Packed, Prepared, & Pooped

We made our list (several times), checked it twice.
100 stuffed animals.
106 cards from Hope Point families for their child, who they pray for daily!
Bibles, counseling books, commentaries, children's books.
Technology for the fingertips.
Generous gifts from those who are blessed for saris for over 200 women.
Of course, personal clothing & items.
= 500+ lbs.

to love on tons of children, encourage our brothers & sisters serving faithfully in hard places, share the hope of Jesus, build up our sisters in Christ through Bible teaching, prayer, & worship, spread joy through simple acts, love on tons of children- did I mention that already?!

Before exhaustion takes over...Good Night! Pray that all four of us will get good rest on the long flights!

I am learning...

We made a prayerful decision last year to homeschool our daughter for her sixth grade year.
This, to me, is such an incredible year of turning from childhood to adolescence ~ what an opportunity to have much one on one time. This fleeting time of girlhood is beautiful.Of course both my daughter and I had our own ideas of what this time would be like. I can honestly say that both of us had expectations from that "fairy tale" spot in our imaginations. And with honesty I can say that we have had our share of disappointments already.

Our time together is more than books, schooling, making the grade (which I am praying we both pass!) sandwiched into working full time, making the office hours, being on the school board, caring for others, encouraging other ministries and a slew of other responsibilities.
Our time together has so far been filled with laughs, tears, tons of girl talk, reading God's Word, praying together, asking hard questions, directing a young girl into what it means to be a young woman of God. Her heart is special, I am thankful to be her mom. God is teaching me to hold her loose in my hand, she is His.
We are both learning a ton from this year of homeschool, much of it not taught in books.
I am learning to savor moments.
I am learning to not wait to say that I am sorry.
I am learning that the one thing better than a good book is reading that good book with someone else.
I am learning that God's ways are always better than my own.
I am learning that my attitude affects others.
I am learning that children can teach us a lot (I already knew this one, but worth writing)
I am learning time slips away quickly.
I am learning that I am still not good at math.
I am learning that I have forgotten much of what I once knew.
I am learning that I should have never stopped giggling like a girl!
I am learning...

these are a few of my fav~or~it things

the warmth of a bonfire on my face
the crackling of a fire
the kiss of the wind with a fall breeze
a sweet squeeze of the hand
leaves falling toward me as I drive through the country
an "I love you" out of no where
the smell of a pine tree
whistling of a tea kettle
giggling of children
sound sleep breathing of my husband, a calming rhythm
birds singing before the sun is up
the critters of the night, quite a symphony

Words Stir me

Words stir me. Both written and spoken words have shaped, motivated, challenged and encouraged me. As a believer and follower of Jesus Christ it is no wonder the power of words in my life. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:1,4-5 (ESV).

As a mom and teacher of children I know the power of words in shaping those most impressionable. Often an expression on a child’s face shows the affect of spoken words. With just a few words a simple disappointment can turn to defeat when harsh words of criticism are uttered. With just a few words a simple disappointment can be turned into the courage and confidence to try again.

The power of written words began stirring me at a young age. With her words, L. M. Montgomery made a young girl come alive in my mind. The qualities that I learned from a character instilled ideals that I still hold: daydreaming is necessary, imagination a gift, and independence should be exercised with prudence. As I grew older it was the written words of intelligence with imagination that captured me when I read the works of C.S. Lewis. Difficult truths of God’s Word suddenly made sense in a new way.

As I hold the Bible and read, through the power of the Holy Spirit, I am moved. More of my Savior is revealed and my filth made plain – which in turn makes my salvation all the sweeter. A holy God, majestic in all of his ways, cares for this world, each person in it, our individual hearts – he knows. He chooses to reveal so much through his inspired written word.

Words in this world are ample and are to be used with discernment. When given the opportunity to teach

or write for others, it is a privilege and honor I do not take lightly.

Choosing to pitch a fit, or rest in my Savior

Overwhelmed, a little stressed, the plans laid out beautifully in my head are not going at all as planned. It is a season, I know that this too shall pass. I have shared with close friends that if this is a test, I am failing.  I am choosing to refuse to be comforted; choosing rather to pitch my little fit of crying and dwell in my disappointments.

I have been refusing (much like that of an infant) to rest in my Savior.

