Friday, March 30, 2012

A Prayer for me!

Father, I am so tired of playing it safe, of bowing to the wrong crowd and listening to the wrong voices. I lay down my pride and surrender to You and Your plan for my life in this New Year. Stretch my faith. Give me Your eyes to see those in need. Fill me with Your power and strength so that others will be drawn to You.  
In Jesus' name, Amen.

Mary Southerland

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Long Way Home

This is my current favorite. I just like the light-heartedness of the music. I just like
 Steven Curtis Chapman.

Home Sweet Home
There's No Place Like Home

It's where I want to be.

Do you know what I mean?

**********************************************************************

I wrote that last night. This was waiting for me when I woke this morning. Did you read the word REST? It's in there twice. The devotional hit home. We are busy people. And this week is ridiculous! And I need prayer. Lots of prayer!

Rewind to Friday. I woke at 3 am, not knowing it was 3 am. I finally got up to see what time it was. It was 3:30! I read and then made my way to the kitchen at 4 am to start a meatloaf for a family in need of some love. Curtis came out shortly after that to see what was going on. When I said I was making meatloaf, he said "OK" and turned around and left. It was hilarious! At 5 am, I went to the grocery store. As soon as  I walked in, I felt the beginning of a migraine. I finished shopping (yes, I am my mother's daughter) and came home to lay down. At 5:45 I woke Amanda and read some more. And that's when I had my second migraine! I have never had two migraines!

The morning was a blur. The Grape Room was it's normal self! And I survived!!!!!! But my day did not end there. After picking up Daniel and getting everyone fed, I then had to run Amanda to a girlfriend's house for a sleep over. Then pick Daniel up at Baseball to run him to AWANA (then he went to a sleep over). With no one in the house, I finally was off to bed at 8:45 pm on Friday night.

I felt a little better on Saturday and was considering not going to my chiropractor. But the Lord kept prompting me to go. When Dr. Tom adjusted my back he said "You are a mess. What's going on!? You are so stressed out!" His advise was for me to...well I can't remember the word. It wasn't recharge. It wasn't retreat. It was something like...RE...?. Anyway...I needed some REST. That's a RE word. LOL.

Anyway, I have messed up my back. I need prayers because as you know, I work with two year olds. There are some "patient-triers" (that's as kind as I can be) who weigh a lot. They will just lay down and refuse to comply. Help me to remember not to try and pick these children up! Pray that I listen to my body.

Tonight we have a Cub Scout Pack meeting. I run the snacks. No rest for the weary.

I woke with Galatians 6:9 on my mind to help me get through the day. I have been hanging on to Matthew 11:28 and verse 30. (For some reason I have not memorized verse 29. I guess I will do that today).

I did get to bed super early last night after I had used the heating pad for 15 minutes on my lower back. I have NEVER had lower pack pain! I also used Bengay. This morning I thought it felt better but I don't think it's much different (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

I can tell you one thing, the pain has slowed me down. And that's a GOOD THING.

But it's still Terrific Tuesday. I thank you very much for the prayers. I don't want to sound like a complainer but I do believe prayer works so I felt I should tell you that on a scale from one to ten the pain is up there at about an 8!

I will see Dr. Tom on Wednesday as his hours do not fit in to my life on Tuesday's (that's always the case, isn't it?!)

And you, my friend, have a Terrific Tuesday as well.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

World Down syndrome Day

I missed it. It was on March 21st...3/21. That is the third month to symbolize the third copy of the 21st chromosome in Down syndrome.

Did you know it is DOWN not Down's? I didn't know that for a very long time

(Big D, little s).


This is Jonathan Munck. His mother is my blog friend, Laura.



In honor of her wonderful son, she is giving away the Signing Time set. Amanda is very interested in sign language. She knows a good amount of words. Her teacher will sometimes teach a few words to the students, as his wife is deaf. What is funny is that when I was her age, I wanted to be a teacher for the hearing impaired. There was a Sunday morning show that would teach Sunshine on my shoulder and I still remember a few of the words.

OK, stop laughing. I know you are laughing at me because this song is soooo old. And John Denver is soooo...well what is he? OLD. John Denver wasn't G-rated. He was SQEAKY! And Yes. I liked this song. And I still do. So pick yourself up off of the floor because I know you are crying because you are laughing so hard!

