don't have the time to read.

5. Laughter. We find odd things funny in our house. We were watching an old episode of Little House on the Prairie - one when the preacher falls in love with the widow and they get married. Mrs. Oleson meddles and calls the widow a "brazen hussy". We decided that that was the 1800's word for "Ho". So now we use "brazen hussy" instead. Such a great us of the English language!

I hope you stop by at Suzanne's and join us for the fun.

Blessings

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Driver's Ed Impact Panel

My lovely daughter was required to go to this impact panel last Saturday for driver's ed. I drew the short straw and went with her (she got extra credit for dragging a parent with her - is that all I am now, extra credit?). It was a panel of people that had been affected by poor driving decisions.

Okay, maybe I have just heard and seen too many of these as a high school teacher, but I just don't know that sitting in a huge auditorium with 100 other families is going to have a big impact on new drivers. I have a feeling that it is therapeutic for the people speaking to share and feel that what they say makes a difference. I just don’t know if it truly does change driver behavior.

My heart ached for them as they shared the stories of loved ones lost in car accidents. A couple were alcohol relates, a couple were not. They wanted to stress that driving was a privilege and a responsibility and not just fun and games.

I get it. What frustrated me the most was that these people sharing had no hope. They explained how they were taking anti-depressants and how their lives were never going to be the same. None of them expressed a hope in eternity. Where is God in all this? Life is such a precious gift and can change in an instant. Where was the “closure” for these people without the hope of Christ?

I must confess that my heart was hard and I just didn't know how to get over it - still don't. How do I share the Hope of Christ with people that feel so abandoned by Him?

I had mentioned to Charity - since she is critiquing my driving - that you can't control other driver's. You can do your best to stay out of their way and drive defensively, but your life is ultimately in God's hands. I told her that she should be prepared to die. I would be heart broken and miserable if she was killed driving, but I would have hope that she was in heaven. I would know for sure that she was in heaven! We would meet again at the banquet table set out be Jesus himself.

I just pray for those that have lost loved ones - sons, daughters, moms, dads, sisters and brothers. So many are affected when this happens. Yet, there is hope in Christ. How else could you get through it?

Blessings
Cyndee

Monday, August 04, 2008

Happy Birthday Charity!

Today she turns 15 and starts driver's ed. Where has the time flown?

*My little girl that wore dresses everyday for 3 years -snow, rain or shine!
*Times when she would run and hug me.
*Reading together in bed.

Yet, some things have not changed all the much

*Independent. Not afraid to wave good-bye at daycare or church.
*Brave. Undeterred to jump in the water and swim.
*Beautiful. Growing more so everyday.

Lord, I am so blessed to have her in my life. I know that you have only loaned her to me. Please continue to help me be the mom that she needs - even among the yelling. Amen.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Trip to Chicago

I have returned from a Chemistry adventure in the Chicago area.

I work with some great chemistry teachers. We (three of us) were invited to Flinn Scientific (a chemical supply company that caters to teachers) to watch the filming of chemistry demonstrations. This has been going on all summer long. We decided to make the trip last week.

It was truly amazing - that is if you are a chemistry teacher. We learned how to teach so many concepts better with demos or manipulatives. Anything that I can do to be a better teacher benefits all. The customer service was amazing with free breakfast and lunch, tour of the company, etc. The people working there strive to make you comfortable. We received gifts for attending - even though we learned so much.

On the way home, I was struck by something in the gas station bathroom. There was the common dispenser for feminine products. Not a surprise in a public bathroom. The first spot had 1 tampon for $1. Sounded a little expensive, but when you are in need it is worth it. The second spot had a lubricated condom for $.75. I couldn't quite understand why it was cheaper. I suppose it can be necessary? The last spot had a "surprise fantasy gift" for $.75. There was a chance of getting one of 6 "fantasy" items. What is that about? I was tempted to see what the items were. It just cracked me up!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Let's go boating . . or maybe not.

We have a boat. I don't know that I ever really wanted the responsibility of a boat, but it seems to be a sign of success for me. I always thought that if I could ever afford a boat, I would have "made it". I question the silliness of it.

In MN, we have about 8 months of winter, or at least times that the water is too cold to water-ski in/on. Now, if we were fishermen, they do that all year long. Ice fishing is the rage here. I don't quite get that either - proof of not growing up in MN. The boy went on his first fishing expedition with his grandfather this summer and caught his first fish. That is a whole other post.

