Monday, February 25, 2008

Blessings...

Yesterday we were blessed as Ashleigh (on the far left) stood before the Lord and the congregation of Coastline Baptist Church for Merritt Will's dedication. It was bittersweet because John was not there, but Ashleigh stood up for both of them.


"For this child I prayed;
and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:
Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD;
as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there."
1 Samuel 1:27-28

A baby dedication is not a baptism or christening, but the recognition of this child being a gift from the Lord and the immense responsibility parents have to raise that child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. John and Ashleigh made a commitment to the Lord, by His grace, to raise Merritt in a Christian home and to pray for him and teach him God's word, in the hope that one day he would trust Jesus as his Savior. The congregation then agrees to be a support and help to the family in that endeavor.

As I sat and listened to Pastor Chappell yesterday morning speak on the meaning of dedicating little ones to God, I once again realized my responsibility as a grandparent in the lives of my grandchildren. My heart's greatest desire is that each of my grandchildren would personally come to know Jesus. I hope they would know too, their Grammie loves Jesus with all her heart and that my life would exemplify that love by example. As most of us know, children learn more by what we do than what we say. Whew! And they said this grandparenting stuff would be a breeze! : )

So as Ashleigh and John made their vow to the Lord, I made mine too...

And my heart was full indeed.



Have a blessed day!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

It all started long, long ago...

I was talking to Ashleigh this afternoon about the pictures she posted from our trip to Disneyland this past Tuesday. We were doing what any mother and grandmother would naturally do--gushing for the bazillionth time about how cute Troy was with "Tigga-Tigga".

Then Ashleigh brought up the fact that it really is funny how she and I chose our style of Minnie Mouse "ears" based on our personalities.

(Me with my Pirate Minnie ears, fake hair and my niece Tiffany with her fake hair and Tigger hat-Dec. 2006)

And how those of you in bloggy-land that don't know us personally would probably think, based on our writing styles--Ashleigh would choose the flashy sequined ears and I would choose the more subdued ears.

No way. No subdued Minnie Mouse ears or Disney hats for me. And this is where it all started:

August 1975. This picture was taken the day after my parents took me and two friends to Disneyland for my birthday. Notice the hat? It was purchased at the Mad Hatter shop inside the park, as part of my birthday present. My friends Sheryl and Debbie each picked out sweet princess hats--but I didn't want to be a princess. I wanted to be part of the Jackson 5 (I know some of you young'uns who read this will have no clue who that is). My mom begged and pleaded with me to get something more "girly" and "pretty". Nope. I loved this hat.

I really wish I had the picture of me standing in between Sheryl and Debbie, in front of the Matterhorn on that sweltering August day--big smile on my face, proudly wearing my tie-dyed floppy hat. But my mom has the picture at her house and to this day, when she sees it, she always sighs and says how she still can't believe I chose that hat. Sorry Mom! It wasn't her style, but it sure was mine! : )

Blessings to you,

Thursday, February 21, 2008

News flash!

Yesterday I did nothing.

Actually I did go to church last night. But during the day? I did nothing. Nada. I even stayed in my jammies until the late afternoon. And it was wonderful.

Rande was sick with the same yucky cold/upper respritory thing that everyone else has had (except me, because remember? I've been downing Airborne!) and he really needed to rest because today is a work day for him and he didn't want to call in sick. Zach drove home with Ashleigh after Disneyland on Tuesday, which meant I didn't have any school responsiblities to tend to.

So we just hung out all day. We watched movies, read, talked. I'll be honest--it was a little bit hard at first to just do nothing. I had to keep fighting the urge to get up and do at least some little something. But after a while I gave in and actually relaxed. Gee! What a concept! : )

It was a great day. Except for Rande being sick of course. Not good. In fact, he probably should have stayed home today. It's going to be a long 24 hour shift at the fire station for sure.

Now I'm off to make the 2 1/2 hour drive to Ashleigh's to pick up Zach. I'm doing the smart thing though and staying the night before heading back home tomorrow morning. I'll be doing the crazy thing on Sunday when I drive back out in the morning to attend Merritt's baby dedication--then turn around and drive right back to make it to our church's Sunday night service. Yeah, I know. : )

Happy Thursday!

New every morning...

It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

Lamentations 3:22-24


So many dear ones I know are facing trials and difficulties. Be encouraged today...God is faithful. Always.


Much love and blessings to you,



**Image by allposters.com

Monday, February 18, 2008

Life in the fast lane...

Yep, that's about how it's been around here.

And I have pictures to prove it. : )

As y'all know, we've had the joy of Troy, Merritt and of course their Mama, staying with us while their Daddy is serving in the Sandy Spot. It was a wonderful, crazy two weeks. And we can't wait for them to come back.