Anyway...please visit Jonathan's blog as well as these precious girls, Kennedy and Kellsey. They are a blessing to everyone who "meets" them!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Don't Be Afraid

The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
 Psalm 37:23-24




The LORD makes firm the steps of Theresa who delights in him: though Theresa may stumble, Theresa will not fall, for the LORD upholds Theresa with his hand.




Now you try it:


The LORD makes firm the steps of ________ who delights in him; though ________ may stumble, ______________will not fall, for the LORD upholds ______________ with his hand.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Parenting

1 Samuel 1:27-28


I stumbled across a blog and one of the posts is called "I was never called to raise godly children".


Click here to read it in its entirety. 






Some things to consider...

My Children are not: People who will carry on the family name, my possessions, or projects for me to accomplish. They are not extensions of me or status symbols to build my reputation. 

My Children do not need: Parents who try to "play God" or parents who act like law-enforcement officers. They do not need me to give them everything they want. They do not need me to be over-protective or for me to give them absolute freedom.

My Children are: God's gifts to me (Ps. 127:3), our responsibility, and having them provides me with an opportunity to grow, depend on God and trust Him more.

My Children Need: Parents who love, nurture and give them direction. They need me to relate with them personally and individually, appreciate their feelings, accept their individuality and differences, and allow them to think and feel. They need me to model consistency and honesty, to be encouraging and supportive, and to be loving and forgiving.



Daniel and Curtis left at 8 am for soccer. Amanda had a sleep-over at her girlfriend's house. I am doing laundry and catching up on emails. The cats are sleeping. It's QUIET. I like quiet, but not for too long.

I will be attending a seminar at 10:30 called "Why Teens Leave" (the church after being raised in it). I will have more to add to this at a later time. 

Enjoy your weekend!


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Busy Children Turn into Busy Adults!

I signed Daniel up for little league. This will be his third year. He is a decent player. He shows promise. But in September, he played soccer and his true athletic ability came out. So he played winter soccer and is now signed up for the Spring. Darn! You want your kids to be talented but really TWO sports?!

Last night soccer and baseball practice started. Daniel went to baseball. It sounds intense. These men are serious. Nothing is fun anymore. It's all about the win. He is going to have three practices for the next couple of weeks. Well guess what? That's not going to work for me.

Tonight Amanda had a voice lesson at 5 pm. Daniel had baseball at 6 pm and then cub scouts at 7 pm.

Wednesday is nothing. PRAISE THE LORD.

Thursday is soccer (which is at a new location). I will have to take Daniel and drop him off. Then take Amanda to dance and go back and get Daniel. Then I will come home! I will let my man pick up my girl. I will be hiding in my sleeping bag when they return.

Oh I forgot to tell you why I will be hiding. It's because already I am beginning to have anxiety about driving to a new location. He has to be there at 5:15. It takes about 20 minutes. So I figure I have to leave about 4:30 to give myself enough time to get lost and then recover and find the place. Middle Child Syndrome!

Friday is baseball again. But Daniel will go to AWANA this week. Next Friday he has a Pack Meeting for cub scouts.

I sat in my car  by myself and screamed for a little while. I think that that is a healthy solution for not screaming at a human family member. That could have been disastrous.

I think that when we over schedule ourselves we find out quickly that we don't have time for each other and we definitely don't have time for God.

So what are we going to do?

Well, cub scouts is over at the end of April, along with AWANA.

Voice is over at the end of May.

Dance is over around the beginning of June.

Until then, I guess I will scream a lot in my car, pray a lot and hold my breathe for a couple of months until all of this is over.

And then we are just going to finish out TWO sports. We will NEVER do TWO sports again!

Tonight I will go to bed thanking the Good Lord that He blessed us with only two children.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Something to think about

There are three things that I am thinking about and praying about. I can't really go in to the whole thing. God wants me to pray not preach. Maybe you could pray for me too. Thanks!


Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 
James 1:12


The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is simply what an unbelieving world finds unbelievable.

~ Brennan Manning

"For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light."  Colossians 1:9-12

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Four Days of Fabulous since I am Four (plus forty)

This is Phyllo with fresh berries served on top of mango sherbet. 

Yummy!

From Sarah
From Jenny

Cheryl and Steve

Rick and Jenny

Are Mom's eyes shut? LOL. I didn't even notice!

Me and My Irish Dancer (she is taller than me if you haven't noticed)

It's a dining experience that you have to try at least once!

We all have eighth graders.

This is the love of my life who has allowed me to put his picture out here (this one time).

Breakfast on Wednesday. Dinner (no pictures, I ate it) and dessert at Cafe Curtis.