So, we finally had some time and the weather was cooperating. We like to go in the early morning or at about 6-7 pm when the water is calmer. We make it to the lake, get the boat in the water and the motor starts. Sometimes that is questionable on the first time out. I was sitting enjoying the breeze when we stop to see if weeds have gotten stuck on the propeller.

You guessed it, the motor would not go up. This is not a good sign. We could have played for awhile, but the sun was quickly going down and we had to get the boat out of the water and this is almost impossible without tearing off the propeller in the process.

Did we have any tools? No. If we did, would we know what to do? No. Did we have the manual with us? Of course, no. We attached the boat and tried to see how much clearance we had at the boat landing - not enough. Some great guys tried to help, but didn't know much since they fish in a canoe.

What happened? I stayed with the kids and the boat in the water by the dock. The husband ran home to get some tools and a different hitch that was lower and would hopefully raise the boat just enough. This did work, barely. The neighbors were great and let us park our boat in their flat driveway opposed to our steep one.

My husband read the manual and figured out how to manually raise the motor - this would have been nice to know earlier - and got the boat in our driveway. Turns out that a relay switch, no bigger than a square inch, had failed which only allowed us to move the engine down and not up.

$100 later we made it back out onto the lake. The cost of "success". Why do we have a boat anyway?

blessings

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sonshine and what I learned


We just returned from Sonshine this weekend. It was an amazing time of music and worship. This is a great family adventure. We prepared for rain everyday and God blessed us with sunny skies and mild temperatures – mid 80’s compared to mid 90’s.

Charity invited a friend this year, mostly because the parents are “boring” to hang out with on such an occasion. Her friend seemed to have a good time also. We each got to see one of our favorite groups. Roger got to see Third Day, Charity got to see Hawk Nelson and Toby Mac, Eli waited until the last day to see his all time favorite, Newsboys. My favorite varies by day, but I enjoyed seeing Barlow Girl and the David Crowder Band. Crowder never disappoints!

We do a lot of sitting in lawn chairs as the bands do sound checks, etc. My behind got slightly sore, but luckily during my favorite bands I was up and waving my hands, praising God. I did my best to embarrass the daughter – not on purpose, just an interesting side effect of worshipping at Sonshine.

I brought my non-fiction book with me to read, When the Game is Over it All Goes Back in the Box by John Ortberg. I like his writing style. Many of these books teach the same thing with a different metaphor. Ortberg uses the monopoly game to represent this earthly life. You may have lots of hotels on your properties, but in the end all the money, properties and hotels go back in the box.

I am not done with the book, only on chapter 8 out of 21. Chapter 4 called “Master the Inner Game” has been rolling around in my head since Sonshine. Ortberg uses 2 Cor 4:16 as his springboard.

“We do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”


I really enjoyed some of the quotes from this chapter so I will leave them with you and let you ponder them as I have.

*”Experts tell us that if you exercise regularly, you will add two years to your life. But the bad news is that you will spend those two years exercising.”

*”Be grateful for the outer you. . .But remember, it's wasting away. . .The inner you is capable of a glory that right now you cannot even imagine. Make your biggest investment in the you that will last."

And my favorite of the chapter

*"The hardest thing to bear as we get older is the feeling that we remain young inside"

This hit home, because as I get closer to the big 4-0, I don't feel any older in my heart, but my body keeps breaking on me and aching in places I never knew I had. It is hopeful to know that my "inner me" is being renewed.

This post is long enough. Blessings.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Passion Parties?

I was invited to a “Passion Party” with the baseball moms.

I seriously did not know what to say. I really don’t know these women at all – I just see them at practice once a week. This kind of party seems rather intimate compared to a pampered chef party.

I graciously declined. I was not comfortable attending this kind of party – even with good friends. Did I miss out on an opportunity to be a light for Christ? Or by saying no did this mean something?

Roger suggested that I go, make some friends, because honestly I am lacking in that area. My whole world is my family. I just don’t know if this is how I want to start out.

I tried to explain to my husband what kind of products are sold at these kind of parties. The hostess gave me a catalog to look at in case I wanted to order something. Just glancing through the catalog felt like porn. Maybe porn for women. The promise of romance if you get this candle or these oils. Women are wired differently for sex then men. We want connection and intimacy and not always sexual satisfaction. If you are blessed, both might happen. Men have more of a physical desire – no romance needed.

