Monday, December 12, 2011

Joseph

Joseph always seems to get the shaft in the Christmas story.  Have you noticed that?  We talk about the shepherds, the kings, and of course, Mary, but Joseph….he just kind of stands there.  Seriously, in all our nativities he always the same stance….

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He looks down on Mary and Jesus like the 3rd wheel.  Like the one person on the outside of  an inside conversation. 

But I don’t think it was that way….

I see Joseph as an amazing testament of FAITH.  We sometimes take for granted that God chose Mary, but He also CHOSE Joseph. 

He chose a SET of parents for Jesus, not just a mom.   

He chose a man who was honest.  A man who loved his wife.  A man who trusted the Lord and would teach Jesus what he should know.  In the Jewish world it wasn’t Mary who would take Jesus to temple, it was Joseph, and God chose a man who would take that responsibility seriously.  It was Joseph who would teach Jesus how to make a living as a carpenter.

Joseph was chosen as a Earthly man worthy of raising the Son of God.   

I have no doubt that Joseph looked down at his newborn son with the pride, the awe, and the wonder of any new daddy.  There were probably several hours after the chaos of childbirth, and before the shepherds came.  I can just see Mary and Joseph holding their son and giggling with the naive excitement of all new parents.  I can see Joseph looking down at this baby, rubbing his rough fingers over the tiny new hands of his son, and allowing his heart to burst with the love he felt. 

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This Christmas I hope you look at Joseph in a different way.  I hope you read the Christmas story and see Joseph as the loving, caring, honest, and Godly man that he was.   I hope you see him as the daddy God saw fit to raise His boy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Ornaments 2011

If there is one thing I am a sucker for, its tradition, and nothing lends itself to tradition like Christmas.   This seems to be one of those times of year when we pull out that cardboard box full of last years newspaper and unwrap more than some pieces of plastic with metal hooks.  We unwrap stories, laughter, and recollections. 

So, this year, inspired by Jolanthe and Madonna I am sharing some memories with you.   Here are a couple of our favorite ornaments, and the anecdotes that go with  them.

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P1080215 In 2006 I married my wonderful husband.  We married on December 16th, and we honeymooned in Gatlinburg, TN.  Being so close to Christmas it seemed only natural that we would get some kind of ornament.  We opted for something that didn’t say “Just Married”.  We wanted an ornament that each year we could put on the tree and tell a story about, or just look at each other and smile. 

 

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One of our earliest arguments in married life came courtesy of the Romulan War Bird.  You see, Jeff is an avid Star Trek fan.  I don’t mind the show, but I don’t want alien spacecraft on my CHRISTMAS tree.  All the same, the Warbird is no longer confined to the back and the bottom.  Now its got its own place of honor, and it stands as a symbol of Peace On Earth….and in our household.  :) 

 

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Finally, this little guy was added this year.  We were blessed with our first home this year, so this was a no brainer for our first Christmas season in our new house.  I am sure in years to come, no matter where the Lord may lead, we will hang this on the tree and remember the Christmas of 2011. 

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I am linking this post up to Jolanthe’s Christmas Ornament Show and Tell!  Be sure to stop by No Ordinary Moments and check out all the other fun stories there! 

 

 

Amber1

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fancy Mysticism

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I believed the Gospel in college.  I was raised in church, but  I didn’t really put anything I learned into practice.  You can imagine my surprise when Christ found me in the hallowed halls of university.  While the rest of my peers were being talked out of everything they believed, I was digging in to what I had already learned. My new found sense of purpose confused (and maybe still does) some of them.  One friend actually looked at me after my conversion, and dumbfounded said “Amber, you are smarter than that. You think too much to fall for that!”

Fall for what?  I believe I understand his concern.  Too often it seems that my faith and any realm of intelligence cannot align in the world’s view.  Thus, those in the world might deduce that if I am a person of faith that I also am a person lacking intelligence; that I am a fool.   

So….AM I A FOOL? 

I don’t think so. Why?  Because I am a thinking girl who believes the gospel, and the thinking girl’s Gospel is pretty simple.  It’s just the Gospel. 

I’m a sinner.  Christ died in my place because He loves me.  I accept that gift of grace that was freely given and as a result one day  I will be in Heaven with Him. 

Its pretty straight forward, unlike calculus.  Take that smarty pants.