There has been lots of snuggle time with Uncle Zach. (Totally off topic, but I have to say it: I hate the way our couch comes out this weird tomato red in pictures. I so love my red couch and wish y'all could see its real pretty red color. Anyway...)

We've been doing stuff around the house, trying to get things back in order. Still no baseboards, but that's another post. : )
School has been going GREAT for Zach since we made the curriculum changes last month. And having Ashleigh here made things more fun, as he had someone other than me to discuss things. He did want me to tell y'all that when I said he was doing Apologia biology, I should have said he's doing Apologia chemistry. He's doing chemistry. He wanted me to clarify he did biology last year. Of course I knew that because I'm the teacher. : ) But I do wonder where I put my brain sometimes! I never win anything. Actually, sometimes I win playing games at baby showers. LOL But I did have the blessing of winning this special heart pin from a special bloggy friend--Sherry at Lula's Hardt. She had a quiet little give-a-way a few weeks ago and I won! I love it! Thank you, Sherry! If you have a moment, click on the link and take a peek at her blog. It's one of my very favorites.


There was also a surprise visit from our friends--the Lopez family. This sweet family use to live here (and attended our church) and now live in Virginia. They flew out to see one of their sons before he left for the Sandy Spot.
A few days later, Zach and I drove out to Oceanside to meet up with Lopez's to say goodbye to Dane. We've known Dane since he was 13 years old and he's been like family to us. It never gets any easier to say these goodbyes.

On the way home from Oceanside, I took this picture. While driving. : ) I think it turned out pretty good considering, don't you? I was driving through Hemet (just a little info for my fellow California bloggy friends) and found it interesting that just the day before, I was up in those snow-capped mountains. I had taken Zach to Big Bear for a day of snowboarding. And the day before that, I was stuck down in the Palm Springs area because my car broke down (long story!). So within a 72 hour period, I had been in the desert, the mountains and the beach. Gotta love southern Cali! : )


Then there was the trip to Disneyland. They have a special going for firefighters and their families as a way of saying thank you for their part in fighting the terrible brush fires that plagued southern California this past fall. You may remember that Rande was on one of those fires. And I just realized we don't have any pictures of Rande on any rides. Bummer, since he's the reason we were all there in the first place!

It was Troy and Merritt's first time going to Disneyland, so of course we had to get Troy "Tigga-Tigga" ears...to go along with his Mama (notice Ashleigh's in the Dumbo picture above) and Grammie's Minnie Mouse ears. Because I like a little more "flash", I chose the pretty sequined Minnie Mouse ears. : )

And what did Merritt think of Disneyland? He pretty much did this all day--chilled out, while looking very cute in his Uncle Zach inspired outfit.



It's the end of the day and everyone is still smiling! Well...at least for the camera. : ) Let's just say it was a L-O-N-G day and we were all a little tired. We had so much fun though! Rande and I both grew up going to Disneyland all the time, so it was special taking our grandchildren.


Valentine's Day was a fun day too. Before Rande left for work that morning, he surprised me with a beautiful bracelet. I was shocked! We don't usually make a big deal out of Valentine's Day. And as you can see, Troy was happy with his little Lightning McQueen car.


And it the midst of all this fun and busyness, I've been cooking like crazy. I had tried this very easy recipe for a lemon-poppy seed loaf and it actually made two loaves. Good thing. We ate one and a few days later, when our friends stopped by for their surprise visit, I had something to feed them for dessert. : )

I also made these delicious and easy (because I'm all about keepin' it simple) chicken pot pies. I added some chicken broth (sometimes I add milk instead), used frozen veggies instead of canned and added salt, pepper and other spices. They turned out perfect! The night I made these, Zach's friend Brock joined us for dinner. Honestly, I think those boys ate almost one pie all by themselves!


The same night I made the chicken pot pies, I thought I'd make Mrs. C's Cream Cheese Cookies. Oh! These cookies were d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s! And easy! (I'm telling ya'--it has to be easy if it's going to work for me.) Once again, Zach and Brock ate almost half of the cookies I made. I guess if it passes the teenage boy test, then it's considered a hit. Thanks Mrs. C for sharing your recipe. My family thanks you too! : )

I think that brings y'all up to date on the happenings around here. Oh, I forgot about this...I don't know how I would have been able to get through the past few weeks without it. Between all the sickness at our house, working in the nursery at church and you know, just being around people...I've been exposed to all sorts of nastiness going around. So I've been downing this stuff and it really works! The most I've had was a slight sore throat. That's it!

