Friday, May 29, 2009

Random Photos

While the boys were running around Fort Morgan, I wandered around taking photos of things. I really wish I had more of a photographer's eye. I am sure that someone who has that kind of talent could have really gotten some great photos.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pics at Fort Morgan

We took the boys down to Fort Morgan one afternoon. They love history and knew they would love exploring the fort. Of course, they would have loved it more if I hadn't been taking so many photos.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

WFW: Lack of Knowledge

We have been enjoying a wonderful week on the beach. I can't tell you how much we have needed this time together. Lazy mornings. Going to the beach and playing in the sand, collecting shells, building castles, splashing in the waves, etc.... It should have been totally relaxing, but for some reason I can't ever turn off my Mommy radar.

You see, the red flags were flying which meant that there were very strong undercurrents and very unsafe water conditions today. One Mom sitting near us had a two year old who was wearing a life vest but he chose to take it off. He kept running to the waves and I kept standing there on edge and waiting to jump in to rescue him. All the while his Mom kept saying as she read her book, "Honey, you might need your life vest."

As we walked back to our condo a couple of teenagers were grilling on their condo and the flames were getting quite high. There are signs everywhere saying it is illegal to grill anywhere but on the grills outside in the open areas, but apparently these girls failed to notice these signs.

I just couldn't help but think of this verse from Hosea in each of these instances. How many people are being destroyed today for lack of knowledge? Not about water conditions or fire safety, but about God's Word and His will for us.

When I look at our Country right now, I worry that it is a lot of people and its leadership.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

End of School Year Photos

Forgive me while I show you a few pics that have been stored on my camera while I didn't have a computer.

Little Guy singing the only solo in the Earth Day play at his school.

Big Guy playing with the band at Awards Day

Showing off their "growth" in the classroom

Little Guy showing me the eggs in their classroom incubator.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Feeding the Birds

Since my computer arrived, I have been uploading all of the pics I have been taking over the past six weeks.

We went out to lunch one weekend to "Cock of the Walk". Like most kids, the boy gathered up all the french fries and went out to feed the birds before we headed home. I enjoyed just sitting and watching them and snapping these shots while they enjoyed themselves.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Faith and Pop Culture

In Review: The Bible says very clearly that we are to be "not of this world". However every day we make decisions and are surrounded by the world.

This eight week study explores movies, books, television, sports, violence, "R" ratings, and entertainment for Christians. I found it very fascinating that the one area that was left largely unexplored in this book was music.

One of the positives about this book is the fact that it is written in a format that will work for both a small group as well as for a large Sunday School class setting. There are two options for a group leader to choose from in leading the discussion depending on the size of the group.

I would recommend this book for a college group or even a new Christian type Sunday School class as the information never wades into very deep waters spiritually. While it opens the door for discussion, it does not necessarily do a very good job at wrapping up with good solid answers. Considering how murky and muddy the waters of entertainment are in today's culture, I would have hoped for something a little more substantial out of a study guide such as this.

Another great resource to use with this book is the Small Group Exchange. Check it out!

Book Description: An eight-week study based on articles written by today's leading Christian authors and published by Christianity Today magazines; this remarkable study fosters deep, authentic, and relevant discussion that will challenge and grow any small group. Faith and Pop Culture takes on a variety of topics, including how God can speak to us through the arts, and how Christians should discern between entertainment that is meaningful and that which is destructive.

Citizen's Arrest!

Black Betty tagged me for the following question. Apparently an email is going around asking this question and the answers are quite interested. I am almost scared to hear what you are going to say.

if you saw ME in a police car
what would you think i got arrested for?

Oh, heavens, what am I doing? Ha!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Finding an Unseen God: Reflections of a Former Atheist

Finding an Unseen God:
Reflections of a Former Atheist

by Alicia Britt Chole

In Review:

God loves us so much. He never quits pursuing us. Even when we are confused by the circumstances of our life and the surroundings we might have been raised in, He knows that He created us to desire Him.

What a refreshing read of one woman's journey from a life of atheism to a discovery of just how much God loves her. Alicia writes to share her story not to try to convince anyone that she is right or wrong which makes her testimony all that more compelling.

Alica did not come to her faith easily. She prefers fact to emotion. Alicia says she "is a fierce realist who prefers unanswered questions over fairy tales."