I can remember holding my children late at night when they were babies. There were times when I would whisper, "just rest, I have you...cradled in my arms, rest." For whatever reason they had been pushed beyond that point of being comforted. Crying and wailing seemed to be what was preferred, until out of mere exhaustion...they rested.

How very much I am like an infant! 
I know that my Savior holds me, 
yet I prefer the crying and wailing, until exhaustion takes over, then I rest. 
Realizing that my Comforter, 
my Savior, had been holding me all along, whispering,
 "just rest, I have you...cradled in my arms, rest."

I am...

Thinking - of how incredible it will be to homeschool my daughter's 6th grade year! Precious mother/daughter time that will all too quickly be gone.

Thankful - that God has given my husband the desire of his heart ~ to work for orphans.

Wrestling - too often with wanting things my way, rather than surrendering my will to my all-knowing, sufficient Father.

Graced - by women who love the Lord and I get to watch them live out lives of obedience (struggling of course!)

Spurred on - when I hear from our friends who labor in hard places in the world for God's glory.

Hearing - two boys bang the wall, laugh out loud, son & nephew having a sleepover!

Pondering - what it would really be like if I lived a life denying myself and following my Savior unashamedly.

But I just pulled those weeds!

A refreshing morning, routine in every way, I walked to water the flowers by the mailbox. As I walked back up the sidewalk something caught my eye. There in the flower bed amid the flowering bushes and ornamental grass were...weeds! What? How can that be?! I just pulled those weeds last week. I am certain that I got them from the roots too. In frustration I knelt down and began to pull those same weeds, making sure to get them from the roots again. My morning just went  from refreshing to one of dismay. With sweat beginning to bead up on my brow I grumbled to myself that it just wasn't fair. I did this work last week.

Later as my routine day continued, I went about my work. It only took one thought. Suddenly, feelings of being overwhelmed swept over me. "I should be doing this. I should be doing that. BUT I am only one person!" Wait. Didn't I deal with this last week? Didn't my best friend tell me that I was the only one putting these expectations on myself? Did I not lay this at the feet of my Savior? Did I not confess this pride of feeling like I need to do it all?  Yes. I knew in my heart that I had gotten to the root of these feelings - my pride. I confessed it, had been forgiven, and felt the peace of Jesus completely.

God is teaching me. I am a slow learner. Weeds, like sin, must be dealt with daily. Once a week will not get it.  Of this I am certain, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

If and When were planted and Nothing grew

That is an old proverb that rings true with my desire to have a garden.  For several years now I have desired to plant a garden if only I had more time, when things slow down. Realizing that neither of those were bound to happen here in Mercyville, I planted a garden this spring! 
Meager beginnings, it is a 4 x 4 garden with watermelon, cucumbers, cantaloupe, & green beans! 

I followed the instructions: planting the seeds in good soil, making sure my garden was placed perfectly to get plenty of sunshine, and then I watered. With the satisfaction of dirt under my fingernails, I stood back and gazed.  This time something was going to grow! Oh, I did get one plant each (except for the beans) so that I could see green right away.  
However, in no time at all little sprouts were shooting through the soil!

Then with sunshine, rain, and just a little weed maintenance my little garden grew and grew.
Who knew? Clearly, not me.
Perhaps I planted a little too much in my small garden space!

 Last night we enjoyed the fruit (well, vegetable) of our labor! I picked beans from the garden.

Ah...from seed, to sprout, to big healthy plant to our dinner table!

If you are like me, having spent too long planting if and when having nothing grow...then this little post is for you. Go plant your garden!

Disclaimer: the corn was not from my garden, but from the grocery store - maybe next year!

He stands tall and proud, a my Daddy

Going into a war zone at barely 18. 
He stands tall and proud, a marine. 

He went in, he rescued, he secured. 
He stands tall and proud, a marine.

He saw much, did much, fought hard, cried hard.
He stands tall and proud, a marine.

Wounded in battle, he did not retreat. Came home to protests & peace signs.
He stands tall and proud, a marine.

A purple heart he is awarded...and nightmares that reoccur.
He stands tall and proud, a marine.

Pain still shoots through his shoulder. He would not change a thing.
He stands tall and proud, a marine.

He taught his children to love their country, respect those who serve their country.
He stands tall and proud, a marine.

The flag waves, his hand over his heart...
He stands tall and proud, a marine.

