Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Goin's On

We are full blown into summer fun. The kids are enjoying our mini-lake pool pretty much every day.

They have become quite helpful, actually. I am not quite sure what they are up to. We have been asking them to do more on the house and around the camper and so far they are actually enjoying it and asking for more! I don't remember doing that - the asking part - when I was a kid :)

The house is progressing. John finished framing above the doors in the basement, so we are almost completely closed in (still looking for the front door).

I have been working on putting mud around the basement windows and doors and now caulking around the rest of the windows. I have all but finished the mud work. Seriously questioning my sanity at the number and size of windows in our house - now that I am actually working with them :) Caulking windows is tricky - and messy. Not one of my favorite jobs, but I am learning more and more each window I do. By the end, I may just be an expert!

Bugs. Period. It's just crazy the amount and size of bugs that have died in our house. And let's not even think about those that have taken up residence - yuck.

We did learn about a very interesting wasp - the mud dauber wasp. These wasps are building these mud nests in our house in a few places. When we knocked the nests down, little critters that looked like spiders fell out of the inside. After some research, we discovered that it is actually spiders (or other insects) that the bee paralyzes, lays an egg on and then closes in. Kind of creepy and cool. I like the idea that they are taking care of spiders, but I would rather they build their nests outside of the house.

John has been a researching, thinking, designing machine. He is waayyyy ahead of me and does a fantastic job of thinking things through. Thanks, honey, for all of your hard work.

The stair stringers are being built for us and should be ready this week or next. We will then fasten temporary treads on until construction is finished. I can't wait to show you pictures - I think they are going to be very cool!

In other news:
We are also preparing for the next school year at home. I was able to go to the local home school convention last Friday and picked up most of my books for next year. The kids are so excited - Hadden even prayed the other night that "school would start soon" or something to that effect.

I am excited, too, and want to spend some time this summer getting organized and plan a rough schedule. I really want to be more structured and organized.

Yes, "Annie" is still here. She has endured Lilly and has hung around. :)

The last couple of days have been a little bit cooler and we have not needed to run the a/c, so that has been a welcome break. We had friends up last night for the evening and enjoyed sitting out on the back porch (John was leading the chapel service, so wasn't able to be here).

Soak this in ...

Colossians 1:10-14
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. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

This is what makes the heat bearable

These pictures are all from the same sunset on last Tuesday night. You are welcome to visit and see them for yourself :)

Note: I get a little carried away taking pictures of sunsets - just ask anyone who has been to Hawaii with me.

This one is my favorite.

Good night

This was the cloud off the east side as the sun was setting.

Psalm 113:3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Just when I thought...

things couldn't get more exciting than the UPS driver coming up to our house ...

I decided to see if I could see what was wrong with the weed-whacker. I was in flip-flops and shorts, but I decided to see if I could get it to run. Surprise, surprise, after a fashion it started to run. Although I wasn't really dressed appropriately for weeding, I decided to just do a little bit of the worst part around the trampoline and finish the rest at another time.

Sorry - that wasn't the exciting part :) No damaged toes or legs from the weeding. I know better, so I won't do it again.

The exciting part is what happened next. The kids were enjoying playing in the kiddie pool and I went and sat in a patio chair near the pool to cool off. While I was sitting there, our faithful dog, Lilly made a funny movement on the patio behind me. It was an unusual noise, so I turned to see what she was doing. There within about 3-4 feet of me was a RATTLESNAKE!!! And very much alive. It rattled its tail once and started to slither away.

I was pretty much frozen - not sure what to do. When I felt there was a safe enough distance between me and the snake, I hopped up and grabbed a shovel that was nearby. I have heard of people killing snakes with shovels, so it seemed like a good idea at the time. But, I just couldn't get myself to do it - there wasn't a real clear shot and I was shaking so bad I thought I might miss!! And then what?

btw - the kids were safely in the pool watching me.

Plan B - I decided to run to the camper and get the shotgun that my Dad gave John (thanks, Dad!). That way, I could keep my distance and still do away with the snake. Good plan, right? Except for the slight problem that I don't know a whole lot about guns ... like how to load one, for example. Minor detail. The gun is in a locked case so I had to find the right key ... unlock 3 locks ... get some shells out of the box ... and figure out how to get them into the gun. All the while, shaking like a crazy woman! The adrenaline was on full-throttle, let me tell you.

I actually did manage to figure out how to get the shell into the gun and ready to fire (well, I think - the pointy thingy was pointing forward and it was down in the barrel of the gun - works for me). I figured out how to release the safety on the trigger and I was ready.

All the time spent fiddling with the gun, I did inside the camper. When I came out, I didn't see him anywhere. He had last been spotted underneath our plyforms (which we are now using, btw), so I decided to climb up on them and try to scare him out. You're just going to have to picture this, because I obviously didn't think of you and have the camera handy :) There I was, shotgun in hand, still in my flip-flops ... jumping up and down on the plyform stack. The kids started laughing at me and said "now that's a picture, Mom".