I guess that I just needed to write a post about this. This seems to be accepted in “the world.” Where do I stand? I am not a prude, yet where is the line between what is a godly discussion about sex and what is a worldly discussion? I think that one that discusses the relationship between husband and wife is good, but just taking about being “satisfied” boarders on perversion.

Thoughts?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Summer Daze

It is not convenient for me to blog much in the summer. We have dial-up and the girl is often online downloading music or using myspace. We do have wireless, but it isn't very useful with dial-up since only one person can really be using it at one time. Who needs to be on the computer anyway when we can finally be outside!

What have I been doing? I think that the answer is a lot and a little all at the same time. I am still on the mend from surgery the end of June. Progress is slow and sitting is still a challenge - that might be part of my reason for not blogging. It is a challenge to type laying down or propped up. I can walk and sleep okay. I am just hoping that over time it was the best choice.

Eli finished up his baseball games the beginning of July. He has a great community ed team and the coaches are wonderful. They challenge the kids to play their best as well as other skills like respect, etc. He had this same set of coaches last year and we are hoping that he can continue with this coach for 3rd grade. My son is not the best player on the team - but he does love the sport. His team was took first place with an undefeated record! Way to go Eli! We also took him to a Twins home game. I thought he might get bored, but he really did a good job and luckily they won the game. It is always great when the home team wins.

What else has been consuming our "summer off"? For teachers, this is the only time that we get anything done!

We are doing a minor (major?) remodeling project. Charity's closet is mighty small for a teenage girl - not that I want to encourage her, but it was the smallest closet in the house with the smallest bedroom. The kids closets are back to back - Eli has the original Master bedroom which had a larger closet. Soooo, we knocked down the wall between them - which was the "easy" part - and had to add a closet space to Eli's room. I think that it will be nice when it is all finished. The wall and sheetrock is done. Need to tape, mud, fix the carpet, move some electrical and put in closet doors. So, we might be half through.

We have also embarked on a new stage in the teens life - she is applying for her driving permit. There are quite a few hoops to jump through - 30 hours of classroom time, written test, behind the wheel. Finding the best driving school is a challenge - based on location, times of classes and cost - plus if her friends are doing it? She is growing up, this is a good thing so that by next year I will need to chauffeur less for her swimming.

Otherwise, just spending some time in the yard/garden - mowing, etc. We had a fun time at a friends for July 4th, so I will end with this picture of Eli. Blessings!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Survived

I am at home and doing fine. I did get to come home on Wed - no overnight stay at the hospital. I was so thankful. I wasn't much help at home, but I was present. My poor husband has been bored out of his skull playing chaffeur for the kids.

I can't yet sit very well yet, due to the incision. Not that I am worried, but it is way below the "bikini" line. Here are a couple of things that I am learning..

*The pain medicine helps, but I now have no appetite and food has no taste. Can we say diet plan?

*I might have ADD. I am having a harder time just resting than I thought I would.

*General anesthesia is just strange. First you are in the operating room, the next thing you know you are in recovery. 1 1/2 hours of my life I don't remember. Strange.

*My kids can be helpful when they want to be. Even though they still bicker.

Thanks for your prayers. I am getting tired again. Blessings

Monday, June 23, 2008

Taking the dive

This has nothing to do with swimming - amazing but true.

I have suffered with a broken tailbone for about 2 years now. I have used the "donut" shaped cushion, cortisone shots and less sitting in general. (It has taken a toll on my scrapbooking hobby). It still hurts. I have decided to schedule surgery. In fact it is occurring on Wed - today is Monday.

I had my last phone call from the admission office at the hospital. My surgeon said that the "procedure" (removal of the broken tailbone piece) is an outpatient procedure. It is scheduled for 7:30 am - I was hoping to be home by lunch time. The hospital seems to think that I am staying overnight for "pain control". I have had two children - how bad can it be? Besides, I will get more rest at home than in the hospital with the nurses always taking my vital signs and the uncomfortable beds. Please - send me home if possible!

I am extremely nervous about the whole thing. Very little can go wrong. The biggest possible complication is infection because of the location of the incision (duh?). So, just keep it clean? I have also never been under general anesthesia and have no idea how I will respond.

Please, say a quick prayer. After this is over, the rest of the summer will be a breeze. Thanks!

Blessings

Thursday, June 19, 2008

River Vacation

I am back and want to share my adventures with pictures today.

