Monday, January 31, 2011

Not Me Monday - High Heels and Vacuum Cleaners

I've been grounded from exercising for the past six weeks.  I'm sure that I could have started back a couple of weeks ago, but Josh requested that I take the doctor's orders to heart.

And I'm always an obedient wife;)

That being said, I'd never let myself get SO out of shape that just vacuuming would send my arms screaming in protest, especially if I still had 3 more rooms to go!

Nope, not me.

That's just crazy.

I mean, who actually gets a work-out by vacuuming their house?  Really?!

OK, so maybe I can see vacuuming as a workout, but wearing high heels?

I'd never wake up on a Monday morning with the most horrible ache in my butt, back and thighs,
later to realize that it was merely from wearing high heels all morning at church.

No way! Not me.

That would just be embarrassing.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Water Gauge

This is about 2 days droopy.
Whey my plant reaches this stage of droopiness
I know that I have another 2-3 days before water is mandatory.

(kind of like when the gas light comes on.
You're good for another 30 miles or so:)

And this is how I gauge when my plants need some water:)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Story In Pictures - Hair

BEFORE
long, whispy
 curly, mullet.
 What a cutie though!
Just look at him.

 **insert sniffles and tears**
Well, not really, but pretty close...

AFTER

 Don't look too close, I had to work fast.
Man, he's squirmy!
 He's still a chunk, but at least he's a manly chunk!

I gave Micaiah his first haircut on Thursday,
much to Josh's surprise.  
Woops. I think it's growing on him, though.
And Areyna made sure to tell me 
with every cut of my scissors 
that she did NOT approve.
But I think she likes it now too.
Shew...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fun Facts For Friday

I ran across this blog last weekend and I simply cannot stop reading and praying and reading some more.  I catch myself sitting and wondering what the latest update is. Go see how the Lord is working in the life of the Heim Family.  I promise you, it will stir something in your heart and make you re-evaluate the things that are truly important to you!

Okay, so I'm a little ashamed to admit this but Josh and I watched the movie, "I'm Still Here".  First of all, I am not recommending this movie in the LEAST!  Second, we had the movie muted over half the time because he used the F-bomb in EVERY sentence, at least once, and totally skipped many, many scenes.  But, I simply can't stop thinking about it.  This was a documentary on the life of a movie star who called it quits to take a stab at the music industry.  He was awful at rapping, by the way.  But the way he treated his friends, and talked to everybody, and his selfish attitude...terrible.  It turns out that it was all made up, but the thing that gets me is that he wasted 2 years of his life to film this supposed documentary...and for what?!  I just can't imagine what in the world made him want to do that.  What a waste.  Yet another thing that has made me re-evaluate the things that are truly important to me!

Oh, The Pioneer Woman...
I just ventured onto her sight and I may or may not have glanced around for hours a few minutes the other day.  Oh yes, I've heard of her from several friends and seen links all over the intersphere (yes, I made that word up), but I hadn't really taken the time to figure out what she was all about.  And ALL about is right.  Why is it that all the cool moms have smiles on their faces while cutting onions, get giddy over homeschool projects, have cookbooks named after them and take the most fabulous photos?  You may perceive bitterness at first glance, but in all actually she has really inspired me.  I went on her cooking site and printed several easy recipes to try on my guy next week.  So,
Dear Mrs. Pioneer Woman, 
Maybe we can be friends after all.
Just give me some time.  I'm a slow learner 
in the domestic department.
Go check out her website, nope it's not just a blog folks, and learn something new!

Like I mentioned earlier this week, I had the privilege of speaking for a group of women in Henderson last Tuesday.  I titled my talk "Love and Freedom".  I think that it has consumed me so much this week because the exact same things I spoke on were the exact same things that have bombarded me with force over the past week.  Funny how that works, isn't it?  I'll outline it for you all next week (I know you're on pins and needles Ashley;)

This one is just for fun...and sanity!
I've read about chore charts.  I've done chore charts.  I've neglected chord charts (we always end up losing momentum).  But when I read this post and saw the words, "And the toilets get flushed", I knew that I'd found a NEW kind of chart category for my kids.  Geesh, do I really need a sign on the kids/guests, notice they are one and the same, bathroom above the potty to remind ALL who enter, including our social worker for the Home Study, to Flush and Wash...*sigh*

My book came out this week.  You may have gathered that I am pretty excited about it:)  I gave myself NO expectations for it.  I felt like the Lord gave me the ideas and the will to do it, so I did, and pray that other families will be blessed by it.  So, when I found out that I have 3 churches, from Oklahoma, South Carolina and North Carolina, showing interest in doing it with their children's ministries you better believe I was ecstatic.  If you are a church interested in doing this with your ministry, please have a staff member contact me so that I can mail you a FREE copy to review to see if it is something that would work for your ministry!  It is also now available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Getting Old

My birthday was last Monday so, of course, Josh had a steamy hot date night planned out for us.

We actually hired a babysitter, what?!  No "At-Home Date Nights" for a birthday celebration:)

So, when the babysitter got here we ran out the door, ready for a full night of activities.