Flowers by two of my friends on Thursday and Friday.

Dinner Friday Night at NaBrasa.

Saturday, the County St. Patrick's Day Parade and then a visit to Mom Mom's. She made my favorite childhood dessert which is Nilla Banana Pudding!

I love birthdays, especially when it's mine!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I'm Four Today

The Loving Lemons are the three year olds who are turning four. This week I have been hearing a lot of "I'm going to be four". I was joking with them and said, "ME TOO, plus forty", which sparked this post.


So, today I turn Four + Forty.


I am not embarrassed to say that I am forty-four today. I don't think many people would guess my age. I have to praise the Lord for not giving me the kind of skin that tans. My Irish decent has saved me, lol.


 As a child, I so disliked my super pale skin. The kids (being as mean as kids can be) called me all kinds of names. My closest friend up until fifth grade was Greek so she got dark as dark in the summer. I just burned, peeled and faded back to pale. All summer I smelled like sunblock. To this day, I buy products without that childhood memory smell. And I am a smell person, but that is not a favorite smell! 


All of those lovely bronze beauties in their twenties and thirties look very aged. The sun is so damaging to our skin! If you tan or don't tan, please protect yourself. And don't allow your face to tan, EVER. Use those self-tanning products. I couldn't even use those. I just turned orange. But now that I am forty-four, I am completely comfortable in my skin, as pale as it may be.


With all that being said, I would not want to be "young" again. I made a lot of bad decisions and I am thankful that I am more mature and wiser now. (I can hear my siblings snickering). 


Yes, forty-four is a good fit!


********************************************************************************************************


My sweet husband took the day off to take me out to breakfast. It was OUTSTANDING! We had so much food that we brought enough home to feed four more people. Then we went to buy a new vacuum. After that, I went to have tea with one of my favorite people. And now I am home, awaiting my reservation at Cafe Curtis. Not to mention that God has sent warm sun (it's 74 degrees) on my special day. After dinner, I will meet another favorite lady for some more tea. Yes, I think I like forty-four!




Forty-Four things about me!


Favorite Food: any real fresh food but mostly anything that Curtis makes
Favorite Toy: the computer 
Favorite Cartoon:  Old Scooby-Doo
Favorite Song: too many...anything by Hillsong or Casting Crowns
Favorite thing to do: besides spend time with my family...blog
Favorite time of day: early morning before dawn
Favorite Subject: God
Favorite Movie: Fireproof
Favorite Color: Pink (and green)
Coolest person in your world: I am pretty fond of Curtis!
Absolutely the best thing about being forty-four: Knowing who I am in Christ
Favorite Animal: Kittys!!!!
Favorite Flower: Daffodils
Favorite Snack: Ice cream
Favorite Ice-cream: chocolate chip
Three words that best describe me: assertive, motivated, integrity
One food I really dislike: slimy and onions & peppers don't like me (boo hoo) 
Favorite Book: The Bible
Favorite Musical Artist: Steven Curtis Chapman
Favorite Musical: The Sound of Music
Currently Reading: Made To Crave, Becoming a Woman who Pleases God, Discerning God's Voice
Favorite Bible VersePsalm 37:4 and Proverbs 31:10-31 and 2 Corinthians 12:9
Favorite Holiday: Easter
Favorite Vacation: cruise to Alaska
Favorite Comfy Clothes: Duck pajama bottoms and a sweatshirt. 
Favorite Smell: Vanilla
Drink of choice: Water
Favorite Sounds: my children laughing, a train in the distance, rain at night
Favorite Season: Autumn
Sweet or Salty: Sweet
What do you collect: nothing really...books (and dust, see the next answer)
What chore do you dislike: dusting and cleaning the bathtub
Favorite Annual Event: Relay for Life (this is our ninth year)
Do I have tattoos: NO
Do I have body piercings: Ears (two in the right, three in the left)
Favorite childhood memory: swinging in our back yard and making mud pies
Favorite physical trait: my hair (which I hated growing up. Now it's so easy to maintain!)
Personal Trait I am working to change: my judgmental or critical spirit
Currently waiting on God to answer what prayer: Oh so many but one about mentoring
Favorite Restaurant: Cafe Curtis
Favorite TV Show: Chopped (or anything on Food Network)
Favorite Children's Book: : In the Night Kitchen
Fiction or Non-fiction: Non-fiction
Where would you like to visit: The Grand Canyon


For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Awesome!