You see, the Gospel doesn’t change for the people….people change for the Gospel. 

My faith is a spiritual reality, something that is readily available at every turn and in every situation.  It is only when I deny that Gospel, or question tenants of it, that I become someone with nothing more than a pocket full of fanciful mysticism.  

A belief that makes me feel good, until of course it doesn’t.

The Gospel is not for sissies.  We are called to deny ourselves, take up our chance of  death, and follow someone who changed the world, but died doing it.  I can see why it might seem foolish to some.  You are charging hell with a water pistol and expecting to win. 

You have to be all in. 

I don’t worship a God who stays in my pocket to keep me company.  He is not my genie in a bottle who grants me parking spaces or gives me money. 

He is my LORD.

I want a LORD.  I want to belong to someone more powerful and awesome than I am.  I want everything I do to point right back to just how AWESOME he is.  I want to know that there is nothing, no not nothing, that is impossible with him. 

Am I fool?  Maybe, but I will forever and always be a fool for Him. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Savior and Lord

Have I ever told you that I LOVE Elisabeth Elliot?  Seriously.  I love her so much I named my kid after her.  Anyway, I have been reading through one of her books, A Path Through Suffering,  and tonight’s post comes courtesy of something I read.  Actually, the next couple of posts come from like three paragraphs of Ms. Elliot’s first chapter…

She is so amazing….

Anyway, she said this in her book: “About two or three years later (after her conversion to Christianity) I realized that He is not only Savior but Lord.” 

That’s it.  One simple sentence that sent me into a tailspin. 

I know He’s my Savior, but is He my Lord?? 

I looked up the definition of “lord”.  A lord is “one having power and authority over others” or “ a ruler by hereditary right or preeminence to whom service and obedience are due”.

DUDE.  I don’t know if you all like reading, but I am going to get deep, yo. 

He is our Lord.  We choose call Him that.  If we choose to call him our Lord, than we have to also give Him the authority and power OVER US.  Upon our salvation we are recognizing that we are no longer our own.  We no longer belong to ourselves. 

WE ARE HIS, because HE BOUGHT US.  WITH A PRICE.

I don’t think that it is a coincidence that the definition of ‘lord’ constitutes one who “by hereditary right” is due “service and obedience”.  Jesus after all was the SON of God, earning Him the “hereditary right” from His Daddy to have our service and obedience.    

My question isn’t whether or not He deserves it, its whether or not I give it.  Do I submit fully, or do I rebel as a servant who is disobedient to the will of her master?  Really what has he asked of me that is so hard to bear? 

“Love me, with all your heart.  After that, love everyone else the same way you would want to be loved.”

That Love thing causes some discomfort.  Because I love Him I might have to deny some Earthly pleasures, and loving other people can be really hard because normally people are stupid, and I don’t love stupid. 

Yet I am commanded, by my Lord, whom I serve. 

So who are you serving?   

Thursday, November 24, 2011

No Smell of Smoke

In Beth Moore’s study on Daniel she takes some time to point to  a verse in the narrative about Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego and the fiery furnace.   She points to  Daniel 3:27  where everyone “saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

God not only brings them through the furnace, but when they make it out they don’t even smell like smoke.

I didn’t know how big a deal that was until Monday.  You see, on the way home from a youth event our car caught on fire. 

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You read that right.  It caught on fire.  Smoke it turns out, does stink. Bad. 

Everything smoke from the fire touched smelled like it spent an hour on the bar be.  E’s car seat.  My jacket.  Michael Buble…well, his CD at least. 

We have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  Like the fact that the fire didn’t hit the gas tank.  That E wasn’t with me at the time.  That I was minutes from my parents house.  That God protected me on a dark, rainy, foggy night when I was stranded on the side of the highway.  

That I didn’t meet Him face to face that night. 

The loss of a car for our family will be a trial and there are plenty of things we could worry about. 

Finances.  Logistics.  Insurance. 

In the end though I know that we serve a God who is able.  There are so many who are going through trials this holiday season.  Trails far worse and more difficult than a car fire. 

It is easy for us to think that these things catch God by surprise.  That He does them to us.  That just isn’t the case.  We serve a God who works FOR US.  Things happen that break His heart, just like they break ours, but He will work it out, and one day we will look back and where the fire of a trial we will stand in awe at what He has done. 