Our first stop was the Kid's Exchange at the NC Fair Grounds.  I was selling some stuff for the sale and wanted Josh to see first-hand just what a fraction of the chaos that ensues at this event, so he went with me to drop some stuff off.

Next stop, Amadeo's for dinner.  We used to go there on dates before kids when we were in seminary.  It holds a special place in our hearts now:)  Not to mention it's awesome food.
FYI: You should always share an entree from this restaurant.  Unless, of course, you are planning leftovers for dinner the next night so you can take advantage of someone else preparing the meal.  But who actually does that?  Not me, ha!

Then we headed out to get some coffee, of course.  What date night doesn't involve some coffee with my best friend?!

It was only 9:15pm by then and we figured we had until 12 so we had plenty of time to do...

...hmmm, what SHOULD we do?  We don't really like sitting in movies on dates.  First of all, you don't do anything with each other except sit together, plus if you compare it to the price of a document for our Adoption Dossier, it's SO not worth it!

So,  since we were pretty close to Trader Joe's we drove by to see if they were open to get caught up on some grocery shopping.

Nope, it was a NO-GO!  They close at 9pm.

After contemplating our options, and realizing that I needed to get up to speak in Henderson the next morning, we opted to...

...brace yourselves...

GO HOME.

Yes, that's it!

Josh told me that since it was my birthday I could do whatever I wanted.  And I chose to go back to the comfort of my own home and change into something a little more comfortable;)

I must be getting old or something:)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Envelope System (For Kids) 101


Well, because of the doom that hovered over our house the entire week last week, we are just going to re-do the whole week.

I can do that can't I?  Why yes I can, because I'm the mom and I said so:)

Areyna did get two days of reading in, surprisingly.  It's the rest of the week that suffered.

We're going to work on the same Luganda words, work on the same memory verses and chapter readings and well, every other clever thing I had up my sleeve that didn't get accomplished.

So instead of all my normal homeschool and language updates I thought I'd take the time to answer a question that several of you had.

After my "Money Matters" post I've gotten several inquiries about what exactly the "envelope system" really is.

Here is my kid-friendly version.  Now, I'm sure Dave Ramsey has a much more eloquent way of describing it, but this is what I remember from when my parents taught it to me when I was young.

1 - We use the cash only system (yeah, can you imagine my kids with a debit or credit card, ha!)

2 - I sat down together with our kids and talked about the most important things our money should go toward.  We decided on these categories:  TITHE, SAVINGS, GIFTS, SPENDING.
I'm sure we will be tweaking this as they get older with more categories such as gas and clothing.

3 - We went to Wal-Mart and picked out a file box to use as their bank.

4 - We got small envelopes and drew pictures to describe which envelopes are for which category.

5 - Every "payday" we give them their $1 in dimes.  We sit down together and count it out.  We are trying to teach our kids Dave Ramsey's principal to Tithe 10%, Save 10%, and live off of 80%.  So, 1 dime goes in Tithe, 1 dime in Savings, 1 dime in gifts and the rest in spending.

It's not about the amount right now, it is about teaching the discipline of where our money goes.

What's the benefit?  Do they even know what they are doing?

One benefit for us as adults is that you know EXACTLY where each penny goes and you can see how to set your spending pace between paydays.

One benefit for doing this with kids is that when you are at a store with them and they begin whining about buying something all you have to say is, "Well, you can certainly buy that.  You'll just need to save your own money for it."

Another benefit is that our kids are realizing that they have a choice to make.  When they get extra money or find money laying around they get to choose where that money goes.  It is such an awesome to thing to watch them choose to put all their tooth fairy money in their tithe envelope or to put it in their spending or gift envelopes on their own initiative.

So, yes they are young, and they don't totally grasp the whole concept, but this is where it begins.  They are old enough to understand that our money is God's money and that He has given us a choice as to where it goes.

Let me know if you have any other questions and I'll answer them in the comment section:)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Story In Pictures: C-R-E-A-T-E

What started out as a normal family evening together
full of Superheroes 
and Fairies
turned into an entire evening project
which included a complete transformation
(and takeaway of 2 major storage spaces in our house...
oh well, it's for a good cause:)
of the little crawl space under our stairs
and turned it into a "Secret Hideout"!
With a little help from dad to line the walls with carpet scraps
and Christmas lights
and a mother's touch of organization and decoration
complete with indoor/outdoor communication
(ie soup can telephones!)
we have created the coolest environment
for any imagination!

(Andrew, I can just see our "AT" meetings happing in this crib!  
Chill out ya'll, Andrew is my little brother...)

It's Not Always A "Yes"


When you hear, "God answered our prayers" what do you immediately think of?

I just assume that the Lord said "yes" to the specific thing you were praying for.  That's just not always the case though.

I've been thinking a lot this week about the petitions we offer up to our Father.  I think because today marks 6-weeks.  Six weeks since my surgery.  Six weeks since we lost another child.  I guess I am officially off of "bed-rest" now:)

We prayed for a year to get pregnant.  The Lord answered our prayer, just not in the way we would ever have anticipated!

See, the Lord ALWAYS hears his children's prayers.  He ALWAYS answers.  He ALWAYS has our best interest in mind.