We have been on a journey to follow the Mississippi river from the headwaters in Itasca, MN (northern MN) to the Delta in New Orleans, LA. This summer brought us to St. Louis, MO. This is our fourth summer following the river, but it has been a great adventure learning about the history of all the places we stop and seeing the local sights - or as many as we can.

Charity and Eli sitting in the Mark Twain Caves. Naturally carved out of the limestone. Used as a source of inspiration for his writings.

This is us at one of the last Dams on the Mississippi. One of our main goals was accomplished on this trip - to see every Dam on the river. Their are 29 locks and dams on the river from Mpls/St. Paul to St. Louis and many more dams above that to the headwaters. And we can confidently say that we have seen them all! I have a Dam Scrapbook to prove it. Now all I need to do is add the final pictures of this trip.

Me, Eli and my hubby, Roger.

Several amazing pictures of the St. Louis Arch. The process and history of how and why this was build amazes the science teacher in me. It was built in the 1960's. What an engineering feat!!






This is a picture from the top of the arch and the shadow that it made at about 11 am. I thought is was a fun shot.








Eli had to have proof that he was at the top. We had to fight off an Amish couple for this shot. They had about 100 people in the space meant for about 50. You can stay at the top for as long as you want. But, who could stand being that crowded for very long. Roger did not join us. He is not one for heights.





We also did some fun and unusual things. We went to the international bowling museum. Okay, we sort of went for the laughs, but also got to bowl at the end of the tour. Not a bad deal!

We also had to take the tour of the Budweiser brewery and go to Six Flags in St. Louis. Eli had many firsts on this trip. He has reached that golden height requirement of 48 inches tall. He got the chance to ride on waterpark slides alone and ride the big roller coasters at Six Flags. He loved every minute of it! He fits right in since the rest of us can't get enough roller coasters.

Maybe that will be our next adventure - riding roller coasters.

Along the way, we prayed for those homes that we drove past that were full of water - sandbags and all. We have never seen the water so high. Roads were closed miles from the river. We were lucky to be safe. The pictures don't really do it justice when you just see the train tracks and roads just disappear into the water. Please pray for all those affected.

I think that this post is long enough. I will try to be more consistent.

Blessings

Cyndee

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lost in May


I guess that the picture helps explain part of what has been taking up my time this May. I have really been trying to post, but mostly have been a lurker and reading my favorite blogs when I have a few minutes. I am just going to take some time to note some highlights.

*As a teacher, this is the month when I get to grade the huge individual lab project that I assign. I am grateful that I only have 50 to grade - but multiply by 20 minutes each and it can be overwhelming.

*We have also entered severe weather time - which comes with thunder storms and tornados. We were hunkered down in our basement last Sunday. We live close to the tornados that hit Hugo, MN. Many of those folks attend our church and Roger has even helped the family that lost their son. I teach many of the students and have just listened to the stories - grateful for their lives. Please pray for our church and community as we help rebuild.

*May is also the month of ceremonies.

*Charity is moving from 9th grade at the Jr. High to the High school next year. They had a 9th grade award ceremony. I am so proud of her excellence in academics and sports. She received an award for having a GPA above 3.8 for 3 years and was honored for the Science student of the year. She didn't really want this - she wanted the Math award. The ironic thing is that Charity helps the girl that won it. I guess that it isn't all about the award...

*We also had the synchro banquet where the girls are honored for their achievements at the Section and State tournaments. Charity placed 2nd in short figures out of 210 girls. Her other routines did good as well. 6th/14 in her duet, 7th/14 in her trio and 6th/10 in team. The team placed 4th overall out of 12 teams. They are shooting for 3rd next year!

*In the evening we have been trying to fit in time for mowing the lawn and attending Eli's baseball games. He has 3 next week to make up for two rained out games. Baseball is not fun in the rain.

It is just starting to feel like work is getting in the way of our life. So, it is good that school is almost out - this is the last week for us! We have several trips planned and lots of family time. The kids are growing up so fast - I want to enjoy every minute that I can! It is a blessing to have the summer off - even if it means a smaller paycheck.

I must go, thank for reading.

Blessings

Friday, May 30, 2008

Book Review - The Note by Angela Hunt


I am just fascinated by the wide range of topics that Hunt writes about. Many authors find a niche and write about the same kind of thing. Kingsbury loves stories about families and forgiveness. Blackstock is more of a suspense author writing about murders. Hunt seems to explore the range of topics.

