Monday, August 30, 2010

Side Table Before & After

BEFORE:
My mom gave us this cute little side table a few months ago. It has magazine holders on each end and an open space in the middle. I love it because it is petite and works perfect beside our recliner. We have a lot of dark brown in our living room and that was the color of this table, so I decided (after putting it off for so long) to sand it and repaint it. Thanks to some new curtains I bought at World Market, I was inspired to paint the table turquoise and then distress it. Last Friday, I decided on a whim to just do it. And that's what I did. Here's the Before & After....
AFTER:
Close-up




Friday, August 27, 2010

2 weeks down....


My two big girls have been in school now for 2 weeks. It's been full of new experiences, excitement, long car lines, after-school snacks, homework and evenings full of complete exhaustion. I must admit I am enjoying being on a schedule again and I love my time with our youngest girl.

Middle Girl started Kindergarten this year....finally. It seemed to take forever in her little mind, so when the day finally came she was thrilled! Her favorite things about K5 (so far) are playing on the playground and seeing her BFF, Isabelle. For at least the past year, we've been telling her she'll learn how to read in Kindergarten. So, last week, nearly everyday she came home upset that 'They didn't teach me how to read!' I was cracking up. She is learning - she just doesn't know it. And then there's the daily BFF saga. I don't think a day has passed by that she hasn't asked or begged to go to Isabelle's house after school. She and Isabelle are in the same class and they have been buddies forever. They were born on the same day, in the same hospital room, just hours apart. The beginning of their lives was very opposite, but it has been a lot of fun seeing their friendship develop. I hope they are friends forever. Of course, Kindergarten is tiring for our girl who is used to having a nap or rest time everyday. She'll get used to it eventually.

Firstborn is going to a new school this year for 2nd grade. She LOVES it. Everyday she has been so excited about her day and looks forward to the next day. The first day she came home and said, 'My teacher is nice and kind and not bossy.' So, that was a good start to the year. She tells us about the kids in her class and all that goes on during the day. It's quite interesting. She is my studious child (let's hope it lasts!) and takes after her daddy. Schoolwork is fun to her and she learns very quickly. The fundraisers have already begun, if you can even believe it. She was gung-ho about it until she realized she doesn't get to keep the money....the school gets it. HA She is always looking for ways to make an easy dollar.

I've never been so happy for a weekend than I am right now. I love the schedule, but I am so tired. Homework is already killing me. I cannot believe how much homework my 2nd grader has. I guess it only gets worse from here. At least right now, it's pretty easy homework - just takes a long time. I'm glad she doesn't mind doing it, though.

And that is what we've been doing now for two solid weeks. Not much else. It's gonna be a great school year!

Calypso...

......that's the color of a little side table I am painting right now. Before/After pics soon to come!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Best Man

Hubs & his best man, Matt
Hubs has a friend whom he has considered his best friend since college. They were in aviation together in college and developed a great friendship. Actually, they had a group of friends. I met Hubs' friend, Matt, before I started dating Hubs. He was the kindest, most sincere friend to everyone he met. He was a southern boy. My first impression of him never changed. He loved to have a good time. And that's the way all the guys in the group were. When I started dating Hubs, I got to know Matt a little better. Although we didn't see him much due to living in different cities and then states, Hubs and he kept in touch every few months or so. You know guys. And 'the guys' (whom I kind of think of as a 'band of brothers') still keep in touch....not quite as often now that everyone has their own families, but the friendship is still strong. When Hubs and I got married, there was no question who would be Hubs' best man. All the guys were in each other's weddings and I just think that speaks volumes of the friendships they forged during those college years. A little over a year ago, Matt was diagnosed with cancer. Nothing helped to get rid of the cancer and today he passed away. I can't imagine the grief his wife and three little boys are experiencing, as well as, their families. But I know that he has never been better!! The Bible says that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. And I can just imagine Matt entering the gates of Heaven, being welcomed into the very presence of Jesus Christ, his Savior. And being surrounded by loved ones and friends he knew here on Earth. He is no longer suffering, but celebrating and worshipping at the feet of Jesus. I wish I could get a glimpse of that right now. My mind cannot comprehend the awesome moment of passing from this human life into the glorious realization that you've entered eternal life in Heaven. That's forever! I just cannot imagine it, but I know it will be the greatest moment one who knows Jesus Christ as their Savior could ever experience. That's where Matt is right now. He's only been there about 3 hours, but to him it probably seems so different. I wonder who he is talking to right now. Which hero of the Bible he's joking around with and talking to. I wonder if he's still bowing at the feet of Jesus and praising Him for His salvation. I wonder how many people he's told about his cute little boys and sweet wife and wishing they could know how happy he is. I would love to be there when he tells the story of his and Hubs' long roadtrip to Canada for their friend's wedding years ago. How hilarious that will be. He is probably in no hurry. He has all of eternity, afterall. I'm so thankful Hubs got to talk to him last week on the phone and tell him 'goodbye for now'. This story has a happy ending, though. We'll see him again. We have that hope of eternal life. And Heaven was made much sweeter today now that our dear friend is there waiting for us.
Matt being his jovial self!