He said to me,'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' "Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10






Last week Kayla participated in a Living Museum at her middle school. It was for Black History Month and each student in the eighth grade was assigned a person to research and transform themselves into. Kayla was assigned Jackie Joyner Kersee who was an Olympic track and field star. Kayla was confused by the assignment because the teacher said the person was selected to fit the student. Kayla is anything but an athlete..she considers herself an "academic" and would have loved an assignment as a scientist or author. I am just in awe of her when I say that she is an "academic"! This has definitely been something she has grown into. And I take none of the glory for it!

My baby girl who at 1 1/2 was a biter at daycare! She was so quiet that nobody knew she could talk and she was frustrated and acted out. It drove me crazy trying to figure out her motives and was so relieved when she stopped biting and started talking more. And granted, the period only lasted about a month but it was excruciating to me as a parent!

My girl who spent her second year in my classroom and was a teacher's worst student! She never attended my circle times, defied my instructions at every chance and had the other teachers wrapped around her little finger. I was so happy when at three she moved onto preschool! This year was not easy though. She was the "blendable" child as I would call her and had an assistant teacher who openly declared she didn't like her! I know, shocking as that statement is, there are individuals who work with children who really shouldn't. Kayla was "blendable" in that she was a good girl who didn't get into trouble and who just went with the flow of things. A good quality but one that didn't allow some of her qualities to shine.

Pre-kindergarten was a blessing as Kayla had teachers who loved her and cared about her happiness. But Kayla continued to baffle me in terms of her academics. She could copy anything placed in front of her but couldn't recite or identify her alphabet. She didn't sing traditional songs either.. she still gets hung up on "Twinkle Twinkle" and "Mary Had a Little Lamb", lol!

Kindergarten was the year in which I requested Kayla be tested for a learning disability. It was a slow process and Kayla moved into First grade without any diagnosis. First grade was a nightmare. It was the year that I sat at our kitchen table with Kayla studying for spelling tests. Each session ended with one or both of us in tears. She could pick out a word on a card in a group but not individually. How was this possible? And how could a teacher not be able to teach her own child? Finally, at the end of that year, we had a diagnosis. Kayla has an auditory and visual processing disorder!

With a diagnosis Kayla got the resources she needed in school. She still struggled and spent a lot of time in the nurses office trying to get sent home sick! She did not enjoy school and hated homework. But then, something amazing happened; Kayla discovered the joy of reading! It was two books that changed everything for her. Stonefox and The Tale of Despereaux were the answer to Kayla's troubles. She discovered how amazing books can be and then there was no stopping her! Kayla was released from special education at the end of sixth grade. She really could have been released at the end of fourth but I was too scared to allow it.

Now Kayla's favorite place is Barnes and Noble (she'd live there if she could)and has read so many books that she needs more bookshelves. She loves everything about her books (the dust jackets, the print, the feel, the smell) and "must" own them. She finds my Nook to be somewhat ridiculous! When Kayla gets extra money she doesn't want to spent it on clothes or anything else a tween girl might choose..she wants more books! She loves Harry Potter, dark romances, poetry and the classics.

This week Kayla had to select her courses for next year... ninth grade..high school. The idea is very scary for me. In fact, just listening to the course descriptions was overwhelming and anxiety filled for me! Not for Kayla though. She has been approved for four weighted honors classes (English, Algebra II, Science and Social Studies) and has chosen Business and Law as two of her electives. She is excited that her honor classes may even count toward college credits. Yes, she is planning for college. She originally said she wanted to be a veterinarian and go to the University of Minnesota. But she is now reconsidering this as she hates to see sick or hurt animals..it's taken her years just to be able to watch the SPCA commericals! Now on her possible list of majors are forensic psychologist, clinical psychologist and forensic anthropologist.

I am in awe seeing what changes Kayla has gone through. I am amazed by her determination and focus. And I know that all the glory must go to Kayla and God! I am so thankful for the blessings He has bestowed onto her.

Now, if only she would clean up her room!!

Press In

I am reading. It's quiet. I have been awake for a while but finally got out of bed around 5:45. I checked a few blogs and now I am doing devotions. Lysa TerKeurst is one of my favorite Jesus Girls. I am currently reading her book Made to Crave and I LOVE IT.


Anyway, I have been asking God to answer a prayer. I want it to be an immediate confirmation. Others are praying for me and the topic. I pray. I wait (about five seconds). I check the Bible Verse sites for confirmation. I read looking for confirmation. I just don't FEEL like the answer has been given. I don't know if God is saying "yes", "no" or "keep waiting".