Thank you tall and proud marine!

cuddling my cockroach

Time spent preparing for and teaching students "Why must we be born again?" left me marveling at God's love toward me. He chose not to leave me for dead - dead in my sins with my heart of stone, a child of wrath, a slave to sin, unable to see, unable to accept the Gospel - it was folly to me. My natural self without a saving faith in Christ Jesus - I embraced darkness, loved it, desired it. The light I hated, shunned. So did you, perhaps so do you.

We all...
" were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience - among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and by nature were children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
BUT God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in or trespasses, made us alive together in Christ - by grace you have been saved - " Ephesians 2:1-6

Because of His great love, His grace - he caused a new life in me. My eyes were open to see that thing that I cuddled, held dear to my heart, convinced others was a treasure was, indeed a cockroach all along.
My putrid sin made clear, in disgust I want it no more. I fling the cockroach in disbelief that that was what I held so dear.  God has given me a desire for the light, truth, Himself.  That is why we must be born again - a work of God, not of myself.
Thought to ponder, prayer to pray - May God open our hearts (take from us a heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh) so that we see clearly the cockroach we cuddle, and cause us to want it no more. What am I cuddling?

writing and such...

thank you sweet friends for supporting me by encouraging me to write.  Shortly after I started this personal blog, I decided to start another one too! I have been faithful writing on it because it goes beyond my muses and lessons learned and is meant to  encourage families as they disciple their children! 

So when you check this one out and there is nothing new be sure to head over to because each week I post a new blog there.

Coming to a blog near you, aka Mercyville, a post on gardening! That is correct. My daughter (well she is suppose to be participating) and I planted a garden! More on that soon.

trying to cultivate

So in little ways, little deeds, my children are watching and following my lead. Or sometimes they just plain out question it!
Just a couple of weeks ago my daughter and I were sitting on her bed, brushing hair and talking life when my husband walked in with a heavy sigh..."I am done for the night, I am exhausted," was his cry after a very long, stressful day of working with an orphanage in Haiti. 
So being the doting wife that I am I offered, "Would you like me to run you a hot bath?" (This is his cure all, I think his mom must have done this often when he was young).  Of course, he nodded yes and walked slowly out of the room.
Then my daughter turned to me, her eyebrows raised, "He can't run water?"
I erupted in laughter. Then I explained that running her daddy a hot bath is just a small way that I can serve him. Then gave her a list of ways that her daddy serves her each day.

The next morning we were sitting at the breakfast table (it was a saturday morning no real routine everyone eat breakfast at your leisure kind of morning). Again, my daughter and I are just having girl chat, comes frequently with a nearly 11 year old, as we sat at the breakfast table.  My husband walked into the kitchen and headed for the pantry, opened it, stared, then turned to me and asked "Will you make me a bowl of cereal?" My daughter's eyebrows went up, she gave me a knowing look and said, "He can't pour milk either?" Laughter erupted again, as my husband tried to explain to both of us all of the little ways he serves us!  
Truth is, he does! Truth is, I enjoy serving him in little ways (it speaks his love language the LOUDEST)! So I am trying in little ways to cultivate a servants heart in my children at home.  Hopefully, when my daughter marries the man God has set apart for her she will love to serve him in little ways.  But I have a feeling he better know how to run his own water and pour his own milk!

Note: this is on the heels of me posting on
Just keeping it real!

Our Rescued Children...

This photo was taken last Sunday morning as they were heading out to church.  That morning no one would have imagined the earth trembling, quaking, and buildings crumbling two days later. We are so thankful that each of their lives were spared when the earthquake and aftershocks hit Port-au-Prince. Words cannot describe the devastation all around them. 

Our hearts cry out to our Lord this day for our children in Haiti, for all of those there. My heart aches, yet my mind knows that God is sovereign, and he "so loved the world." In His great love for us, his children, there will be suffering. 

May I allow the words of a young 25 year old survivor challenge each of us. Her words spoken this past Saturday, after finding her entire immediate (and several cousins and aunts) dead on Friday. 

"I HAVE to believe the Lord is good...In this trial I greatly rejoice, though now for a little while we have been suffering in all kinds of trials. These have come so that our faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though we have not seen him, we love him; and even though we do not see him now, we believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, because we are receiving salvation!!!! Haitians must be God's favorite people - He is taking us through this so that we can grip Him tighter, see Him clearer and love Him deeper."

Neyssa has no earthly family left, no home to return to...yet she has a living hope. She knows her Savior and wants Him to be known.