But

It isn't always a "yes" to our desires.  Sometimes it is a "No" or even a "Be patient and wait".  That last one is the hardest one for me:)

So, just because the Lord answered your prayer with a different answer than you were praying for, rejoice that the Lord, your Heavenly Father, knows what is best for you, even though you THINK you know what is best, and that He heard your prayer.  Then, walk in obedience to the answer He gave you!

The next time you hear that the Lord answered someone's prayer, ask them what His answer was and help them walk in that direction, even if it wasn't their desired one.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Oops...I Almost Kissed The Postman Today!

Well, not exactly, I opted to kiss my sexy bearded fella instead, ha!

But I was just that excited, because look what he brought me!

A book.  An actual book.  My actual book.  That I wrote.  That other's can read.  That will soon be on Amazon and at Barnes-n-Noble.  That my daughter is flipping through on the floor right now.

You may think I am way too excited about this.  But that's ok, 'cause I'm allowed, it's my blog, right?:)

So, here's what Josh wrote about the book from his blog today:


It’s here!  The first copy of my wife’s book, So MuchBigger Than the Bunny, just arrived today.  And we’re all pretty stoked around here at the Via house.  Over a year ago, the Lord put the desire in Tasha’s heart to write a devotional book for families that explains the significance of the resurrection and the weeks leading up to this glorious day that marks the centerpiece of our faith.  Wanting to provide a resource for parents to help teach their children about the resurrection and the season of Lent, Tasha embarked on her journey.  Since Tasha and I both grew up in families that did not emphasize the entire Lenten season, for good or bad, she continually felt that, although we’re not Catholic by any stretch, there are some really great emphases that can be pointed out for families and kids to learn together.  Digging in the biblical text and in the history of Israel’s passover traditions, Tasha has done her research.  And it’s on a level that kids of all ages will not only be able to understand, but will enjoy.  It’s full of hands-on activities, Scripture memory, discussion questions and more.
The book has two tracks.  1. A track that takes you through the entire season of Lent beginning on Ash Wednesday (March 9th this year), devoting about three days a week to each lesson; and 2. The Fast Track that focuses on each day of Holy Week–the week leading up to Resurrection Sunday.
I can promise you, your family will be blessed and greatly encouraged by this book as your children begin to grasp the glorious truth that Jesus is alive!  In addition to individual families, Bigger Than the Bunny would also be a great tool for children’s ministries to offer as a help and resource to parents.  So, you children’s pastors out there, make sure you get a copy and see for yourself if it’s something that can encourage the families in your church.  I know it will.  And if you purchase a copy, it will benefit our own family, as all the funds we raise from this project will go toward our adoption.
To order your copy, or to order in bulk, head over to the publisher’s site, authorhouse.com.  Here’s the direct link.

FYI: This is a discounted rate of what it will be going up, from what I've heard, so you better go get one before it goes up!

Not Me Monday

When I have to run into the store, while the whole family is in the car, to "just grab one thing" I always take into consideration that Josh will be left in the car with 3 small children.

Therefore,

When I have to run into the store, while the whole family is in the car, to "just grab one thing" Josh always takes into consideration that he will be left in the car with 3 small children.

And being the responsible dad that he is...

when one kid has to go to the bathroom...

he would, of course, unstrap all three children, get them out of the car, lock it up and corral the whole clan inside for them to go to the bathroom.

Yup, that's exactly what my husband would do.

He would NEVER just look around to see who was looking,

only unbuckle the said child who had to pee,

and let him out in the wild to take care of his business.

Nope, not my husband.

But surely, if this were to happen, he wouldn't try to hide the evidence from me.

Oh no.  

We always tell each other everything!

I bet he won't tweet the evidence next time he wants to keep something a secret, ha!;)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hot Mama!

Both Areyna and Zeke have commented about my "pretty" hair today.

They either truly think it is pretty, which means that maybe I should think twice about the way I've been fixing my hair and the frequency of my showers,

OR

they just feel so bad for me because I've been so sick.  That would explain the gentle arm rubbing and sad faces when they've told me this:)

Oh well, I'll take the compliment no matter how it comes to me, I suppose!  Here's to 3-day-old greasy hair!

Be gone flu!

You better believe our family will be the first in line for the flu vaccine next year!

Oh, and just a word of warning, the aftermath is almost just as bad.

My tongue is so numb and tingly that food tastes like NOTHING.  But worst of all is that everything is annoying to me today.  Hmmm, we'll have to work on this one;)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
On a serious note, though, I do have a few quick questions...

Can you get the flu again after just having it?  Should we go get the vaccine this year anyway?  How does your body know you've already gotten it?  Why are Saltines and GingerAle the food and beverage of choice when sick?  It makes it almost impossible to enjoy these things any other time in your life when they are constantly associated with puking and well, ahem...  I'd love some insight and wisdom:)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fun Facts For Friday - Numbers

I got this idea from Areyna's book "Learning to count with the Disney Princess'"
All you have to do is hum pretty princess ballroom dancing music while you read this post:)

1 ONE
ONE is for the only one of us in the family that is not throwing up (from either end:).  That would be me.  It's only a matter of time now.  The doom is imminent.