In faith He will work all things for the good of those who love him. What Satan means to destroy us God can, will, and does use to strengthen us, and yes, bless us more abundantly. 

Even in situations where we can see nothing good ever coming our way. 

My prayer is that whatever trial you are facing right now that the Lord upholds and sustains you, and that once your fire has been extinguished and, you are on the other side, you won’t even smell smoke. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dust…

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I cleaned my house today for the first time it what seemed like FOREVER.  You know, the good clean.  Scrubbing floors, wiping baseboards, cleaning toilets…

Fun.  Let us rejoice in all things, eh?

You can imagine my delight when I finished and my house smelled like I had chit chatted all morning with Mr. Clean and the Scrubbing Bubbles.  I looked around at my house like one of those cheesy cleaning commercials, just smiling at my productivity, when I noticed it. 

The sun shined through the window, and like a beacon, illuminated my hidden secret. 

Dust.  About an inch thick on the long neglected piano bench.  With a grr and grunt I got out the dust polish and sprayed away the mess. 

I don’t like it when things I think are taken of and hidden come into view.  They tend to reflect poorly upon me.  Like the dust on the piano bench, I would be very content to keep things hidden. 

I started thinking that my heart is a little  like that piano bench.  There are things in my heart that I dare not mention to anyone, hoping that if everything else is in place no one will notice some dust.  Still, as long as some things are dusty, there is cleaning that needs to be done. 

At night we say a prayer with E in German.  Translated part of it says “my heart is clean”.  I want my heart to be that way.  CLEAN.  Which means that maybe, just maybe I have some dusting to do.  Time to clean this old house.  Time to breathe in and let everything out, laying it down at the feet of someone bigger than me who can make everything spotless.   

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Prepare a Place

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Since we moved into our new home E has had some trouble sleeping in her own room.  We used to be right across the hall from E, but now we are downstairs and she, is upstairs.  She doesn’t understand why we have to be away from her, and I hate being separated from her.

For the time being E is all by herself at bedtime, but she is a brave little girl.  Fear does not steer my daughter.  Loneliness does. 

E and I, we were cut from the same cloth.  Maybe that’s why when she toddles into our room sometime around 3 a.m. I am more sympathetic then Daddy.  Beside our bed I have made a little pallet with our down comforter and a pillow.  If E is having a bad night she knows she can come into our room, and there is a place prepared for her. 

There is a verse in John where Christ is trying to explain to His disciples what He is doing and why He is going away.  He tells them “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”  (14:3)

Jesus knew that without him as close as he always had been the disciples were going to get lonely.  He knew that they would ask questions about where there teacher had gone, and they would wonder why they couldn’t go, too.  Jesus, knowing all that was on their hearts, kindly explained things to them.

He has simply gone ahead, to prepare a place, and he’s just waiting for the day He can come get us. 

You see, those of us who believe in Christ, we were cut from the same cloth.  He loves us as much as we love Him.  And one day, when we get to walk into our Daddy’s room, we will be welcomed, and we will find a place prepared for us. 

Amber1

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Homesick

I was absolutely exhausted when I got home from Relevant.  Seriously wiped.  All the same, there was no rest for the weary until night two of my homecoming.  I turned into bed very early, and somewhere in the limbo between waking and sleeping I awoke to the house shaking and a horn blaring.  I sat bolt upright in bed and yelled “JESUS!!!”

I thought I was going home, y’all.  FOR REAL.  Alas, it was just a train. 

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You may stop laughing. 

In that moment I was so ready to go to Heaven, probably because I truthfully feel  like I just don’t belong here.  Allow me to explain….

I read (operative word because we don’t have cable)  a LOT of news.  I am slightly addicted.  It seems that every time I pick up the computer I go right to a news site.  This is not a good habit.  The more I read, the worse the news seems to get. 

When you read a lot of bad stuff you start to have certain inclinations.  You look around at the world you live in and you wonder “What am I doing here?”

It shouldn’t surprise me that I feel out of place, because I don’t belong here. 

The world around holds nothing for me.  I like it, don’t get me wrong.  My little E is here, and so is my sweet husband, so I am quite contented to hang around for awhile.  All the same, I know I am not kept here because there is something else for me in it, I am kept here because He can use me somehow in it.

As a Christian I know that the more I become like Christ the less I am like the world (ideally).  It only makes sense that I would be anxious to get back to the one who made me.  Truly, I am now a visitor from a far country, waiting for the day I get to go back home.