This book is presented with a crossword theme and the chapters are numbered randomly which immediately put my mind into a tailspin. My well ordered world was trying to make sense of this crazy book, but in a way I felt that was what Alicia had been trying to do all of her life. Her life was in a tailspin until God was introduced and she realized that He had all of the answers that she was looking for.

Book Description:

Truth is dead.
God never lived.
Life is filled with pain.
Death is the end of life.

These beliefs formed Alicia Britt Chole's worldview as a young woman. "I sincerely believed that there was no God," she says. "As a young Atheist, I simply considered myself a realist who preferred unanswered questions over fairy tales."

Then one day, without warning, Alicia's Atheistic worldvew was shattered.

Creatively written, Finding an Unseen God opens a window into Alicia's surprising spiritual journey. With warmth, intellect, and compassion, Alicia invites us to carefully consider what we believe and do not believe, while she paints a vivid portrait of a God who relentlessly pursues even those who deny him.

Finally Here!!

It has been forever, but it is finally here.     I thought my boys were going to go ballistic when the UPS man drove up yesterday and they saw the box in his hand.      He was FINALLY delivering my COMPUTER!

My old computer broke back at the beginning of April.    It took me a few weeks of stalking bargain sites to find a laptop I could afford and that would fit my needs.      I placed my order on April 27th and it is just now being delivered.

So, blogger friends, here I sit on my couch typing you my first post from my new computer.    I am so glad to be back online and not having to borrow my sweet husband's computer!    

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

WFW: No Stumbling Block

My Big Guy just finished his first year in middle school. We will be leaving town this weekend to go to the beach for nine days to rest and recuperate from what was a long, completely draining year. Middle school is nothing short of a nightmare.

In addition to adjusting to the pressures of middle school, we are definitely starting to discuss more and more the social pressures: drinking, smoking, drugs, bad language, cheating, plagarism, pornography, etc... Anytime you begin discussing these things, your children ask you how you made your own decisions.

So many things influenced me in my decisions about all of these things, but Scripturally, none influenced me more than the verse above:

Let us not pass judgment on one another any longer,
but rather decide never to put a
or hindrance in the way of a brother (sister).

Like it or not, I know that people base their opinions based off what they see. I did not want to reflect poorly on my Lord because of words that came out of my mouth due to cussing or because questioned my faith because they saw me walking in a liquor store.

Now that I have children I know that my decisions not to do all of these things are playing a role in their decisions also. Will they make the same decisions as I have made? I am not sure, but I am praying, guiding them and leaving their decisions to them and God.

Ultimately, every person's relationship with God is between them and their Heavenly Father, but I feel strongly convicted that I am need to work as hard as I can not to be a stumbling block. I fail miserably... a lot... but I keep trying every day with the Lord's guidance.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shock and Devastation

On Saturday morning, I woke up to the news that a childhood friend had not only lost her home, but her children in an nighttime fire.    I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me.   

Trey and Jennifer woke up to their home totally engulfed in flames.    Trey, an assistant fire chief, grabbed his radio off the nightstand and called his fire station frantically to let them know that his own house was on fire.    Immediately he put his fire training to use and kicked out the air conditioner unit in their bedroom to get Jennifer to safety.     He began to crawl to get to the rooms of his 22 month old and 4 year old sons: Tyler and Hadyn.     Unfortunately, the smoke was so thick and the flames so overwhelming that it was already too late.   Sweet Tyler and Hadyn had already died due to smoke inhalation.

Fire and police units from around the county arrived just 3 minutes after Trey called in to his own fire house.    When they arrived they said smoke and flames are coming from every window.

Today at 1:00, Trey and Jennifer have to face the awful nightmare of burying their two precious boys.     I can't wrap my mind around it.    

I know I don't even have to ask you to be surrounding them with prayer today.    They are going to need every ounce of strength they can get to make it through today, and even worse, the days ahead without their precious boys.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Higher Hope

In Review:    Hubs and I have been hooked on Robert Whitlow books for a LONG time.    Whitlow has a John Grisham type writing style which makes Hubs' very happy.    Despite the fact that I have never met a Grisham book I liked (don't shoot me), I LOVE Whitlow's books.  

"Higher Hope" is a court drama about Tami who is a law clerk.     Tami is also a Christian.    A Christian in the law profession?   Isn't that an oxymoron?!?    Anyway, Tami is very dedicated to her relationship with God and isn't willing to compromise.   However, she finds that her faith will be challenged and potentially either grounded or shaken when a high profile case involving a preacher who is thought to have unusual and even supect ways in reaching people.     