2 TWO
TWO is for the toilets that were clogged up due to plumbing problems.  Perfect timing!

3 THREE
THREE is for the times the shower began overflowing into our bathroom when trying to wash away this event's remnants in the washing machine.

4 FOUR
FOUR is for the number of people that slept in our room.  Rainy and Zeke were on the floor in sleeping bags, only separated by a trash can and towel.

5 FIVE
FIVE is for the number of times I have vacuumed the house in the last three days, as if vacuuming will take all the puke germs away, ha!

6 SIX
SIX is for the stains that have now been added to our carpet.  Don't worry Johnson's we're working on them.

7 SEVEN
SEVEN is for times I have been sitting contently on the couch and then gotten the urge to frantically clean another room in the house.  Cleaning is my coping mechanism I suppose:)

8 EIGHT
EIGHT is for the number of times we've all just looked at each other with that sad puppy dog look that means, "I am SO sorry..."

9 NINE
NINE is for the number of loads of laundry that I have been working on since the plumber came out and fixed the pipes.

10 TEN
TEN is for the number of times I have thanked the Lord for indoor plumbing since these events:)

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Counting with the Via's, heehee.

Here's to a WONDERFUL weekend!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Words Of The Week and Just A Little Bite Of Chocolate Cake

As promised, I wanted to share our new Luganda words of the week that we are learning as a family.

And, because I am exhausted after staying up all night spectating our new family sport of "Team-Tag Puking" I have no witty words to pass on today.  But, my husband does!  You  need to go visit his blog and read about just one reason why I feel like the Lord blesses us with children.  It is a beautiful post, even if it is about my own family:)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Guest Blogger:Keesha Via

Friends! I am trying to help raise funds for two families to bring home two precious little girls from Africa!

From now till the end of this month, I will be giving 100% of my commission to these families.

For every dollar, they will receive 25% to go towards their adoption.

Plus! AtHome America is having their HUGE January SALE! So, you will get a ton for your dollars worth and give to a great cause at the same time!

Visit www.athome.com/keeshavia to look at a catalog and place your order. Or, ask me how you can give directly to these families' funds!

Please spread the word!

Let's try to get 25 $100 orders by the end of this month and help bring those precious girls HOME!


Keesha Via
AtHome America
HomeStyle Specialist #42343
www.athome.com/keeshavia
keeshavia@gmail.com

_________________________________________________________


Follow the link to get connected to this event on Facebook.


***Thanks Keesha for helping us bring our little girl home!***

Lessons From The Lord - Praise Before The Blessing

Josh and I are very intentional when it comes to praising the Lord and thanking him for the blessings and provisions the Lord bestows upon us and making sure our children know just how good God is!

But as I was reading Deuteronomy 16 last week through my journey I came across something I hadn't really thought about before.  I came across this passage and had a brand new revelation, for me anyway.

Here is the context:
Moses is speaking to all the Israelites and laying everything out for them and explaining all that they need to do to keep right with the Lord while they take over the land the Lord has promised them before he dies.

Here is what he says in verse 15:
"You are to hold a seven-day festival for the Lord your God 
in the place He chooses, because the Lord your God 
will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, 
and you will have abundant joy."

You may not have caught it.  Let me write it like this:
"You are to hold a seven-day festival for the Lord your God 
in the place He chooses, because the Lord your God 
will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, 
and you will have abundant joy."

Moses didn't say, "because the Lord HAS blessed you", even though he continually had blessed the Israelites, he said the Lord WILL bless you.

They were instructed to Praise the Lord BEFORE the blessing!

How often do you rejoice in faith, knowing that the Lord promises to take care of His children?  I don't mean just praising God for who He is and what He's made, but intentionally Praising Him for the future blessings He is sure to bring your way!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Not me Monday - Turn Up The Heat;)

Josh and I are super smart when it comes to maintaining a home.

Yup!  We Sure are:)

When something goes wrong we always think of the most practical thing that could be causing the problem.

So, of course, when the heat began knocking and continuously running, although it wouldn't get above 63 degrees in the house, we KNEW it was the air filter.

Of course!

We would never just try turning the heat off for a day or two to see if that would solve the problem.  I mean, we all know that heaters just get tired sometimes. Right? Right.

Nope, not us!

We would never let it go on so long that we would get woken up in the middle of the night, thinking that someone was breaking down the front door, when in reality it was just the heater working overtime, knocking and banging around above us.

Nope, not us!

We would certainly check the air filter before contacting our landlord, who now lives in TN, by the way, to call a local heating guy to come over...

only to charge us $80 to tell us it was the air filter.

No way, not us!

We would have checked that on our own.  Hello!

It's a good thing this kind of stuff never happens to us,

because then our poor landlord would need to send out a "friendly reminder" to all their tenants, reminding us to "please check your air filters, as stated in the contract", as to eliminate extra fees, headache...

...and, might I add, a super "hot" heating bill, ha!

Shew, good thing we never do stuff like that.

Not us!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Essentials - Part 2

Yesterday I wrote about the essentials in my life that get me through those crappy days, weeks and even seasons.