Ashleigh and the boys went home on Saturday, but we'll see them tomorrow. We are meeting up at Disneyland. Again. Why are we going to Disneyland again? Because we have nothing better to do! (I hope you know I'm kidding! ) The real reason is because the special tickets we have allow us to go up to 3 times in a 30 day period. So we need to use those days. Soon. And Rande has tomorrow off from work. Zach has been doing school work all weekend to be able to go, because I don't think we can count Disneyland as a field trip when you are a junior in high school. At least not twice in one week. : ) So yeah.

I hope you all are enjoying President's Day. Looking forward to catching up with y'all this week!

Blessings,

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's all good...

It's crazy busy around here right now, which means computer/blogging time is at a bare minimum. We're doing good though!

I'll be back toward the end of the week, so until then...

Blessings to you all and have a great week! : )



**And thank you Sherry, for my hardt--I received it Saturday and I love it!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

It's all fun and games...

...till somebody splits their lip open. : (

Poor Troy. While playing outside with Grandpa and the dogs, he fell against a conrete wall.

Lots of hugs and kisses later, he is doing better.

And thank you to those who have asked about Zach.

He's better too. : )






Blessings to you,

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Maybe it was the ants...

Ashleigh, Troy and Merritt are here.

They arrived last night about 7:30pm, to Grammie and Uncle Zach's arms waiting to help with little ones....and warm bowls of soup and cornbread to nourish their bodies and hopefully their hearts too. I'm so glad they came.

I had called Ashleigh early Sunday morning to tell her Zach was sick with a cold and left it up to her whether she wanted to come out to our house as planned (as you know, she decided not to come) . She was already in the midst of what would turn out to be the hardest day she's had since John left. I'm sure she'll post the details, but lets just say it was an unbelievable day. One that left her dad and I literally on our knees praying...for God's grace and strength...wondering if I should go to help.

We decided I should stay home for now and stay in contact throughout the day, which was good because Rande ended up getting called into work and that would have left Zach to fend for himself until the next day while being sick (which if it had been an emergency he would have been ok). Because the Lord is good and He is faithful to be our help in time of need--Ashleigh made it through. And with such a good attitude! She amazes me!

But then yesterday we got a distressed call from her. There were ants. Everywhere. In her entryway. And she had had it. I could hear Merritt crying in the background while she killed the ants (with the only thing she had that would do the job--Lysol!) and Troy was needing his nap. When I hung up with Ashleigh, I said to Zach, "I think your sister is going to come after all." : )

She called a little bit later and said she was on her way. The ants had sent her over the edge. Those little nasty creatures have a way of doing that don't they?

So Ashleigh and her little family are here with us for a couple of days--and their dog Belle (our dog Brodie is *very* happy!). And because his baby girl is here, Rande stopped on his way home from work this morning to get donuts--because we're all about healthy eating around here! : )

Troy, Merritt and their grandpa are all taking naps right now, Zach is at the dining room table doing schoolwork and Ash is sitting in front of the fireplace chillin' on her laptop. But I may have to send my two children to separate rooms here in a minute, as there is a little bit too much talking and laughter happening around here. : )

Yep, this is my life. And I love it.


Happy Thursday everyone!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday...


Did you?

Because He knew I would need this...

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

James 1:17


Yesterday was one of those days. You know...the kind where circumstances keep threatening to rob you of your joy. It just seemed like it was one thing after another.

Ashleigh was supposed to come for few days with Troy and Merritt. We were so looking forward to it! Rande spent most of Saturday preparing our guest room so Ashleigh would have a comfortable place to stay. We bought food so I could make some of her favorite meals--and mostly we just wanted to be able to give her some help and relief from taking care of little ones on her own.

But it was not to be. Zach woke up Sunday morning with a sore throat. There's a mean virus going around here and in fact, my body is trying to fight it too. My throat has been hurting and I've been downing Airborne all day. So I don't blame Ashleigh one bit for not wanting to come out. I mean, the last thing she needs right now is sick kids. Not if she can help it anyway.

I was also missing Rande. He went back to work after being off the past 3 weeks due to his wrist injury. The doctor released him to go back to work, as long as he wears his brace. He was supposed to start back Monday, but he got called into work Sunday night, right before we were to leave for church. I'm not happy Rande sprained his wrist, but I have enjoyed having him around more. And it's been wonderful having consistency in our life, rather than living by his crazy work schedule.

There were other little things throughout the day, that caused me to me to want to crawl into bed with a good book and say "I'm done!". But we had school to do (which went really well, even though Zach was sick) and orchestra practice in the evening. I had to keep doing the next thing.

But God knew I needed encouragement to keep going and about 3pm, the mail man came to my door with a package. It was from my beloved bosom friend--Beth. Christmas is over and my birthday isn't any time soon, so I had no idea why she was sending me something.