My mistake was time - I *should* have grabbed all the needed parts for my little operation and took them out and kept an eye on the snake while I was learning how to work the gun.

The lesson of the story? Keep your eye on the enemy.

Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Very exciting!!!

Can you imagine my surprise hearing a horn toot outside of the camper and looking out to see this ... ?

We have a new driver and are VERY excited about it! The last one called and had us drive to the mailbox to pick up our packages. Whoo hoo - this one actually DOES her job. Awesome and kudos to the brown company :)

That's all.

What would you do?

Just wondering what you would do ...

During the school year we learned about some of the patriotic songs and their history. During that time, we learned about the song "Yankee Doodle" ... the chorus is:

Yankee Doodle, keep it up,
Yankee Doodle, Dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy

Somehow ... now my kids sing the last line as:

And let the girls be handy

Do you see my dilemma? Is it ok to just let it go and not correct them? :)

What would you do?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Proud versus broken - source

Someone had asked me to use the material from the information I posted about proud versus broken people. Since the information was not original to me, I felt that I should at least try to find out who did write it. Here is the answer that I received from the person who I heard it from:

"It has been a few years since I came a crossed this in a journal article in Spirit of Revival by Life Action Revival Ministries; so I am not sure who wrote the article it was in; but if you gave credit to Life Action Revival Ministries, I know that is where it originated. To this day it is still one of the best heart tools to inventory my heart I have come across." - Paul

Monday, June 15, 2009

Some welcome and unwelcome visitors

First, about the welcome visitors. This little girl beagle was found around the same time that we picked up Buddy on our road, so we think they may have been dumped together (with two other dogs). Anyway, she has kind of adopted us since the brick masons were here. We call her "Annie", but she is really not our dog. She is kind of cute (with the exception of her barking at all hours of the night last night). so for the most part she is a welcome visitor.

Unless you would ask these two - she is definitely NOT welcome to Lilly and Lilly takes every conceivable opportunity to bite her around the back of the neck and then roll her in the dirt.

Notice that Annie is safely hiding underneath the truck - protecting her neck from Lilly. Mercy doesn't exactly like her, but seems to tolerate her being around - as long as Annie doesn't get too close to her.

More welcome visitors - while the big boys were playing softball in Atmore area for the We Care Softball Outreach, the wives and kids got together. Two friends and kids came up for a nice visit - the kids spent most of their time on the trampoline.

Now - let's talk about some unwelcome visitors. After the wives and kids left, S, H and I were watching a movie when the wind picked up and a pretty severe storm rolled in. The camper was rocking just about as much as I have ever felt it, so we decided we might all feel a little more safe if we went to the house. We waited for a little break in the gusts, closed our eyes and ran to the house. I called John in Atmore to find out more information about the storm since we were now out in the house.

One of the doors in the basement had blown open (we don't have doorknobs just yet) and was banging really loudly, so I decided to try to secure it. The poor kids said they were more scared when I left them alone in the dark house to go and fix the door :) They were troopers, though, I must say. I was pretty scared myself, but had to hold it together so as not to worry them too much.

The worst of the storm had passed, but the wind was still blowing pretty hard, so we decided to camp out in the house so that we could sleep better. We were just about asleep when John called to check on us to make sure we were ok. As I was on the phone with him, someone drove up!! It was 10:15 at night, mind you, during a storm. Who in their right mind would be visiting at that hour??? I was SO glad that John was on the phone with me. I determined that it was probably our neighbors coming up to check on us and decided to go outside and tell them we were ok. To my surprise, it wasn't our neighbors, but two inebriated men in a 4x4 truck demanding to know where John was. One of them has been up one time before - late at night, also. I told them that I was talking to John and that he was on his way home (I didn't say when he was coming home), but had called to check on us because of the storm. Thankfully, they left fairly quickly. There are a number of things that make their late night visit very suspicious, so I was pretty shaken up after they left. John kept me calm and we decided it would be better to go back into the camper where there is a lock on the door.

Needless to say, John will be having a talk with this man and explain that his choice of visiting hours is WAY out of line and will not be tolerated!

Needless to say, I was thrilled when John got home earlier than expected on Saturday :)

Another very welcome visitor is back - summer sunsets! Last night, we enjoyed sitting on our patio and playing a game of Rummikub while the sun was setting. Glorious!

Colossians 3:12-14
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Progress report

We have had more help from PA! This time, it was John's Dad and wife Beulah. John Sr. was a home builder for 26 years, so he knows a thing or two :) He helped us install windows and doors in the basement. I am thrilled to report that we have ALL the windows and doors in except the front door (which we still need to buy).

Here are some shots from our time with John and Beulah:

I loved watching them working together

Aren't they cute?