Well, I forgot one very important bullet in my list of essentials.

Our Life/Small Group.

We were not meant to live life alone.

No, the Lord created us for relationship!

I know I talk about this a lot, and I know I'm a little bias, but I do believe that we have the most amazing group!  We are all in different places in our life journey, which is why I think it works so well.

Do you have that kind of group?  The kind of group that you can be transparent around?  The kind of group where one week you are crying ugly tears and the next you don't feel like you have to go back and explain your emotions, because let's face it, life is dirty and we need help picking up the pieces sometimes.

So I challenge you to find that group, if you don't have one already!  It will make your walk with Christ so much stronger.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Essentials

Well, we've had a downright crappy week
in our house this week.

It seemed like every area was hit and I'm just exhausted!

It's that feeling like you just can't stop to catch your breathe.

Now, these weren't HUGE things that happened...

well, maybe a couple of them were,

but there were enough small things that occurred
that made us just want to freeze time and start over.

You know what I mean?
Of course not, nobody else ever feels like this;)

I do have a few things that keep me going, though.

Godly friends who encourage
a wonderful, understanding husband
an Areyna, who was so excited for me to sleep well in my pretty jammies
a Zeke who insists on helping me in any way he can
a Micaiah who knows to be "gentle" with his mommy
(even if that is the ONLY thing he is gentle with)
and a Savior, who's mercies are new every morning!

So, as I rejoice that the sun in shining on another New and Fresh day
I thank God for his New and Fresh Faithfulness today!
___________________________________________________
And since I'm talking about things that keep my heart alive

Here are a few essentials that keep sweet Micaiah going:
he always scurries to grab these 3 things 
when it's time for him to get out of bed.
Bubby,
Monster (thanks Uncle Andrew and Aunt Dana)
and Puppy (Rainy got it for him for Christmas.
She KNEW he'd like it!)

See, we all need something:)

Happy Friday, ya'll!  Have a terrific weekend.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Our Prayers Have Been Answered

Thank you all for praying.

Our director's trip is moving along.  We even got some updated pictures of our little girl!  Man, she is so beautiful.  They say that she has been an absolute delight to be around.  I can't wait to see her again...

So, continue to pray for these first adoptions from this orphanage as it is a learning process for all of us:)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pray, Pray, Pray


I just got off of the phone with our Agency who is in Uganda right now.

We need prayer.

I am taking the night to fast and pray for our adoption as our agency meets with Godfrey.

Pray for:
Godfrey, the director of Arise Africa, the founder of our Orphanage.
Lori, the director at our agency who is there right now trying to gather information.
Pray for patience, guidance, direction, relationship, paperwork, the children, the adoptive families...

Would you please pray with us...

A First


Micaiah sat down on the stool and colored with chalk with me for the first time today...without trying to eat the chalk!  Look at his little squiggles:)  I love it!

Lessons From The Classroom - Learning Luganda

Like I said last Friday, I had been totally unmotivated to get back in the swing of school with the kids.  But that was last week.  This week we've done school everyday and it's nice to be getting back into the routine again.  I may have had to threaten gently remind Areyna  that enrolling her in school will be the outcome if she doesn't work with mommy, but after a couple of days she has gotten much better:)

Anyway, one thing that I did start last week and that we will continue to work on is our Luganda language.   I decided that, since we are going to be living there for 3 months as a family, oh yeah you didn't know that,  well, we are and I'll talk more about that as the time gets closer!, we needed to learn some basic words and phrases so that we can respectfully communicate with the people, as well as help our little girl as she transitions into our family:)

So these are our 3 words for the week that we are working on.  We put them up in the kitchen but try to use them throughout the day as well.  The kids are having fun with it and I'm realizing that my brain is getting too old for new languages *sigh* but I'm trying:)

I thought it would be fun to teach you all as we go along so I'll be posting the words we learn as we go along:)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Repeat After Me

"Dear God, thank you for this wonderful day, and thank you for this food, and thank you for my mom not to get frustrated with Cai, and thank you for everything you have made, and thank you for this wonderful day and thank you to help us bring Shabila home, Amen"
             -Zeke

This is the prayer we used to hear from Zeke on a daily basis when we would ask him to pray, at least 7 out of 10 times.  It was really sweet the first few times it came out of his mouth, but when all our kids do is recite a prayer they made up six months ago, it loses its impact.  They are just saying words, they aren't speaking from their heart, and that is what prayer is.

We could really sense the Lord's hand on my kid's hearts when we hear variations to their little prayers like, "...help me to obey mommy", "...help me to share with Rainy", "...help me not to freak out", "...help me to make wise choices" or "...help me not to have scary dreams."  Those are the types of prayers our Father longs to hear and the kind that make us, as parents, really see our kid's hearts.

So, in order to help cultivate genuine communicate between them and their heavenly father we felt like we needed a change.

Josh started a new thing with them that we have both started implementing.  It was kind of awkward at first, but like anything else, we all have gotten used to it and I feel like it is really shaping our kids' prayer life.  We have started having the kids repeat prayers after us.