In Tami's personal life, she has two men pursuing her.     She takes both of these men home to meet her family and you get a lot of insight into why she is the way she is during these visits.    

Despite the fact there are two parallel story lines going on, it is very easy to read and you will find it very difficult to put down because just when you thought you had it all figured out, you will realize that you were WRONG!

To see all of Robert Whitlow's AMAZING books, visit his website.

Book Description: The Tides of Truth series follows one lawyer’s passionate pursuit of truth--in matters of life and the law.

Competition is tough at the Savannah law firm where Tami Taylor serves as a law clerk. But Tami’s work sets her apart--and the firm’s partners see something special in her. So they assign her to a libel case against an abrasive, outspoken preacher who is either a prophet or a lunatic.

On the surface it appears to be an open and shut case; the preacher seems fully outside the bounds of law. And Tami’s strict religious upbringing could be the firm’s ace-in-the-hole. But as the investigation continues, Tami is troubled by the preacher’s uncanny prophetic abilities. And their client seems to be hiding something.

Tami returns to her hometown, struggling with several critical choices--as two very different men from the firm vie for her heart. Just when the challenges seem insurmountable, hope for Tami arrives from a surprising place. And it’s a higher hope than she’s ever imagined.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Field Trips With Friends

Little Guy is in the gifted class at his school. He has the most amazing gifted teacher ever. Recently she took them on a field trip to the planetarium and the Natural Science Museum to see some exhibits and movies that supplemented some things that they had been studying.

Here is Little Guy with his friends on the nature path at the Natural Science Museum looking for things that they have been studying.

Little Guy and J. This is absolutely his best friend. They share the same birthday and love exactly all the same things. They are teased all the time about being "boyfriend/girlfriend" but they don't let that bother them. They are friends "ONLY" as they say and are glad to have a friend who like the same things.

The group!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Just Add A Monkey

Big Guy is not the only one to take a trip with our church. Little Guy went to New Orleans zoo with our children's ministry.

This picture cracked me up because it looks like the leopard is on his head and his expression is just goofy.

Little Guy loved all the unique pathways and places to explore throughout the zoo.

If I could be any animal...

By far his favorite part of the day was the dinosaur exhibit..

They apparently spent a lot of time at the hands-on part of the zoo.

Time to go home, but Little Guy says we need to go back soon!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

WFW: Be Joyful

Be joyful always; pray continually;
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

(I borrowed today's photo from my friend
Amy Deanne who hosts each Wednesday's Word Filled Wednesday. )

So many of us wonder about what God's will is for our lives. We think complicated and materially, but God thinks very differently than we do. In fact, He very plainly tells us of His will for us in His Word. Just like in this verse:

Not just to be joyful, but ALWAYS.
Not just to pray, but CONTINUALLY.
Not just to give thanks, but in ALL circumstances.

That verse is easy to say, but very different to live. As someone who has lived through life changing challenges this past year, I know that this verse is one that seems to mock you in the moment. You have to choose... lean on the everlasting arms or dwell in the mire of your situation.

As someone who has been leaning... I can tell you that there is no better place to be.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Father Son Weekend

Imagine being a guy and stepping on a bus and having the leader announce, "O.K. guys, this weekend is all about us.   You can do all the offensive things you want to and no one is going to say "ewwww!"    Let loose and just be guys!"      Can you imagine how great that would be for a bus load of middle school boys AND their Dads?   

That is the weekend my Big Guy and hubs embarked on when they went on our Annual Middle School Father Son Retreat.     Silly me thought thought the main event of the weekend was canoeing, but that was just what the Moms thought.   

The real fun?   The cabin which was built to hold 250 people.     Which meant 250 mattresses.   Which meant the 50-60 people that went with our group had a LOT of fun.

Here is Big Guy (2nd from left) with a group of his friends watching some of the action...

What do you do with 250 mattresses?   Build a HUGE wrestling pit!!!

Or you pile them up to see how high you can get them before you can't jump over them anymore.   The answer?    11 matresses high

The front of the cabin.   They could play basketball, ripstick or skateboard.  The guys said it was awesome!

 The view from the front porch drinking your morning coffee or chocolate milk...

Even with all that fun at the cabin, they went canoeing.     They came home bruised and banged up.   Not from the canoeing, but from jumping in all the shoots and "waterfalls".    

Based on their stories and all the laughter, I think the trip was definitely a success.