Wrapped in beautiful baby blue fabric and placed in a lovely snowflake bag, were these fun little kitchen doo-dads. And in case your are wondering--I LOVE red! And I have a lot of red in my kitchen. And because Beth is my bestest beloved friend--of course she knows that! : )



I called her immediatley to tell her thank you--but also to let her know how much this little surprise package encouraged me on this somewhat dreary day. She was amazed I had already received it because she sent it out on Saturday and this was Monday. From Virginia Beach to Southern California--in two days. With one of those days being Sunday. Yeah. It was totally God. He knew. And He cared--about all the little happenings in my day. And He used my dearest friend to remind me of that. Jesus knows exactly what we need, when we need it. Always.


Happy Tuesday everyone!


Friday, February 1, 2008

Keepin' it real around here...

I'm waiting for a package. And because I had it shipped 2-day air it should be here any moment.

What did I order? Curriculum. For Zach. Algebra 2 and Language Arts. Yep, midway through the school year. Not something I would normally do--but then, hey--the past year has been anything but normal. With an ongoing house remodel (or would you call it a renovation? What is the difference anyway?!), a husband with a crazy work schedule, illnesses, injuries, surgeries, traveling to care for aging parents, a new grandbaby--it's been a tad bit challenging to keep up with life, let alone homeschooling. But maybe that's just me. : )

Now that things have slowed down a bit, I wish I could tell you that I have it all together and we spend our days gloriously moving from one subject to another, having meaningful discussions about whatever Zach is learning. And that he finishes every assignment on time. And that I correct and grade every test and paper the same day it's turned in. Of course we'd be doing all this wonderful-ness in an always clean and tidy house, with the laundry caught up and no interruptions to our day! Yeah. Sounds good, doesn't it? (And if you are one of those people who actually does all these things? To you I say--good job! Keep up the good work! And then tell me your secret! )

The reality is it's mid-year and we are struggling. Zach is a good student. He'd be the first to tell you though, he has to work at it. And I can totally relate. I like to think I'm a decent enough homeschooling mom--but I have to work at it too. Sometimes I don't work hard enough and other times I feel like I'm swimming against the current--trying my best, but not getting very far. And I think that's how Zach has felt since last school year.

So we had a meeting of the hearts and minds the other day--all of us--me, Rande and Zach. It was good. Really good. We talked about school, but we also talked about life. Our life. And where the Lord has us now, compared to last year and even two years ago. Good things are happening--our house only has some minor work to be done until it's officially completed, we are all healthy (except for the sprained wrist), Rande has a good job and we have food on the table. It's time to move forward. With a renewed vision, that's exactly what we are doing!

And part of that new vision means ditching some of Zach's current curriculum and replacing it with something that fits better with his schedule, my schedule and our life as a whole.

The last time I did a major overhaul of curriculum midway through the school year was when Ashleigh was in the third grade. Being the kinesthetic learner that I am, I was all gung-ho about the unit studies we were doing. Ashleigh on the other hand, was not so into it. She much preferred (and thrived on) a more structured way of learning (workbooks and textbooks). So as much as I didn't want to, we threw in the unit study towel. It was a hard decision to make because we invested a good chunk of money on the curriculum. And it was a real blow to my pride--because back then, you weren't really homeschooling if you used traditional textbooks or workbooks. Oh, when I think back to the pressure and judgment we moms inflicted on each other, rather than encouraging one another to teach our children the way the Lord made them to learn--I cringe! But as they say--that's a whole 'nother post! (And a long one at that!)

But back to where we are today. Zach has used BJU Press DVDs and textbooks the past four years (math, language arts, history and foreign language--he uses other publishers for Bible and science). This is a solid program. It's a great program. (And it's not cheap, but we only have one child at home and it's still cheaper than a Christian school.) But it takes a lot of time. If Zach does everything (watch the 50 minute DVDs, do the work and projects for each subject, practice his fiddle, ect...) he's doing school until 8pm or later. Throw things like church, music lessons, orchestra, physical exercise, time with friends--even family devotions--and the whole thing gets off track. It's overwhelming, to say the least. Even for a good student like Zach.

So we've ditched the DVDs except French 2 because well, I can't help him, as I don't know French. Plus, he's almost done with the program and it makes sense to stick with it. We are going to continue using BJU for history, just not the dvd. Biology will continue with Apologia's science program. For Algebra 2 we are going to switch to Teaching Textbooks and for language arts he'll use Alpha Omega 11 grade. Rande and I researched it out online, talked with Zach and even brought Ashleigh into it (she's a big help with these things). Oh, and we prayed too--because God cares about the details of our lives, you know! Now we are all looking forward to a new start on Monday, even if the school year is almost half over. I'll keep you posted!

So yeah. That's reality around here! : )

Blessings to you,