Josh got the idea from Matt Chandler.  It kind of works like when you have people repeat the "sinner's prayer" for them to receive Christ into their hearts.  I know, I know...It's not the words, it's the heart, but you have to teach the heart how to communicate sometimes.

We want our kids to know that prayer isn't just a thing we do at certain times during the day, like before a meal or bedtime.  We want them to know that it is simply a conversation with God, our Creator!  We want them to grasp, as early as they can, that they can talk to God whenever and wherever and about whatever.

After doing this for several weeks now, we are realizing that the kids sit still longer and quieter when we pray together like this and that they are more attentive and focused.  This is a huge difference from when we'd sometimes catch them staring up at the ceiling reciting the prayer from dinner and asking God to bless the food before climbing into bed.  Their own personal prayers have really blossomed as they are learning to communicate in their own way to our Heavenly Father.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Not Me Monday

I always stay in control.

So, when we got an offer on Craigslist for $300, for something that I had listed as $1400, I would NEVER banter back and forth, huffing and puffing, because this guy got so under my skin!  I mean, didn't he see we are trying to raise money for an adoption, HELLO!

Nope not me!

I am much "bigger" than that.

And since that never happened I wouldn't feel convicted and then email back to nicely end the "conversation".

Well, that may happen, I have a very sensitive conscious sometimes:)

But hypothetically, if this were to have actually happen *ahem*...

Mr. I-feel-sorry-for-the-purchaser-of-your-craigslist-add and Mr. Your-friend-works-for-a-scummy-trade man would never respond back with another slap in the face, causing me to GASP out loud...

...and press on in my debate, making sure that he knows that I am right!

Because then my husband would have to step in and make me promise to stop.  I mean, he would literally get down to my level and make me look him in the eye and p.r.o.m.i.s.e. to STOP.  Not one more comment!

Nope, things like this NEVER happen in this house.

Nope, not here!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fun Facts For Friday

1 - Josh got home last night from a college retreat up in WV at Snowshoe, just in time to put the kids to bed!  He didn't have cell phone reception, but we got to google chat every day so it really wasn't that bad.  Cai kept trying to give him things through the computer screen, Areyna just wanted to sit and work on things next to him while he sat there and watched her and Zeke just, well, he's a sweet boy:)  He's just Zeke, ha!  He ran around being a super hero in the background...

2 - We have our last home study visit on Monday morning.  Our process is moving right along and we couldn't be more thrilled!  Here's our latest update on our Adoption Blog.  And, by the way, just in case you were wondering, we've made this a separate blog so that after we get her we can make the blog into a book and it will be like her baby scrapbook, like I've made for all my other kids:)

3 -Areyna loves her long hair.  Her only stipulation is that when it reaches the potty when she is sitting on it, it is time to cut it:)  So yesterday, she informed me that it is time for a haircut.  We may be making a visit to Aunt Dee's for a trim.

4 - Micaiah's personality has really been blossoming over the past few weeks.  He has started doing some really cute things like, "reading" books, looking to me for affirmation to see whether he should or shouldn't be doing something, and bringing me his shoes when he wants to go outside.  He's also beginning to really observe and copy everything the other kids are doing, like climbing on stools and jumping off the coffee table:)  Oh boy...

5 - Yesterday was a big day.  I got a shower before dinner, put on real clothes and even fixed my hair.  I figured I needed to look good for my man who had been gone all week:)

6 - 3 days out of 10 from the 10-day forecast are predicting snow!  What?!  We're actually in a winter weather advisory as we speak!

7 - I made the final approvals on my book yesterday and within 2-3 weeks it will be in my hands!  It's about time.  I guess I only submitted the manuscript at the beginning of September, but since I wrote the thing the end of March, I guess I feel like it has taken forever.  You can pre-order it HERE!
Now, I normally don't like to write negative reviews on my blog, but maybe this will put a fire under them to get their act together for other people trying to get their books done!
I went through Author House and have been pretty frustrated about the whole process, really.  They have taken much longer than the timeline they laid out at the beginning and then just to get in contact with someone has been a nightmare!  I emailed my team who is working on the publication and nothing.  So, I called and couldn't get through to ANYONE!  As a matter of fact, after being on hold for over 20 minutes I got disconnected, and this happened twice.  Then I called my coordinator and NOTHING.  The next day I called my original contact from September and left a message.  Funny how he gave me a call back 10 minutes after I tweeted "I am NOT a fan of #authorhouse right now".  It should not be this difficult to get a hold of them.  Hmmm...
Anyway, here is the final cover:

8 - Our adoption agency is in Uganda right now!  Pray with us for the communication between our agency and Arise Africa and the Orphanage.  Pray for the paperwork that needs to get done while our agency is there.  Pray for the families that are going to be traveling to pick up their babies within the next couple of months.

9 - I've been completely unmotivated to start school back with the kids.  We only did one day of school this week.  Next week maybe I'll get my act together.

10 - I'm off to have a fun-filled family day.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Music To My Ears - Micah Watson Band




Honestly, I don't know Micah Watson.  I've never even met him in person before.  Josh has chatted with him some and we have many connections to them.  But I do know that the lyrics to his music are beautiful and truthful, I do know that he loves Jesus, I do know that he is a very talented musician, and that one of our bestest buds plays keys for him, and that Micah and his band are reaching many hearts and softening them toward the gospel.