This book is one of those books that hit home for me. It was hard for me to start another book because I just knew that it might not be as good. It just fascinates me the way she allows the reader to know just enough and reveals the whole story in bits and pieces. The story is based on a newspaper reporters search for the recipient of a note that was found after an airplane crash. The note was simple, it said "T-I love you. All is forgiven. Love Dad".

Hunt explores all the emotions and reasons why someone would want to receive this message and then also why so many turn away from that message everyday. The bible message is just that. A message of forgiveness and love. Who wouldn't want that? It appears that even the reporter is affected by the simplicity of such a message.

Hunt ends the book beautifully - never in the way you think. I was crying at the end - mostly because of my desire for such a relationship with my father.

I would call this a must read. Blessings.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Opposites

This weekend we were invited by our neighbors to attend a first communion service at 10am on a Saturday. I can't really say that I was excited about this, but attended because we are friends. I would rather have been in a stuffy pool watching synchro sections (the girl made it to the state level in all three of her routines!) then in a stuffy catholic church. But, the girl gets nervous when I am watching, so we attended the communion service instead.

It seemed to last forever even though it was only an hour long. I just don't understand it all. I have learned from scripture that communion is for believers. How is it that all kids at 8 years old have crossed the line of faith? We allowed Eli to have communion after he said Yes to Jesus and asked Him into his heart. Eli was confused as well. Again, I just don't understand how the church has complicated such a beautiful and meaningful remembrance.

Eli summed it up at the end on the way to the car, "I can't wait to go to Club K-Rock!" This is the name of our elementary Sunday school program. We so agreed! What a privilege it is to live in a country where we can worship in different ways!

Just for the record, I am not anti-catholic. I just don't enjoy that kind of worship and tradition. There are some amazing "living" and growing catholic churches in this country. I just don't happen to appreciate that style of worship - or that of an extremely charismatic church either. I fall in love with a church that has edgy music (something with a beat not requiring hymnals) and a great message that points the way to Christ. I want my church to be useful for sinners (people like me) and not just those that are "holy". I love that my church is outwardly focused - for our community and the world beyond our borders.

I tell my students that don't like Chemistry that it isn't a waste of time. They now know that Chemistry is not for them. It has eliminated one of many options. It isn't always about finding what you do like, but also finding out what you don't. That is what makes the world so interesting.

Blessings

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Last Chapters of Mary and Martha

Here is my synopsis of the final chapters of this book. I didn’t quite meet the time frame I had set forth, but I did finish the book. The last couple of chapters just summarize everything she has said.

Chapter 11 - Balancing Work and Worship

Colossians 3:23
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart”

I have been struggling for a long time with what she talked about in Chapter 11, finding balance between work and worship. I tend to be more comfortable on the Martha side, “doing”. So, that means that I need to work a little harder at worship. Yet, I tried to examine if that is entirely true. I have progressed a long way - very slowly - but usually forward. When I am worshipping in church, my heart is in that moment. I am getting better at just focusing on God instead of having my mind wander. When I am serving at church, I am in the moment doing the best that I can.

Weaver uses a teeter - totter as an example of our lives. Sometimes we are heavy on the serving side for a day or a season, but then our lives tip and bring us back to a time of worship and time with our God. Our lives need to be a combination of both - and finding a balance - as with everything- is the challenge.

I use to think that in order to serve God and be in “His Will” that I needed to be a missionary. That is when I heard the verse in Colossians for the first time. That whatever I do - do that for his glory. Serve him as I make dinner for my family, pray for my kids as I drop them off at school, have a listening ear for my students as I teach them. All these things can honor my Savior. He has given me skills to use for His glory. I continue to pray that I will reconnect with him in worship to follow His lead.

Chapter 12 - Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World

Jude 24
“To him who is able to keep you from falling
and to present you before his glorious presence
without fault and with great joy”


The last chapter was a window into the authors struggle to write this book and how she changed during the process. The best message through it was that we are all works in progress. God is renewing us from the inside out everyday.

As always, God uses His living word to speak to us. I had just heard a sermon on the following verse and then Weaver uses it as a key point in finding this balance.

James 1:2-4
“Consider it pure joy, by brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.”


This verse does not say “If” you face trials, it says “whenever”. That means that you will. How we respond to them is part of the learning process. We should respond with joy. I can’t say that is easy. Yet, by persevering, we become more like Christ which is our ultimate goal.