One day I know that it won’t be a train whistle, and I seriously can’t wait for that day. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Restoration

The tan lines are fading.

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Last night, after what seemed like an endless Sunday for our family, I gave E a bath, and the scent of sand and sun washed down the drain with her shampoo.  Vacation is over and I have the unpacked luggage to prove it. 

This year vacation was highly coveted in our little family.  We have had a year full of good changes, but they too take a toll.   A week on the beach gave me some much needed time for personal reflection, and an opportunity to catch up on my frightfully neglected quiet times.

I dutifully finished my blog homework for 2 Teaching Mommies before we left, and the moment we entered the condo I shut off the outside world.  It was my retreat of silence, needed to collect my thoughts and sanity. 

My Blackberry died, and I let it.  The laptop sat neglected and collecting dust in a corner of our borrowed bedroom.  Facebook went an entire week without a status update.  Somehow I managed to go a whole week and not watch the news one time.  What’s most amazing is the world kept turning.

Instead I woke up each morning at 6, walked an empty beach overlooking the Atlantic, and spent time with my creator.  I walked with Paul, David, and Luke, meditating on the words they had written about the One who is always with me.  It was a sweet, sweet time. 

He restored my soul, just as the Psalmist said he would.

As I come back to the real world, complete with a to do list the length of a football field, I remind myself that my Lord and Savior doesn’t just meet me on the beach.  He will be there at my kitchen table each morning, eager to meet with me, and anxious to renew me with His word.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No Comparison

A couple of weeks ago my whole family headed down to the Smoky Mountains for a good ole’ family vacation.  Maybe we lost our minds, but my family is close knit, and we enjoy each others company.  For our first vacation in 8 years we went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

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Now, for those of you who have never had the privilege of visiting this mountain city, let me sum it up for you.  There are three things to do in Gatlinburg: Eat, Shop, and Spend Money.   Now, I am not trying to be cynical.  We had a FABULOUS time in our cabin, and we saw the sights of Gatlinburg.  We made some great memories, and we laughed a lot. 

It was fun….

There is just this weird juxtaposition in Gatlinburg though.  You have outlet malls, fudge shops, mini golf paradises, quirky museums, and the BEST DOUGHNUTS IN THE WORLD (ala the Doughnut Friar, a must visit in my book)

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All of this man-made glory is surrounded by this:

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Now I ask you, look at what we make:

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And He makes:

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Now, do you really question whether or not what He does is worthy of all glory, and honor, and praise? 

Me neither.

Amber1

Monday, July 18, 2011

Safe From Drowning

Because God is gracious He will often use motherhood (and all the adventures it holds) to teach me some lessons.  I should have known that teaching E to swim would be no different. 

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Now E LOVES the water.  She would live there if we let her.  In teaching her to swim we got her some arm floaties.  We knew that E would have to get used to her swim floaties, but we figured she would.  After one day in the pool, and a lot of reminding to not hold on to mommy’s bathing suit straps (I am sure someone got more of a view than they bargained for) E was not having anything to do with those floaties. 

Day 2 was a different story.  E was willing to be held at arms length.  Then she would let go.  Then she would swim between people.  She was somewhat confident in the floaties ability.  Yet, the more she swam the more we would hear her exclaim “I’m going to sink!  I’m going to sink!” 

Now, E knew that she wasn’t going to sink.  She had experienced first had that she could go all over that pool, and those floaties were going to keep her up. But, when she was afraid, those floaties and their abilities came into question. 

And I got to thinkin’….

Aren’t we like that with God?  How many times have we seen God keep us afloat, have we experienced the sufficiency of His grace, mercy, and providence and yet we question. 

We’re like E and her floaties.  We find ourselves in the middle of a situation and we start to question whether or not this time we’ll sink.  Here is your reminder. 

You’re safe from drowning in the arms of a loving God. 

Amber1

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Long and Winding Road….

Well….It is finished.

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In my last post I wrote about the huge blessing that is our first house.  The house took a little longer than expected and more than a couple of bumps in the road…

LIKE:
1) Rock.  Lots of it.  At first it was amusing, given that Jeff is a pastor.  You know that whole “Build you house on the rock” verse.  Then it just got annoying, costly, and time consuming. 