Here's a cool thing: Lifewayworship.com is featuring Micah Watson's "Come On" for download!

So, go on over and support this awesome band!

Micah Watson, and band, we're so proud of ya'll:)

Story In Pictures - Parenting Can Be "Messy"

 Some days it may seem like
 all you do all day
 is clean up messes.
 And sometimes,
 even after you have picked up all the messes
 someone always seems to come behind you
 and make more messes.
 But after you have cleaned all the glitter up off the floor
and picked up all the cheerios from the freshly swept kitchen floor
you remember...
moments like this

and it makes it all worth it!

OK, I lied.  It doesn't make the exhaustion go away:)

But at least it makes moments like these

feel so much sweeter!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Make It Yourself - Laundry Detergent


I have been waiting for months to finish off my stash of laundry detergent.

"Why?", you ask?

Because I am venturing into the land of making my own.  I don't know why I get so giddy about stuff like this, but I do.  Josh just says it's these kinds of little things that make him love me more:)

1 bar of castile soap
Cheese Grater
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Baking Soda
Canister w/ lid for storing
8 drops of tea tree or lavender essential oil (optional)

1/8 a cup of this mixture per load is all it takes!


WHERE TO FIND IT ALL:

First I went to Walmart and bought-
HUGE box of Borax (less than $2)
HUGE box of Baking Soda (less than $2)

Then I went to Ebates, of course!
You get 1%-5% back off of your total purchase at Soap.com

Then I found the store Soap.com and bought-
You get 15% back off your total order for first time orders 
if you enter the promo code JXSH7696
PLUS - FREE SHIPPING on orders $25 or more!

I don't even know if it is necessarily more economical
(it certainly doesn't cost any more),
and I don't really know all the ins and outs of the "green" aspects either.
All I know is that you should be SUPER proud of me
for grating two bars of soap with a cheese grater and not cutting myself, ha!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lessons From The Lord On Parenting And Chronological Reading Plan

In October I began reading through the Bible Chronologically.  There are so many different reading plans, but after listening to some of the ladies in my small group who have or are reading through the Bible this way I was really intrigued to read the Bible in a new light.  In a new way!

If you google "Chronological Bible Reading Plan" you will see several different variations so I just picked one and have stuck with it.  I like this particular one because it doesn't have specific dates.  You can pick up whenever you want and just keep up with it a week at a time.  I also like that there are check boxes next to each reading.  I mean really, who doesn't like to check things off after they've been accomplished.

Alright, enough about that, let's get to the point of this post:)

I FINALLY finished Numbers and am currently in the middle of Deuteronomy, OH BOY... (can you hear the sarcasm?)

I really have enjoyed it, for the most part and I've picked up on so many things that are just too good not to share.

In Numbers, there is a part where the Lord is listing off all the different rules, rituals, offerings, attire...I mean, I guess that's what the whole book is about, but this is what's funny about it...

After every section the Lord doesn't feel like He needs to give an explanation or reason for any of it.  I mean, I'm sure the Israelites wanted to know why they were considered "unclean" all the time and spending more days than not outside of the camp waiting to be "clean" again.

But the Lord gives them none!  All He says, over and over, is "...I am the Lord Your God."

Ha!  Does that sound familiar to you at all?  No?  Maybe this will help, "...because I'm your mom" or "...because I said so".

See, it's totally biblical:)

Now, don't get me wrong!  Josh and I totally agree with all the parenting literature that says that children need an explanation why they should or should not do something.  We parent this way, trying to let them know why jumping from the stool to the bed just isn't such a good idea or why screaming and running during a funeral isn't so appropriate or why puppy really shouldn't "smell" the candle or why stickers are meant for paper...not the bathroom counter, (funny how all of these are labeled "Zeke", ha!), but sometimes it should just be enough to say a command and have immediate obedience.

Here was another thing I noticed.  Now granted, the Lord is God and He can do whatever he wants, but I just couldn't help but laugh...

Here is what the Lord told Moses in Numbers 11:19-20 when the Israelites were complaining about always having to eat Manna and they just wanted some meat:
"You will eat, not for one day, or two days, or five days, or 10 days, or 20 days, but for a whole month-until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes nauseating to you-because you have rejected the Lord who is among you, and cried to Him: 'Why did we ever leave Egypt?' "

Bahahaha...the Lord was so tired of the Israelites complaints about food that He was like, "Fine!  You want meat?  I'll GIVE YOU MEAT!  So much meat that it'll make you sick!"

But then I am reminded that the Lord really does love us.  He really does have our best interest at heart and we need only to listen and obey.  He loves us enough to be patient with us.  He loves us enough to forgive us, over and over and over.  He loves us enough to guide us.  He loves us enough to "correct" us when we are guilty.

"The Lord is slow to anger and rich in faithful love, forgiving wrongdoing and rebellion.  But He will not leave the guilty unpunished..."
Numbers 14:18a

I love my God!  He loves us!  Surrender your life to Him today!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Not Me Monday

While watching Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve show on Friday night I knew all of the artists who sang their songs.