Pastor Stand at our church had a great message on this topic this weekend. You can watch the video or download a pod cast at www.eaglebrookchurch.com.

I am grateful that I took the time to finish this book.

Blessings

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Synchro Show

I have been swept away by a small cold and preparations for last weeks synchro show. I am going to try and post a video, and hopefully it works. I am just so darn proud of my girl. She is the one coming out of the water in the first lift. Blessings


video

Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy Prom?

Well, when I woke up and saw this.

I just knew that I better pack a coat for my chaperoning of Prom.


I want to thank Susanne personally for sending her snowy weather from Alberta our way. The weather did not seem to keep the kids from dancing and having a great time. I will post a photo of the hubby and I when we get them back. Just so you don't feel too bad for me, this is what it looked like on Sunday.Blessings to you all this week!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mary and Martha Book Study - Chapter 10

Chapter 10 - Mary's Extravagant Love

John 12:3
"Then Mary...poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair.
And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume."

I know this bible story and have never connected the fact that this is the same Mary in the "Mary and Martha" passage. I have reread the passage in John and find that it can't really be a different Mary. The setting is in Bethany with Martha serving and the resurrected Lazarus is reclining at the table with Jesus and his disciples.

Weaver describes the significance of the jar of perfume. She explains that the bottle of perfume was probably (we don't know for sure, just traditional and historical references) her dowry - to be given to her husband in marriage. It was worth a years wages and would be estimated to be valued at around $30,000 in today's currency. The container that held the perfume was ordinary. Weaver writes on page 160

"What mattered most - what matters still today - is the treasure the container holds. And the treasure Mary poured out that day was more than an expensive perfume. She was pouring out her very life in love and sacrificial service."

We are those ordinary containers filled with the priceless spirit of Christ. Am I pouring it out is service to the one I love? Am I willing to share what is inside for the Kingdom?

Weaver goes on to compare two followers - Judas and Mary. Mary choose to be changed by Jesus and Judas was not. Here is what Weaver says on Page 163.

"Instead of just sitting passively and listening to the Savior, instead of being overwhelmed by grief (referring to Lazarus' death), this time Mary responded. She gave herself in worship to the One who had given so much to her and her family."

"Though Jesus knew the disciple's weaknesses, he had given Judas chance after chance in the three years they had traveled together...But Judas had remained unchanged. Imagine spending three years of your life with the Messiah, yet walking away more or less the same - or even worse than when you started. Judas did just that."

The best and most amazing thing about this passage is Jesus' response. Mary was vulnerable and extravagant, risking her reputation and chances for a husband. I can see Jesus gently looking at her with approval and tells those mocking her in Mark 14:6

"Leave her alone," said Jesus.
"Why are you bothering her?
She has done a beautiful thing to me."


To be praised and loved by my savior - what a prize!

Dear Jesus- You have laid down you live sacrifically, without complaint or regret. I am so thankful that you love me with a never-ending and extravagant kind of love. Lord, help me to worship you and be changed by you that my "perfume" will fill the air of the room. Amen

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mary and Matha Book Study - Chapter 9

We are in the heart of synchro season and the beginning of summer baseball. I just don't know how those of you with more than 2 children can manage. Anyway, I am continuing to read and determined to finish this book. I only have two chapters left, but here is what I learned in chapter 9. I will do a second post for chapter 10

Chapter 9 - Martha's Teachable Heart

John 8:31-31
"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free"

It is interesting to see the kind of people Jesus choose as his followers - untrained, common men of the time. That is what most of us are. Weaver states that the disciples had the "potential for transformation". And I guess that is true for us also. This is what she says about transformation

"Unfortunately, though we all applaud the thought of transformation, most of us don't appreciate the process that gets us there. To be transformed means we have to change, and change too often hurts."(pg 138)

Martha reveals this transformation during her walk with Jesus to see a dead Lazarus.

"Jesus choose her open and teachable heart to reveal himself by saying 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies... Do you believe this?' Jesus asked Martha in John 11:25-26.

'Yes, Lord,' she replied, 'I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world'" (11:27)

...and this insightful proclamation came not from contemplative, sensitive Mary, but from organized, duty-bound - but teachable - Martha?" (Weaver page 143)

Weaver stresses that we must be teachable and to be teachable requires three things.