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Wonderful Boys

I love my boys.      You know that though, don't you?     I woke up Saturday morning to my boys covered in dirt and smiling from ear to ear with my Mother's Day surprise.   They had planted my flower beds for me.     They did this last year and those flowers lasted all summer.     People commented all summer on how pretty and how long my flowers lasted.    I just told them it was a special growing ingredient -- love.   

Growing plants and flowers is not my forte.   I have one of the blackest thumbs around.    I can kill a silk plant.    My Mammaw had a beautiful yard full of every kind of plant and flower you could imagine.     She could pluck off a sprig from someone's plant and nurture it into a full grown garden.     My Mom can grow flowers and gardens.    Somehow the "garden" gene skipped me entirely.   Thankfully, my boys seem to have caught it.

I couldn't help but hug my boys every time they passed me (I told them it was a Mother's Day rule) yesterday.     I love being a Mom.     I love everything about it.    Is it easy?  No.    Would I trade it for anything in the world?    Absolutely not.      

My heart was stolen from the moment I looked into their eyes and I never intend to give it back!

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Love To Last Forever (Book #2)

In Review: A Love To Last Forever is the follow up book to A Promise to Believe. (So of course, you need to buy both books for the beach?!?)

Beth is adventurous -- in her heart. She travels the world and has many adventures through the pages of the many books she reads. In life, all she really wants is a cookie cutter life. A husband in a house with a normal, regular routine. Of course, somehow everyone's normal has different meanings and for Nick, the man who adores Beth with every breath he takes, his past makes normal almost as complicated as her dime novels.

The theme of this book seems to be "Seek First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness." I really enjoyed that reminder that permeated this book. It came at a good moment for me. Seeking God in His Word first is a struggle that I think a lot of people have today. Seeing this played out in this book was a wonderful part of the story line and I really appreciated that being such a strong presence.

Book Description: All Beth Gallatin has really wanted out of life is to settle down in one town, with one man, and raise a family. But with her father's roaming ways, she's always been denied that dream; instead, she found solace in reading romantic books. With her father's passing, she can, for the first time, dare to claim the rugged Montana frontier as her home.

Nick Lassiter has loved Beth since she first came to town, but she's always seemed to think of him more as a brother. Just when he finally gets Beth to consider him, however, a challenger threatens the affection growing between them. But neither Nick nor Beth is prepared when they must face the consequences of Nick's complicated past.

A Promise To Believe In (Book #1)

In Review: Some girls have all the luck. Some girls have all the pain. That isn't necessarily how the song goes, but it definitely seems to be the theme song of Gwen's life. She has convinced herself that she is cursed and somehow she has convinced herself that it is Biblical for certain people to be cursed. Of course it doesn't help that her husband dies ten days after they are married and her father is killed by a stray gun shot.

When a stranger shows up claiming to be her husband's brother after her husband said he didn't have any family at all she just figures this is icing on her already cursed cake of life.

Her cake starts to crumble when this stranger starts breaking through her hard shell and making his way to her heart.

Seriously, if you haven't started buying your books for summer reading, add this to your list!

Book Description: Life's tough on the Montana Territory, especially for the three sisters running the Gallatin Roadhouse---guilt-ridden Gwen, romantic Beth, and headstrong Lacy. Gwen was married at 22, but her husband, Harvey, died 10 days later. When his brother, Hank, turns up looking for stocks he claims Harvey stole, Gwen's perplexed. Will Hank steal her heart?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Love Is A Verb

In Review: Hubs and I were newly married when we heard about Chapman's "Love Is A Choice" marriage weekend. Like most honeymooners we had both experienced that moment when we woke up and said, "Wow! We really did it. We got married and we are like *gulp* together for the rest of our lives." Those sweet feelings of love weren't so sweet the first time I almost fell into the toilet in the middle of the night because he left the toilet lid up. The same went for him the first time he got a concussion because I left the kitchen cabinet door open and his 6' 5" frame ran into it while walking through the kitchen.

That marriage enrichment seminar taught us so much about making that decision to make a daily choice to love each other. To make love a verb.

While you may be tempted to think that this book is a book just about marriage, it isn't. It is a book of forth short stories where people have made the decision to make love a verb in their life and the impact has been life changing.

I feel a little biased in reviewing this book as I am such an admirer of Chapman. I would definitely recommend this book!