Josh and I did not keep looking at each other saying, "I've NEVER heard of him/her/them!"

Nope, not us!

We totally keep up with the times, and the artists, and the styles...

The styles...

Man, we are on top of the styles lately.  So, there's no way that we kept giving each other the, "What in the world is she wearing?!" look.

Nope, not us!

You can call me with any fashion advice you have.

And speaking of keeping up with the times...

We totally did not have to open up the Urban Dictionary just to figure out what the artists were saying.

Nope, not us!

I mean, everybody knows that a slizzard is "a 'dirty south' term for intoxicated" or "a very slutty lizzard".
Come on!  Who doesn't know that!

And I already had the recipe for sizzurp in my recipe box in the kitchen.  But for those of you out there who may have lost your copy, here it is:  Promethazine w/Codeine syrup, Any fruit flavored soda and A jolly rancher.  There ya go, now you're good to go flying in your G6.  Oh, you don't know what that is?  It's "slang for the Gulfstream G650".  You should really keep up with your aviation makes and models...


We are SO going to be those hip parents who our kids talk about to their friends!


____________________________________________________


Have you ever looked at the Urban dictionary?  It  is SO funny.

For example, you can search the meaning of your name and see what comes up.

Tasha means "lookin good, very stunning and always glowing. a tasha is a beautiful creature who gets alot of unknown attention"


Josh means "He is a fun loving guy really funny and can make anyone laugh.He is very quiet at first and seems shy but when you get to know him you will fall in love.He has very good style and always looks handsome.He also always smells really good :)"

I'd say that those are pretty accurate, wouldn't you:)

But I wouldn't know that because we weren't just on there the other night.

BUT

Just for my enjoyment, since I am still technically on bed rest, would you do something for me?

Stop reading this and go search your name and come back and tell me what it says.  It'll be"off the chain"!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Looking Forward - 2011

Just like every year around this time, Josh and I have been talking a lot about what we hope the New Year has in store for us.  You know, what we want to accomplish, what we want to work on, who we want to become...little things like that.

It's so funny that we feel like we need to wait until the turn of a New Year to begin things!  For example, this October I felt like I wanted to dive deeper into the Word so I decided that I wanted to read through the entire Bible in one year.  I thought, "Perfect, I'll start on January 1st."  How silly, to wait 3 months to start something that the Lord had laid on my heart to do THEN.  So, I went ahead and began, against all OCD tendencies to begin tasks in an orderly manner. *sigh*  I could of at least waited until the first of a month instead of beginning in the middle of one, ha!

So, I wanted to evaluate how 2010 went and then go from there.

2010 - How Did I do?
1-Getting up early - I can honestly say that 6:30am has become my new best friend.  I can get so much done before the kids get up and it helps with #5 and #6.
2-Getting to bed on time - This was kind of hit and miss.  We did pretty good until this fall.
3-Grow in my prayer life - What a year!  I feel like I have learned so much.  The learning never ends though!  As a matter of fact, you can start your year off right by coming to Journey Church on Saturday, January 1, 2011 from 12-2pm to pray, sing, worship and rest in the presence of the Lord.  Come join us for Set APart!
4-Date Nights - We have mastered the "At-Home Date Nights".
5-More time with the kids - I am learning how to be a better mommy more and more as time goes on.
6-Limiting computer time - I could still use some work on this one, but I'd say I've gotten MUCH better! You'll really have to ask Josh to get a true answer I suppose.  Hey, I even gave it up for a whole week last spring!
7-Start homeschooling - Yup!  We're doing it.  Areyna is reading great so far and Zeke, well he's a sweet boy:)
8-Exercise - ...see what had happened was...
9-Bless my husband - again, you'll have to ask Josh about this one;)
10-Write a family devotional - Check!  It'll be here in just a few short weeks!
11-Try something new - I've gotten much better at doing things out of order and differently.  For example, I have actually looked at menus in a restaurant instead of getting the exact same thing every time.  That counts right?!
12-Give more - Yup
13-Run this race strong - Hopefully I can say that each year I have held strong to the race the Lord has laid before me.

When I thought back through this past year, there really isn't anything more important to me than my spiritual life, my marriage, my children...

So, when Josh asked me what my goals for 2011 were I didn't even have to hesitate.  Here is exactly what I said:
"I want to do exactly what I've been doing, only better."

That's it.  I don't have a TOP 10 LIST of things I want to accomplish this year.  All I want to do is be a better vessel.  I want to be exactly who the Lord has created me to be and get better at it as I get closer to Him!

Which is why I want to
 continue to get up to meet with my Lord early in the morning
which means getting to bed at a decent hour
so I can grow in my prayer life
so I have enough energy to get creative on our date nights
in order to love and get to know my kids more
which means staying off of my computer more.
I want to get better at a structured school time for the kids
which will include exercising and being active with them
which will, in turn, give me energy and motivation to bless my husband
and be more in tune to know where the Lord is leading us
in giving and life direction.
Hey, and maybe there's another family devotional around the corner?!

Oh, there is one other little thing I'd like to add to my list...bring our little girl home from Uganda!