*being willing to listen (to God)
*acting on what we hear (sometimes the hard part for me)
*responding to discipline (as a result of not responding to the first two)

I like what weaver says on page 151

"My deepest fear has always been that I might wake up thirty years from now an realize I haven't changed...What a terrible thing that would be, But unless I have a teachable heart, such spiritual stagnation is my destiny...The purpose of Jesus' death on the cross wasn't to provide fire insurance or an all-expenses-paid trip to heaven. He died and rose again so we could be made new."

Dear Jesus-Thank you for loving me enough to not let me stay the same. Help me to hear your voice and respond to your living word. Thank you for your gentle and sometimes not so gentle nudgings to do the best thing instead of the easiest. You are so amazing. Amen.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

In "Other" Words-Intimacy


"To be intimate with others is to reveal our innermost selves to them,
including our emotions, thoughts and desires.
For such deep sharing of the soul and spirit to occur,
people must respect and trust each other. ...
In a world controlled by sin, however, to choose to be intimate is to choose to be hurt.
Yet Jesus calls us to this kind of intimacy with Him and with one another."
~ Kenneth A. Schmidt ~

I have been out of the loop on doing In "other" Words, I actually couldn't get the link to work. So I am traveling here to share in the fun. Join in if you like.

I am not sure if it was this quote or someone who said something similar, but I have heard it before and find that it is true. To really love someone and be loved, allows them the opportunity to hurt you deeply. They know how you operate and respond to certain triggers.

I grew up guarding certain information about my family. Maybe because I did not want to admit the truth about my alcoholic mother or because I did not want to be hurt by this shared information. Only my closest friends knew, or guessed about my homelife. It then became a power issue for me. I would only share with those that I felt "worthy" to share with. Now this did not protect me from getting hurt, but I think that it prevented me from having some really good friendships with.

In college, I had even more to hide. I could be anyone, sort of. People did not have to know about my family or my past. Believe is or not, this made my first year of college very lonely. I thought that not sharing would help, but like the quote suggests, intimacy in a relationship is impossible without "revealing" our innermost selves.

The Lord set me free. This sounds so "christian", but it is true. I got involved in a bible study and began reading scripture and applying that scripture to my life. I learned to trust in a healthy way. I first had to get right with God and admit my failings and manipulations of others. I still picked my friends very carefully and did not share everything. There are those kind of friendships that require a certain amount of restraint.

Matthew 7:6 (New Living Translation)

6 “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you."


So, as I grow closer to Jesus, I have more freedom to share because of the way Jesus accepts me unconditionally. Nobody can separate me from that. My reputation is safe with Him and I am loved beyond measure. Praise Him!

Blessings

Friday, April 18, 2008

Synchro picture


Here is my girl swimming with her trio in competition for the first time. She is in the front and looks a little nervous. Now if I can just get her to smile when she takes a breath! (Who am I to talk - I am still afraid to put my face in the water....)

Blessings

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Funeral and the unexpected.

We attended Roger's grandmother's funeral on Friday. The weather was miserable with a winter weather advisory out. Nothing like a gray snowy day for a funeral.

Here is my thought on the weather:

Once grandma made it to heaven, she immediately asked for the person in charge of the weather. She would slam her fist down and demand to "stick" it to the relatives one more time!

She was just that way - demanding and bossy. Yet, she loved deeply. I always wondered if she ever liked me - I have kind of adopted Roger's family as my own. Apparently she did. We talked. I guess that she just didn't talk to people she didn't like.

After the funeral, we spent some time with the cousins - just reconnecting. Why does it take death to bring us together? Does it remind us of what is important and how short life really is? I hope that we can meet again under better circumstances.

Note of interest: The passage read at her mass was of Lazarus. Was this coincidence since I just read that part in the Mary and Martha book? I am spending some extra time examining this - maybe God is trying to direct me.

Lastly, because of grandma's death, we have been left some money. This was somewhat unexpected. She has been living in assisted care for about 5 years and didn't know how much was left. We actually didn't care - the money was hers to spend.

We are now praying about how to use this money to glorify God and not just buy "stuff". What can we do with the "talents" he has given us? Something to pray about.

Blessing to all!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mary and Martha Book Study - Chapter 8

Chapter 8 - Lessons from Lazarus

John 11:1,3
"Now a man named Lazarus was sick...
So the sisters sent word to Jesus,
"Lord, the one you love is sick."

