Wednesday, April 27, 2011
There are six CDs in all.
Seeds of Faith
Seeds of Praise
Seeds of Courage
Seeds of Purpose
The Power of Encouragement
and their newest which will be out May 3rd...but you are welcome to pre-order now...
Seeds of Character
I have three, and I just ordered three more to finish our collection. I love this ministry, not only can you use it to plant the seeds of God's word in the hearts of our little ones, but, you can share God's word with others at the same time. Each Cd comes as a set of two with a perferated edge that you can tear off to give one of the CDs to a friend or neighbor. Don't you just love that?! I mean who does that? That's completely awesome! What a creative and unique way to open a door to share the gospel with others, or to encourage a friend who is trying to raise their little ones in the love of the Lord. I shared my first three copies with my friend and neighbor Katie. ~OK Katie, we so need a new picture of us together;)
The Lord knew I was going to need a friend/neighbor like Katie, because I was absolutely spoiled having Datha next door for five years, and she is such a sweetheart. We share a lot of mommy advice with each other and try to encourage and pray for one another. She blessed me with this earlier this last month as we were pulling out all our books for the Spring and Easter season. So, I wanted to share this blessing with her. My kids are loving it. We have a 30 minute drive to school evry morning and this is a perfect way to start our day. I love to hear them sing, but, more than that they are learning scripture. It's a beautiful thing! I wanted to leave you with a song from my favorite album so far The Power of Encourgement.
If I can't seem to get it to play here in this post -it will be in a seperate post...
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
This last Sunday, after church and lunch, as I was doing dishes and trying to tidy up around the house, my son came to me and said, " Momma, I want to tell Jesus I love him. I want to tell him I love him and thank him for dying on the cross for us." I stopped and sat down with him to pray. Listening to him pray, I was filled with so many emotions. I was so happy for him. I was so proud of him, and yet I was heart broken at the same time. As Easter draws near and I think about what this time of year means, for us as Christians. It is so bittersweet. I'm thankful and filled with sorrow all at the same time. It's hard to look at the pain He endured. It's even harder to face the sin in your life that put Him there. I'm moved beyond words at how much He loved us. We are no longer captives to sin and death, but, set free through the death and ressurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the most beautiful thing to see your children come to understand and fall in love with Jesus. I pray that he falls in love with Him more and more everyday. I pray that he will allow Him to become not only his savior, but, his Lord. I'm so thankful that the Lord allowed me to share this moment with my son. What a special blessing for this Easter season.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Hugh and I also had the opportunity to spend the weekend before Valentine's down in New Orleans together. Demetria was running her first half marathon and we wanted to be there to cheer her on. We originally planned to take the kids with us, but, our sweet friends Shelia and Ashley offered to keep them for us. They have three of their own, so we were like are you sure?! -but they insisted. In fact, they called us during our trip just to tell us how much they were enjoying our sweet babies, and they were proud of us for taking a little time for ourselves. (Thank you God for such great friends! ) We had a blast! I was a little nervous about leaving them for the weekend, but, knowing we were leaving them in good hands with people we trust made all the difference in the world. It was nice to get away and reconnect with my husband too.
I never knew what a romantic place New Orleans could be, but let me tell you I can't wait to go back. We got into NOLA around eight o'clock Friday evening just in time to freshen up and make our dinner reservations at The Bombay Club. This was by far my favorite place we found down in New Orleans.
The ambiance, music, and food was perfection, very dark and quaint, some where you feel like you might run into Frank Sinatra. It had an old supper club kind of feel to it.
I love the dark wood and over stuffed leather. It was very relaxing.
This was our table right next to the court yard.
It's known as the best martini bar in town, but I'd go back again and again for the jazz. In fact we did. After dinner on Saturday night, we went back just to listen to Leroy Jones. Here is a sample of his music I found on YouTube. (Please feel free to pause my music player, so you can listen.)
We walked every where the entire weekend. Only once or twice did we take a cab, but, if you stay in the french quarter, as we did, you can get just about any where a lot quicker by walking. Besides, what could be more romantic than strolling hand in hand through a new city together. Saturday morning, we met our friends Jason and Capri at Cafe Du Monde for coffee and beignets. Everyone goes to to Cafe Du Monde for the beignets, but, I have to say that as a true coffee lover it was the cafe au lait that was my start to a perfect day there. After an hour or so we decided to walk around Jackson Square and The French Market. The center of Jackson Square was filled with art and artists, and the outside is lined with shops and boutiques. We also walked through St. Louis Cathedral.