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2) People saying one thing and doing another.  “We’ll be out there tomorrow” in sub-contractor speak really translates “If I feel like it, I might come, slap at if for a bit and finish a week behind schedule.” Thankfully our contractor was wonderful and frequently, yet tactfully, laid the smack down.

3) The Weather.  Apparently I have left the state of Kentucky and moved to India.   After Monsoon Season (AKA Spring) we experienced oppressive heat.  It, um, delayed things. 

4) Our schedule.  Summer is the time when kids are out of school.  Jeff pastors kids.  That means that summer is our busiest season.  Sometime between a wedding, VBS, Church Camp, and vacation we had to MOVE.  We all kind of felt like this….

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At one point our little family had our belongings in one house, our life in the apartment, and our hands up in the air.  I don’t know if we were praying, surrendering, or pleading for it all to SETTLE DOWN.  We were sleeping on air mattresses, balancing life, and trying to remind ourselves that one day, it would all be worth it. 

Someday has come.

We are settled into our new home.  The 8-week gauntlet that was our life has been run, and we survived.   PRAISE BE TO GOD.  :)  

I will be writing some more now that life has settled!

Amber1

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Peace

If you’ve read any of the last couple of my kiddo devotions you know where my mind has been lately. 

Peace. 

I have written about relying on God, and the peace it affords us several weeks in a row.  Maybe I am hoping that by writing it, and teaching it to E, I will absorb some of it. 

Here lately though my life seems to be all about a lack of peace. 

Bumps in the night. 
Thunderstorms. 
Finances. 
Marriage. 
World events. 
Gas prices.

Stealers of my peace.  Thieves of the peace promised to me by my Lord and Savior.  A peace that I have forfeited too willingly to thoughts that keep me awake at night.  To circumstances that I can do nothing about. 

Perhaps you’re like me right now.  You need peace.  There are circumstances and situations that are swirling all around you.  Trials that you seem ill-equipped to face, temptations you feel certain you’ll fall too, relationships that are savaged and broken.  The last thing on your mind is still water.  You are in the midst of the waves and storm. 

You need peace.

Our Lord, our dear sweet Savior, gives us peace.  He LEADS us to still water, we need only follow.  

In John 17 Jesus tells us “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

He does not give as the world gives!  He gives freely.  Abundantly.  Fully.  Completely.  Absolutely.  Peace beyond all understanding. 

That is my prayer for you tonight, that you may know the peace that has been freely given to you.

Amber1

Friday, April 29, 2011

The King and His Bride

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So, I have a confession.  I am kind of pop culture junkie.  I was totally into all this royal wedding stuff.  You don’t even know how much I LOVED (stalked/obsessed/daydreamed its all kind of a blur now) Prince William in high school.  My locker was a shrine.  I knew I was marrying that boy.  I had the tabloids written…I would be the Kentucky Filly who Snagged Willy

I also had nightmares that they would run all my fat pictures with the heading Princess of Whales…

But I digress. 

So today, like countless other romantics out there, I watched as Will and Kate said “I do”.  The dress.  The vows.  The pomp and glamour.

I watched, I sighed, I swooned…

And I thought….(its a blessing and a curse folks)

You thought that this wedding was spectacular?  Church, you wait until our Bridegroom comes.

In scripture, time and time again, the church is referred to as the bride of Christ.  Revelation tells us that the Bridegroom will come for His bride, and when He does you better believe anything that you saw today will pale in comparison.

Fear not you hopeless romantics, your bridegroom is coming. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

In His Time, Part 4….

image After a time of devoted prayer, Jeff and I felt like it would be ok to explore our options regarding home ownership. 

Now the housing bubble in our town has mercifully not popped, primarily because of growth at a nearby military base.  As a matter of fact the market is slightly inflated.  This is great if your a homeowner.  Not so great if your a perspective buyer. 

After meeting with a realtor and seeing some things in the price range we were comfortable with, Jeff and I both thought that maybe staying right where we were was the best option.  Jeff is in the ministry and everything we were seeing would require a lot of elbow grease and effort.  We are willing to work hard, but we are at a point where pouring into our own home would really take away from our ministry. 

We needed to own a house, not have the house own us. 

It looked like the door to home ownership was closing.  Surprisingly I was fine with it.  We really like our current place, our landlord, the price, the location and the neighbors.  There were far worse things then renting and continuing to pour into our youth and the church where we serve. 