I remember listening to a sermon by Andy Stanley (one of my all time favorite pastors - I would move to Atlanta for that!) and he spoke about this passage and it is very similar to how Weaver describes it. She quotes author Ray C. Stedman

"The hardest problem I have to handle as a Christian is what to do when God does not do what I have been taught to expect him to do; when God gets out of line and does not act the way I think he ought. What do I do about that?"

Isn't that the real problem? For some reason, we think that we know what is best for us and everyone else. Yet, God can see it all and knows the end of our story.

She lists four things that we can learn from this story:
1. God's will does not always proceed in a straight line
2. God's love sometimes tarries for our good and his glory
3. God's ways are not our ways, but his character is still dependable
4. God's plan is released when we believe and obey
5. The "end" is never the end;it is only the beginning

Weaver ends the chapter in this way on page 134 and 136:

" Even though Jesus knew Lazarus was about to be raised from the dead, he understood Mary and Martha's pain...Today we suffer. Today we don't understand. But someday, in that eternal Tomorrow, that same Savior who weeps with us will wipe every tear from our eyes"

And won't that be the best day ever! Amen

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Martha and Mary Book Study - Chapter 7

Chapter 7 - The Better Part

Luke 10:42
"There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part,
which will not be taken away from her"


I didn't like this chapter. Not because the writing was bad or that it didn't relate to the topic, but because it is something that I struggle with - and really always have. I know in my mind how important it is to spend "quiet time" with God - to build that relationship with Him. I suppose that I need to keep hearing it over and over even though I am into this relationship for over 20 years now.

I ask myself these questions, "Am I just being rebellious because I don't wake up early and meet with Jesus? Can't I meet with God at other times of the day?" Maybe the answer to both is yes. But ultimately, do I meet with God on a regular basis at all? I guess that is where I keep slipping up...

Weaver describes our busy lives like trying to keep many hula hoops going at the same time - work, kids, sports activities, cooking, cleaning, etc. We can do it but we need to be centered and the center is our relationship with Christ. This quote on page 105 got my attention.

"Does it sound harsh to say that cooking or cleaning or taking care of children or doing your job might be sinful? But think about it. The very definition of sin is separation from God. So no matter how important the activity, no matter how good it seems, if I use it as an excuse to hold God at arm's length, it is sin. I need to confess and repent of it so that I can draw close to the Lord once more"

That is a pretty powerful statement! It seems that I need to spend some time remembering the joy of my salvation - go back and remember the grace - and seek His face more consistently.

Dear Jesus, Thank you for forgiving me in my sin every day. I ask for the courage and strength to meet with you more consistently and remember that without you, the rest of life can truly become unbalanced. Amen.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Sadness and Joy


Roger's Grandmother died today. We have mixed feelings about it all. She has been doing very poorly for the past couple of years - living in a nursing home with alzheimers. She was almost 93 and more than ready for life here on earth to be over. It is a relief that she is free, but still sad for those of us still here.

Our only concern is that we don't know her relationship with Jesus. It really isn't our business, but we alway hope that she is now in Heaven with our Lord. Eli is happy that she is walking on streets of Gold. Won't that be amazing!

If you think about it, say a quick prayer as our family gathers and mourns. She was the center of so much and now she is gone.

Blessings

Friday, April 04, 2008

Martha and Mary Book Study - Day 6

Chapter 6 – Kitchen Service

Ecclesiastes 9:10
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might”

I found this chapter to be the total opposite of the last chapter. This one reminds me that Jesus spent his entire ministry life helping people all the time. He loved people and showed compassion – even when He was tired. I know that I can’t say that I do that.

This is the balancing act that I struggle to follow and maybe this book will make it clearer. We are to find our strength and direction in the Living Room and still serve. Hmm?

I think that Weaver clears it up a little on page 85

“As we ‘abide’ in the intimate relationship with Christ. . . something incredible happens. We begin loving as we never loved before. . . We begin producing fruit. . . Fruit in our lives that tells the world who we are and what our God is like”

Ultimately, it seems that if we are connected to Christ and get to know Him in the way He wants us to, we won’t be able to keep from loving and serving people. Why? Because we will serve for the same reason He did, because we love them.

I am hoping that the next chapter will help to explain how we can find the balance between serving – even out of lover- and not staying connected to Him.

Dear Lord – so much to learn. Teach me to serve out of lover. That I will abide in you and produce fruit. Amen.