The French market offered everything from a farmers market of fresh fruits and vegetables to local artists and vendors. Here is a little treasure I found there.Isn't it perfect with our colors here in the guest bathroom?
After spending the morning walking the French Quarter with our friends, we made our way to Commander's Palace for a two o'clock brunch. We sat in the garden room surrounded by windows, over looking a large oak. I tried turtle soup for the first time. It was not for me, even with the drizzle of sherry added, but I wanted to try something new, and now I know. Hugh and I enjoyed our brunch and spent the afternoon walking through the garden district, looking at all the ridiculously gorgeous houses. We snapped a few pictures with our iphones. I think his (Above) takes better pictures than mine (Below.)
Then we met Demetria,Kevin and the boys back at the hotel to visit. They met friends for dinner, and we decided to walk Magazine Street. We went into a few antique shops and jewelry stores, and Hugh took me to Sucre, a sweet boutique.Seriously people, this place is like Tiffany's for chocolate lovers. We bought a small box to take home for later, and I got a bag of their marshmallows, as well. We were still full from brunch at 8:30pm, and decided to cancel our nine o'clock reservation at Brennan's. It was highly recommended by a few friends. We will just have to try it next time. We decided on a light dinner and headed back to the Bombay Club, for a little more jazz. We left there close to midnight, and walked down Bourbon Street on our way back to our hotel. We caught a few minutes of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band playing and a dueling piano show. We haven't stayed out that late in years, but it was fun, kinda like we were dating again.
We were up and cheering Demetria on early the next morning. I am so proud of her, so proud. She started running a little over a year ago and this was her first half marathon. She was a rock star, breaking even her best time. Kevin and their boys made signs and we were all cheering for her when she passed the nine mile marker. Then we raced to get to the finish line in time to see her cross it. It was awesome!
We spent the rest of the day having lunch and taking a carriage ride all together down at Jackson square. Hugh and I went to a few shops on Royal street before picking up the kids and driving back home. I was able to find a beautiful dress I'm going to save for Easter. We really had a wonderful time and have a list of places we want to visit, when we go back. Hugh and I have never taken a vacation since our honeymoon ten years ago. This was our first ever weekend away, and it was so wonderful. Worth the wait.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Datha and I met while teaching, before I had children, and we became friends almost immediately. She is one of the most nurturing caregivers I have ever known. I call her the baby whisperer. I have seriously seen her take a crying baby into her arms, whom she did not know, and had him completely calm within seconds. I am not exaggerating. It's as if she emits some nurturing motherly pheromone and children are drawn to her. It still amazes me. We have had the opportunity to work together, and we've learned so much from each other over the years, not just in terms of teaching, but just life in general. We seek each others advice on everything from motherhood to ministry.
Mark and Datha are both educators and they both work in full time ministry. They also have three beautiful children. They were talking about having a fourth baby, when Mark shared with Datha that the Lord had impressed upon him that they were going to add to their family through foster care. Specifically that they were going to adopt through foster care. So, they prayed about it and started the necessary classes. Within the first six months they opened their home and hearts to three different children, all of whom would eventually leave and be reunited with their own families. It was wonderful and heartbreaking all at the same time. That's just from my perspective, because I cried with Datha each time she had to send a little one home. Aside from the hopes that this child may be the one, it's hard to send a little one you love back into what may be a precarious situation. You just don't know. You may never know. You may never see them again, and that's hard. Datha said she takes heart in knowing that no matter where they go they will always have two people who will pray for them for the rest of their lives. Maybe that in itself is the reason why God has brought them into their lives. There is something so simple and yet so profound in that statement that it makes me emotional just sharing it here with you. To think that the Lord would take them so far down this road, and allow them to feel so deeply, so they might never forget to pray. Would our great and mighty God orchestrate all that so that these little ones would never be forgotten? Absolutely! That is what is so beautiful about their story. But, it's not over yet.....
Our Lord is faithful. He never forgets His promises. After six months the opportunity came for them to adopt a beautiful little twelve month old boy. His parents had relinquished all rights and he had been passed over by two other couples because he is a special needs child. The agency knew the fact he was special needs would not matter to Mark and Datha. They invited them to come and meet him and to see if they would like to take him into their family. It was an answer to every one's prayers. To God be the glory.