Then Jeff had a crazy idea.  One of our youth parents is a contractor and a friend.  Jeff suggested we go to him and find out how much it would cost to build a home. 

I laughed.  Audibly.  Insultingly.  I was like Sarah mocking Abraham.  Yeah right, we’re gonna build a house. 

Jeff called anyway. 

Now, unlike the housing market, the building market is at a 30 YEAR LOW.  It was like the perfect little storm of circumstances….

And so, in late April, or early May, we will be the proud owners of our first home.  :)  A home that we got to pick everything from the fixtures to the flooring, the cabinets to the curtain rods.  All of it. 

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Is God good, or is God good!?!?!?! 

Note:  Now, we don’t subscribe to a prosperity gospel.  Our Gospel is based off of God’s mercy, and that alone.  Please now that I prayed for a long time in posting any of this.  We are only where we are because of God’s grace and glory.  We haven’t earned, nor do we deserve, any of this.  This is evidence of God’s work, not ours.  To Him be the Glory!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

In His Time, Part 3…

image Months went by after my first taste of commitment.  Like most good things, it didn’t last too long.  Our family was hit with several trials, some health related, some financial, some spiritual. 

Our families answer to a crisis?  Prayer. 

We prayed for direction, conviction, and strength to go where God wanted us to go, do what He wanted us to do, and to not look back. 

The summer passed by, and we went into the fall with a renewed sense of vision.   Then the floodgates opened. 

We had slowly been chipping away at that pesky student loan debt of mine.  By November of last year, we made the last payment!   God blessed us beyond measure, and now we are a debt free household.  What’s better is God didn’t even need me working outside of the house to make it happen! 

Our life didn’t change the way that I thought it would.  Being debt free didn’t suddenly give us a whole bunch of money.  We kept our tight budget, except now we’re able to eat at the local Chinese buffet once every two weeks on pay day!  

The next step in our plan was saving, then we could start working on the down payment for a house…One day, like in 10 years…..

God thankfully didn’t need my time frame. 

This past December, we received an unexpected blessing, and doors started opening for us.  We started wondering if maybe, just maybe, we were being led into home ownership.  So we prayed.  And we waited.  Then we prayed.  And we waited. We prayed some more….

Then we waited. 

By January’s end, we had an answer.   

Monday, April 4, 2011

In His Time, Part 2

image That night on my drive I let go of several of my hearts desires.  One of the things that I had to let go of was the desire for a house. 

Let me clarify.  Now, wanting a house is not sinful.  It is not sinful to want a place to raise your children and provide a haven for your family.  It is sinful to lust after a house; you know, pick up a home magazine, look through all the pictures and gaze adoringly,  all in the name of “research”.  Its a sin to covet what others have, and to be so blinded by jealousy that you cannot rejoice in the way the Lord has blessed others. 

That is where I was with a house.  It wasn’t a good place.  I had to let it go. 

I tried for a long time, and I recruited a team of friends to help me let go of this desire for a house.

Slowly my eyes opened to everything that I already had.  We were more than provided for where we were.  We didn’t have a lawn to cut.  When something broke we called and someone ELSE fixed it, and paid for it.  When we had ants, we called and someone else got an exterminator.  We might not have owned a home yet, be we were able to own our time. 

At that point in our lives, time was far more a luxury than a home would have been.  I truly believe the Lord used the prayers of my friends and family to open my eyes to the blessings around me. 

When I least expected it something wonderful happened.  I found myself completely contented with my circumstances.  Ok, I had my moments of house wanting, but they were few and far between!  I knew that if we NEVER bought a house, I was going to be ok.  I looked around me and was able to see the blessings I already had:

When it was cold, I was warm
When it was warm, I was cold
When it was wet, I was dry
Our needs we’re met.  We didn’t have a house, but we had a wonderful HOME.

Suddenly I found myself in bed at night thanking the Lord for what we had, not begging Him for what I wanted.   I was humbled and amazed that He would give us all that we had. 

I truthfully got to a point where I thought “It really can’t get any better than this….

And then, it did.  

More on that later….

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In His Time

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About two years ago I really had it out with God.  I remember getting into the car outside of our apartment.  Inside said apartment was my 1 year old baby girl, and my loving husband who had graciously given me the night off to grab a cup of coffee. 