Which reminds me of a funny sign I saw. 


Sometimes God says Yes.
Sometimes God says No.
And Sometimes God says You've Got to Be Kidding Me!


Anyway, this is where I am right now in the devotional:

  •  Press in to God when you want to pull away.

When I really want to hear from God but He seems silent, I sometimes find I want to disengage from my normal spiritual activities. Skip church. Put my Bible on my shelf. And let more and more time lapse between prayers.
But the Bible says we will find God if we seek Him with all our heart. Jeremiah 29:13,“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” All my heart includes the parts that are broken. Bring it all to God.
He can handle your honesty and will respond. But we have to position ourselves to go where truth is. Go to church. Listen to praise music. Read verses. Memorize verses. And keep talking to God.


  •  Put yourself in the company of truth.

That friend that speaks truth? Listen to her. Stay connected to her. Let her speak truth into your life even when you’re tired of hearing it. Stand in the shadow of her faith when you feel your own faith is weak. Let her lead you back to God time and time again.

This is exactly what I have been going through. I thought about skipping church today. I have been fighting this cold since Wednesday. Amanda and I have had the stomach bug which for her has gone. Not so much for me yet. I have a big day at work tomorrow. I thought, "I'll just stay home and rest." And rest is good. God wants us to rest. But He doesn't want us to pull away. 
Do you have that friend who speaks Truth in your life? Everyone needs one (or more) if you don't, get one!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

WOW God!

This week I have been really trying to discern God's voice. I am doing a new Bible Study and learning so much about my spiritual walk (or not).


Wednesday I woke up and just wanted to stay in bed. But it was our "extra" day. You know, it was that moment when I realized that I would love just a couple more hours to finish what I started. Not only did God give me an extra hour, but He gave me 24. It was February 29th!


I went to Bible study and then out to lunch with a wonderful friend. We talked about following the Holy Spirit and not our emotions, most of the time.


Then I came home to the regular routine...dinner, clean-up, making lunches, showers, homework. At 6:30, I went to bed. I have been fighting a terrible cold and just needed the extra sleep. I am so glad I listened to the Holy Spirit, because at 11 pm, Amanda started with the stomach bug...until 3:30 am. 


I woke for the day at 5:15 am. She was lying on the bathroom floor waiting for Mom Mom to come as I was off to work.


To make a long story short, I was home by 1 pm, sick and in bed at 1:10. Thursday and Friday are a blur because I was just soo exhausted and sick.


Right about now are you wondering why this is called "Wow God?"


Tonight Amanda and I are watching TV and I received a very bizarre phone call that I won't get in to. BUT...I was angry. I was really angry. And then the Holy Spirit said "it's PRIDE". Yes. It is. What are those Beth Moore truths? I have to go look them up, I think.


I have my journal all ready to write them down and I start the page with "Pride rears her ugly head". Is that the expression? I think I will google it.


And WOW God. This is what I found. Can you believe it?


Look at the blog verse? Ok, it could be a coincidence (if you believed in those). Yes, it's not an uncommon verse. So I start reading the post, which is entitled "she reared her ugly head...again". Another coincidence?


I read on. Oh My George, she sounds like me?! And the song playing is the one I deemed "Seventh Grade", called Blessings by Laura Story. (Actually most of the songs are the ones I listen to!)


This really stuck out for me:

This is me.
I love the Lord.
I adore my husband.
I am crazy about my children.
I am committed to Bible study, prayer, and scripture memory.
I have people around me who hold me accountable.

And still... I am prone to wander. I am prone to selfish hissy fits.



At the end, she quotes another favorite verse of mine James 1:2-3


OK, thank you God for grounding me. For helping me through my mini-melt down. It lasted about 10 minutes! Yes, WOW God. Now what are those promises I was looking for?


God is who He says He is.
God can do what He says He can do.
I am who God says I am.
I can do all things through Christ.
God's Word is alive and active in me.



Your grace still amazes me!



One of my favorite things...

MOVIES.
But not just any movies.
Positive and Encouraging movies. 
Movies that lift you up and inspire you to be a better person.
Movies that have a strong biblical message.
Movies like:. 

Fireproof (It's about marriage)
Facing the Giants, (which is about overcoming your fears). 
and Flywheel (which is about integrity).





and




Courageous is about being a man of honor. 
We just happen to own all four.