Please keep his wife and boys and their families in your prayers. These are difficult days for them and my heart breaks for them. I know they appreciate your prayers.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Milestones...

We are hitting lots of milestones in our home lately and I have been hit with the reality that time is flying by. My kids are growing up. Which must mean I'm getting older, but we won't go there. Our most recent milestones:
~ My baby is officially potty trained (at least by daytime!) and it was way too easy. It took approximately 4 days, and she's 27 months. My older two were a good 3 1/2 before they were potty trained. And it was no picnic....believe you me. This time, I was dreading it. Really, really dreading it. And we just started cold-turkey one afternoon. I am still shocked everytime she tells me she has to 'go'. I love it!
~ My baby is sleeping in her big-girl bed tonight! We've been talking about it for awhile, but had to wait on some bunk beds for Middle Girl's room (which came today). So, tonight's the first night with her being free to wander (in a technical sense). I'll probably have to get up way earlier than I want to in the morning, but I'll survive. It won't be the first time...or the last.
~ Middle Girl is starting Kindergarten Tuesday!!!! I have been looking forward to this for months because she gets so bored being at home all the time, but now that it's fast approaching, I think I'm going to need a Kleenex. Make that a whole box of Kleenex. She's my little, thumb-sucking sweetheart and a cuddlebug. I just don't think I am ready to let her grow up. But it's time. Time to let her go. To let her begin the painful process of learning NOT to suck her thumb. To let her take her own lunch box to school and eat without me there making sure she's really eating and not still hungry. Time to let her learn and mature and make friends that I don't know. It's time. Whether I like it or not.
~ Firstborn is starting 2nd grade at a new school on Monday. We took her today to meet her teacher. I had butterflies in my stomach all morning, as though I was back in the 3rd grade when my family moved to a new city and I had to start a new school after the official school year had started. And I was wearing baby blue corduroy culottes when everyone else was wearing pants. And they all stared at me as if I were from a foreign country. Yes, I felt like I was back there as I walked into the elementary school this afternoon. Only it was much easier this time knowing from experience that everything will be okay. We met her new teacher who seems very nice and explored the classroom, found her desk, got her school spirit t-shirt. It was a good experience. She is excited about starting school Monday. Visiting her classroom and meeting her teacher was enough to settle her fears. I'm thankful she's excited. But I'll be needing a Kleenex on Monday, too.
Even though I'm not starting school, (and oh how thankful I am to be past schooling years!!) I will be very busy with my girls' schools. I have signed up for everything I can possibly sign up for, I may be subbing at Middle Girl's school, I am heading up a Moms in Touch prayer group for Firstborn's school each Monday, I'll be a member of the PTA at Firstborn's school, etc. I am exhausted just filling out my calendar for the school year. It is going to require a lot of my time, but I will only have this opportunity for a few short years. I want to really take advantage of every opportunity I can with my girls' schools. I'm going to be very involved. This is my ministry right now. It's very exciting! I'm praying for opportunities to develop new friendships with other moms in the girls' schools and will be looking for ways to be a blessing....ultimately pointing them to Christ.
Hope your school year is shaping up to be a good one for you and your children, as well!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Choices...