Book Description:

Gary Chapman, bestselling author of The Five Love Languages, shares forty uplifting true stories from everyday people like

  • Doris, who chose to love her husband when what she really wanted to do was run away
  • Loretta, whose family was mended by love in action
  • Faith, who learned how to love a mother who had become a stranger
  • Laquita, who finally fell in love with her husband after forty years
  • Jackie, who found the courage to love someone who seemed truly unlovable
  • Because love isn't just a feeling.
    Love is a choice, and love is something we all need to do.
    Love is a verb.

    Wednesday, May 6, 2009

    WFW: Applause

    I love being a Mom.    My boys have given me insight into my God in new ways.   

    *  I love my boys in a way that I have never loved anyone before.   Their cries literally make my heart ache.
    *   When my boys laugh, I love laughing with them.
    *   When my boys cry, I want to see them comforted.
    *   If I see my boys needing something, I want to make sure that they are provided for.
    *   When someone hurts their feelings I want to wipe their tears and make everything better.

    Doesn't God want to do all those things and MORE for us?    When I compare how much more God has done and has promised for us it humbles me so much.    After all,  the same God whose hands were nailed to the cross are willing to hold mine while I walk through this life.

    Like my Heavenly Father, I intend to stand by my boy's sides and love them unconditionally, following His example.

    Tuesday, May 5, 2009

    Coffee or Tea?

    You Are Coffee

    You are highly ambitious and goal oriented. You feel like there isn't enough time in your day to get it all done.

    You are outgoing and creative. You love talking with people, thinking up crazy plans, and then acting immediately on them.

    When it comes to caffeine, you'd like a refill. You can almost always use an energy boost.

    Life is too short. You're going to get as much out of it as you can. You live for today.

    Monday, May 4, 2009


    It was completely dark as the first song began playing.    Slowly, one at a time, tiny candles were lit.    Candles placed inside bags which bore the names of people who have fought cancer.    Moms, Dads, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Brothers, Sisters.  

    Out of the darkness a figure appeared and stood alongside the track keeping watch over one of the bags.    For some reason, the candle inside the bag would not stay illuminated so anytime a candle lighter would pass the figure would silently motion for the candle to be relit.      It wasn't long before I could feel tears running down my face watching the determined vigil over this candle.   

    Relay participants were asked to walk silently in the darkness around the track observing the names on the bags.   The figure didn't budge.    With the sound of the flag flapping and the crickets chirping, the track was packed with people walking in complete silence.      As I stepped off the track at our booth, the first lights were turned on and I caught a glimpse of the figure who had been standing guard over the bag.      He was a teenager and he wore a purple shirt - one that meant:  cancer survivor.

    Out of all the things I could tell you about the Relay for Life Friday night.    This one event is probably the thing that I will remember the longest and have the biggest impact on me.    

    Friday, May 1, 2009

    Warranty's Up

    Apparently when I turned 41, my body decided my warranty was up.     I have been having the most random assortment of physical ailments.

    First I began having chest pains.      It kind of felt like I had been running in the cold and when I took a breath it hurt.    I mentioned this on Facebook and several good friends (K Storm) told me to go get it looked at immediately.     My doctor said, "Your heart is fine, but you have pleurisy."     What?   

    Next I was Sitting on the couch a few weeks ago I had a stabbing pain in my ear.      It hurt all night and so I called my doctor and told him I had an ear infection.      He asked how I knew and I told him, "What else could it be?"    He said, "Come in."    So I did.     He quickly decided that I didn't have an ear infection, but just TMJ from grinding and clenching my teeth.    

    So you understand my hesitancy when my side started hurting two weeks ago.    I just said I had pulled a muscle at some point working.   Finally this week after three nights of not sleeping because of the pain I went and saw my doctor AGAIN!     He immediately said, "It is your gallbladder."    While he did the victory dance of diagnosis (Ha. Ha.  Just Kidding.), I tapped him on the shoulder and said, "I don't have a gallbladder OR an appendix."      So, he did some tests and said, "You have.... I don't know, but I am going to find out."     He said that he was going to treat me for a condition that basically is a ripping away of the cartilage from the ribs.      His prescription was five days of megadoses of steroids/anti-inflammatories and rest (no work or lifting).    He said if this did not help then he wanted me to come back for some more in depth testing.    

    Here is why I am posting about this:    I am on Day 3 of the megadoses of medicine and I am still hurting.   

    So, I need to add one more prescription to the mix.     Would you guys be praying?      I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks.... and if you haven't hit 41 yet, watch out.   Apparently you need to get an extended warranty!   Ha!

    Have a GREAT, GREAT weekend!