We were right smack dab in the middle of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace, and we were significantly in debt because of the student loans I took to get my Masters Degree (in my life before being a wife and mommy).  I had quit my teaching job to stay at home, and I had taken a part time job as an insurance salesman…

Yes, an insurance salesman

I kept praying to God about things, but I wasn’t trusting Him.  Truth be told I figured that if we were going to get ourselves anywhere we were going to have to dig down deep and do it ourselves.   

My hubby had other ideas.  He wanted us to wait.  Patiently.  On the Lord. 

Patience is not my chose virtue.

I thought he had lost his mind.   I had things in mind for our family.  I had ideas of where I would be one day.  They involved white picket fences, mini vans, and vacations, not coupons, apartments, and used cars.  I was discouraged. 

That night I didn’t go and get coffee.  I went and I drove, which is how I think.  I put on music, and I drive.  I prayed and I prayed, and I listened as I heard Nichole Nordeman sing to me…

“Oh the differences that often are between, what we want, and what we really need.”

That night I laid a lot of things down at God’s feet.  I let go of a lot of dreams, confident that what the Lord had for us was better than anything I could have conceived. 

I was right, and tomorrow, I will tell you how….

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Shaemus Shaun the Leprechaun

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Last week while I was visiting the Happy Home Fairy I stumbled upon the wonderful idea of making a leprechaun trap.  I posted on my facebook page that E and I would likely be making one of our own, and I looked for suitable book to read to E as a set up for our trap, but alas, none were found. 

So, I called my mom.   

Now my mom is a very talented lady, and I asked if she could maybe write me a little poem about a runaway leprechaun who people try to catch in a trap.   She wrote me this wonderful poem! 

SHAEMUS SHAUN THE LEPRECHAUN, SET OUT FOR HIS POT OF GOLD
HE HID IT AT THE RAINBOW’S END, OR SO I HAVE BEEN TOLD

THROUGH A PATCH OF FOUR LEAF CLOVERS, AND BEYOND LUSH FIELDS OF GREEN
HE CREPT ALONG LOOKING TO AND FRO, SO HE WOULD NOT BE SEEN

THOUGH HE IS SMALL AND CUNNING,HE IS VERY SLOW AND OLD
IF I CATCH HIM IN A TRAP, PERHAPS HE’LL SHARE HIS GOLD.

I WILL FIND A LITTLE BOX,AND PROP IT VERY HIGH
I WILL SET IT BY THE GARDEN, IN CASE HE PASSES BY

I WILL CRUMBLE SHAMROCK COOKIES, AND LEAD HIM TO MY TRAP
I MUST BE VERY QUIET THOUGH,PERHAPS I’LL TAKE A NAP

CAREFULLY, WHEN I AWAKE, I WILL SEE WHAT I HAVE GOT
IT MAY BE SHAEMUS SHAUN HIMSELF, OR GOLD COINS FROM HIS POT!

With her poem, you can do the following activity with your kiddo:

  • Read Shaemus Shaun the Leprechaun with your tot

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  • To match the poem you will need a couple of shamrock cookies crumbled up for bait, and then let your child go to sleep
  • While they’re sleeping, take a couple of gold chocolate coins and put them in the trap
  • When they wake up, let them check and see if they caught that mischievous little leprechaun!

I hope you all have a wonderful time with this activity!  If you take any pictures and want to share them, post them on our facebook page!  

Amber1

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tot School-The Zoo

TotSchool2E is 37 months old 

We didn’t get as much done this week in tot school as we wanted to, but here is a look at what we did get done.  You can check out more with Madonna over at A Mommy Talks.  Also, be sure and check out 2 Teaching Mommies where you can download these  lessons and printables for FREE!

Language Arts:
Our theme this week was the zoo.  We worked on beginning letter sounds with these Zoo animal clipcards.  With much help from Leap Frog, E has beginning letter sounds down.

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We also worked on some beginning writing.  The goal was to get the zoo keeper to the animals.  My hope was that we could use some of them for scissor practice also, but E really just wanted to write!

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Math: 
We practiced counting, also.  These animal counting cards helped with counting and number recognition.  E is just starting to get to the point where she doesn’t skip the number 5!  This is PROGRESS! 

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Extra:
We visited the zoo this week on our field trip.  E always love going to the zoo, and we were joined by Madonna and Lil’ Man, which made the trip a lot of fun. 

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That was our week.  I hope you had a good one too!

  Amber1