Life is full of them. We make choices everyday. Some are no-brainers (like 'are we going to have dessert?? Uh, Yeah!), others are more serious (Chocolate or Sugar-free?), but all of them affect us one way or another. Hubs and I have had some big choices to make this summer...the biggest one being schooling for our children. We have two in school this year (can I get an Amen?) and we thought long and hard (as well as, prayed often) about where to send them to school. Firstborn has been in school since K2. Middle Girl is just starting K5 without having gone to any preschool. Firstborn has been in Christian school the whole time and we had no thought of ever changing that...until summer began. I won't go into detail, but we began to wonder if the cost of sending our two girls to Christian school was really necessary AND right for our family. While we loved the school Firstborn attended, the cost was really causing us to question continuing her in that school. I began to pray about what to do. I was kind of torn - we loved the school, she was excelling, etc. but we had some uncertainty about if this was right for us. My experience is that God uses circumstances to guide me and direct my steps and obviously He wanted us to rethink this. I had talked to my mom about this and one day she told me that my dad thought it wise for us to consider public school. I grew up in public school and am very thankful for that opportunity. God allowed me to really grow and mature in my Christian walk during high school and some of that was due to the challenges I faced with some of my peers/teachers regarding my moral beliefs. I can honestly say it was good for me. I know public school is not for everyone. But don't knock it til you've tried it is a saying that comes to mind. Hubs grew up in Christian school because of the ministry his family was in while growing up. So, I knew that his opinion of public school would be very different than my own. But when we began praying about this option, it was amazing to me how God united our hearts and our thinking and gave us peace to make the decision that was right for us at this present time. We believe God's will for us at this time is for our daughter to go to public school. And I cannot tell you how excited I am about this. Of course, there is a little hesitancy, but only because I am not familiar with the public school system here firsthand. But we have peace and fully believe God has directed us in this decision. I don't write all this to get your approval because frankly, I don't want it or need it. I just want to share with you why I am so excited about this and maybe challenge you to think deeper about your own life's choices.
Because I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and my desire is to glorify Him in my words, actions, etc. I surround myself with other's who know Christ as their personal Saviour. I love being around my brothers and sisters in Christ and am encouraged and rejuvenated after spending time with them. We are active members in our church and spend a lot of time there. I do not work outside the home so most of the people I speak with/hang around are Christians - in the real, true meaning of the word. When my girl was attending Christian school that took up even more time being around other Believers and less time around people who do not know Christ. God's Word commands me to be the salt and light of the World, building relationships and friendships with those who have no hope of eternal life without Christ as their Saviour. Now that my girl will be in public school, we will have the opportunity to be around people who need Christ. I plan to be very involved in her school and will be looking for opportunities to befriend people that do not live the way I live. I want to be able to relate to my neighbors and others whose lives are very different than ours. I don't want to ignore their need for Christ just because we do things differently.
Another reason for my excitement is that my girl will be able to see for herself that she is very blessed. My prayer is that God would enable her to see that not everyone lives the way we do. Christ is not the center of their homes and that makes a huge impact on the choices they make. I don't want her to continue living in a 'bubble' where everyone she knows and talks to lives their lives almost exactly like we do. That's not reality. The truth is there are people all around us - everywhere - that have no idea what a privilege it is to know Jesus Christ. They don't know what it's like to have peace in their homes, to know they are loved with an everlasting love. They have no hope. But we do! And I want her to understand that and be able to share that hope with her friends and others that she will come in contact with.
I want to guard my children against the mindset that if people don't live the way we do, then we shouldn't associate with them. If we don't associate with them, how will we ever win people to Christ? As Christians, we shouldn't live like the world does, but that absolutely does not mean we should shelter ourselves and our children from the world. They need to know how to function in reality. Not be homely and unsociable or scared to talk to people who are different than them. Even in 1st grade, I heard a comment or two from my girl about public school and I could tell by her tone that she thought that was not a good thing. It was eye-opening to me, to say the very least. I am not sure where she got that attitude from, but I was not pleased. That attitude is directly opposite of Christ's attitude toward people. He was criticized for associating with people who were not 'up to par' according to the Pharisees, but that didn't stop Him. The fact is that is doesn't make a hill of beans worth of difference what elementary school someone goes to. The school doesn't define who you are. School is just a means to an end, it's temporary, but God has you there for a specific purpose (whether you realize it or not). A purpose bigger than just education. But isn't that life? Every place God allows us to be (school, work, church, neighborhood, etc.) is authorized by God, yet we forfeit many opportunities to share Christ with others because we aren't prepared or actively looking for those opportunities.
We are purposefully teaching our girls that God doesn't classify people according to our standards. We are all sinners, unworthy of the mercy God so freely pours out on us. So, who are we to look down our noses at someone because of where they go to school, etc.? There's a word for that...pride. And the Bible doesn't have any good thing to say about that kind of pride.
And let me just add here that I am not declaring that everyone in the Christian school is automatically a Christian. That definitely is not the case. A Christian is one who recognizes their sinful nature and confesses their sin to Jesus Christ Who paid the debt for their sins by dying on the Cross. A Christian places his/her trust in Christ alone, believing that He is the ONLY ONE that can save from sin. We cannot trust in works/deeds because they just aren't good enough. Salvation is bought only by the shed blood of Christ and is FREELY given to those Who believe that. We can't buy it or even pretend to have it. Our best just isn't good enough. And that's the beauty of salvation. It's something I could never merit on my own, but God loves me so much that He freely gives that to me when I recognize my need. He'll do the same for you.
No matter what school your children attend, the most vital element of that is parental involvement. The biggest influence in your child's life is your home. Not the school or their peers. And if you're looking for ways to keep communication with your children open, I recommend "Parent Talk" - totally forgot who the author is, but you can google it.
So, that's our decision in a nutshell. Very exciting days ahead for us! And I am making myself available to the opportunities God will be placing in front of me and my family.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Butterflies and Zinnias

So, I grew zinnias from the ground up this year. I was expecting them to be the short, cute, fat ones when I planted the seeds, but they kept growing and growing and growing. They are about 4 feet tall now. And that doesn't include the pots they are in. It's quite funny. But I love them. My zinnias. They have about 25-30 blooms at all times and at least 5 butterflies and a few bees, as well. I love cutting my zinnias to put in my bud vases in my kitchen window. Zinnias are a happy flower. I even saw a gorgeous yellow finch enjoying my zinnias the other day. And for a split second, a hummingbird came to visit. He left too quickly for me to get a picture, but I did take one of a beautiful butterfly....