We had the chance to meet him when they came to stay with us during the Christmas holidays. He is precious. I got to spoil him just a bit with a new toy and blankie from his Tiffy. I did not include pictures of him, because it is part of procedure until his adoption is finalized, at the end of May. I just feel so blessed to be a witness to all of this and to help them celebrate and welcome him home.
Adoption is so important. There is such a need and I admire anyone willing to consider opening their hearts and homes. Hugh and I don't feel that the Lord is calling us to adopt, but there is no reason why we can not support and encourage others in their journey to adopt. The Lord asks us to care for orphans and widows, and to give fair judgment to the poor, the afflicted, the fatherless, and the destitute. He also says that whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you do for me. We are all called in some capacity to help. As long as we are willing, He will use us, even if in some small way. Please pray for this special family. -Thank you.
Monday, January 24, 2011
I was inspired by an idea I got from a couple raising four children; a seventeen year old son, a fourteen year old son, a twelve year old daughter and a son who was around the age of four or five. The couple shared about how they don't give their children allowances. They believe that each member of the family is responsible for doing their part to help the household run to the best of it's ability. Instead they helped each child pick something they could do to make money of their own and then taught them how to manage that money through saving, investing and a checking account. Their oldest son learned to detail cars, and he was so good at it he was getting more business than he could handle on his own, so he hired some of his friends to work with him. Within a year or so he owned his own small business and employed five of his friends. Their fourteen year old son made and managed his money through mowing lawns. Their twelve year old daughter started baking with her mother and turned that into their own little side business right out of their home. Their youngest son started collecting and recycling aluminum cans in order to make money. I decided to try the last idea with my own children.
My parents always taught me to leave things better than the way you found them. While I am not a full on, go green, all natural kind of mom, I respect and admire those who are, and I try to learn as much as I can from them. My children (who are three and four) and I started collecting cans back in Ohio to help out a neighbor. Now, we collect them and split the money between their piggy banks. This has given me an opportunity to teach them about reusing and recycling things that we normally might just throw away. It has also given me a chance to start talking to them about tithing and giving money to those in need. These are challenging concepts for a three and four year old, but, it's a start.
I hope this little project is something we can build on in years to come, something I can hand over to them to take care of on their own. I want them to learn to be resourceful, and to leave things better than the way they found them.
Here are a few pictures I have taken over the last couple months. Three full bags of cans off to the recycling center.
Another trip another day with two bags.
This is where we drop off our bags to be weighed and added to the truck.
We have also started recycling boxes.
Such good helpers!
This is a picture of the junk yard, where we drop off our cans to be recycled. The kids think it's fascinating to watch the diggers and cranes and all the men at work. And I think it's great for them to see the people who work in our community and make it a better place.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Featuring: children's author Sara Anderson and her work.
I happened upon these lovelies as I was browsing through Jr. Square Books today after our story hour. The first two are beginner board books that are great for very young children up through early childhood or early elementary first time readers. The rhyme and rhythm Anderson uses gives such a great flow to each of these. "Huckleberry-strawberry-watermelon-plum
apricot-mango Let's have some!"
As you can see, she also uses vibrant colors in her illustrations as well. Interestingly, Anderson was a well known artists for years before becoming a children's author. Her work has even been featured in The Museum of Modern Art in New York and other places across the globe. Her technique has always featured a dynamic colored-paper cutout feel of collage (—Review from the Seattle Weekly December 14, 2005.)
The last selection, Farmers Market would be a great selection for preschoolers and early elementary readers. The text is in rhyming quatrains, but, the illustrations are still what drives the book. It is just beautiful to look at. I love this because we visit our local farmers market every week, sometimes twice a week and know the people there by name. This is a wonderful set of books to introduce your children to colors, fruits and vegetables, and the people in your community who grow and raise them. You can also use them to support healthy habits and foster a budding awareness of our small business owners and community workers. Maybe it will lead you to start your own family garden. I love to follow up books with field trips or projects that give my children a chance to learn kinesthetically, as well as, audio and visually. It all builds on top of each other.
This is a little late since it is now Thursday, but, I will have this up for a couple days. Thank you to our gracious hostess, Sarah Denley. I am so glad she is hosting this weekly feature, because I'm a little obsessed with literature, especially children's literature. I hope some of you will join in this weekly feature as well. I love getting new ideas from other moms and teachers out there. ~Blessings!