John and Beulah enjoying some cool shade in the basement

Puppies! The neighbor's dog had a litter of puppies and Jesse brought them up hoping we might take one or two. We said NO! (aren't you proud of us?) However, now the mother dog has been spending a lot of time up here. She is also a beagle, we think from the same group that Buddy was from - as they arrived about the same time.

Hadden holding one that Jesse is keeping. They are really cute.

Savannah is holding one that is looking for a home. Want one? :)

Last Saturday, we also finished framing the bedroom level. John is working on adding nailers for the drywall.

I am working on putting mud around the windows and doors in the basement to keep the bugs out. I also am going to be working on caulking around all of the upper windows. It's trickier than it looks.

We also put our patio set and kiddie pool on the patio!!! That just thrills me - it is out of the grass and dirt, and just so nice to feel a little bit civilized again. One step at a time, and I like to celebrate and praise the Lord for every step.

OK - gotta get back at it!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Proud versus broken - part 3 of 3

For part 1, click here.
For part 2, click here.

Proud peopleBroken people
21. Have a hard time saying, "I was wrong; will you please forgive me?"21. Are quick to admit failure and to seek forgiveness necessary
22. Tend to deal in generalities when confessing sin22. Under the conviction of God's Spirit, are able to acknowledge specifics when confessing their sin
23. Are concerned about the consequences of their sin23. Are grieved over the cause, the root of their sin
24. Are remorseful over their sin, sorry that they got found out or caught24. Are truly, genuinely repentant over their sin; which is evidenced in the fact that they forsake that sin
25. Wait for the other to come and ask forgiveness when there is a misunderstanding or conflict in relationships25. Take the initiative to be reconciled when there is a misunderstanding or a conflict in relationships; they race to the cross; they see if they can get there first, no matter how wrong the other may have been
26. Compare themselves with others and feel worthy of honor26. Compare themselves to the holiness of God and feel desperate need for His mercy
27. Are blind to their true heart condition27. Walk in the light
28. Don't think they have anything to repent of28. Realize they have need of a continual heart attitude of repentance
29. Don't think they need revival, but are sure that everyone else does29. Continually sense their need for a fresh encounter with God and for a fresh filling of His Holy Spirit

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Proud versus broken - part 2 of 3

For the first part, click here.

Proud peopleBroken people
11. Have a subconscious feeling, "This ministry is privileged to have me and my gifts"; think of what they can do for God.11. Have a heart attitude that says, "I don't deserve to have any part in this ministry"; know that they have nothing to offer God except the life of Jesus flowing through their broken lives.
12. Feel confident in how much they know12. Are humbled by how very much they have to learn
13. Are self-conscious13. Aren't concerned with self at all
14. Keep others at arms' length14. Are willing to risk getting close to others and to take risks of loving intimately
15. Are quick to blame others15. Accept personal responsibility and can see where they are wrong in a situation
16. Are unapproachable16. Are easy to be entreated
17. Are defensive when criticized17. Receive criticism with a humble, open spirit
18. Are concerned with being respectable, with what others think; work to protect their own image and reputation18. Are concerned with being real; what they care about and what matters to them is not what others think, but what God knows; are willing to die to their own reputation
19. Find it difficult to share their spiritual needs with others19. Are willing to be open and transparent with others as God directs
20. Want to be sure that no one finds out when they have sinned; instinct is to cover up20. Once broken, don't care who knows or who finds out; are willing to be exposed because they have nothing to lose

For part 3, click here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Proud versus broken - part 1 of 3

During our recent staff retreat, we had several sessions led by a pastor from Florida named Paul Smith. In one of his talks, he spoke of living life from the upper room versus living life from the lower room. The upper room represents living a life with God - living with passion for God, worshiping and trusting Him, growing in and obeying Him. The lower room represents living in the flesh - living for self, desiring control, needing to define life in terms that meet my needs. It hit me that I had mostly been operating out of the lower room mentality.

The table below was very helpful for me, so I wanted to share it - mostly for my own benefit. So that I won't forget - so I won't go back to living in the lower room. I do not know the source, but I do know that it is not me. It is rather long, so I am planning to share it in segments over the next few days.

Proud peopleBroken people
1. Focus on the failures of others1. Are overwhelmed with a sense of their own spiritual need
2. Are self righteous; have a critical, fault-finding spirit; look at everyone else's faults with a microscope, but their own with a telescope; look down on others2. Are compassionate; can forgive much because they know how much they have been forgiven; esteem all others better than themselves
3. Have an independent, self-sufficient spirit3. Have a dependent spirit; recognize their need of others
4. Have to prove that they are right4. Are willing to yield the right to be right
5. Claim rights; have a demanding spirit5. Yield their rights; have a meek spirit
6. Are self-protective of their time, their rights, and their reputation6. Are self-denying
7. Desire to be served7. Are motivated to serve others
8. Desire to be a success8. Motivated to make others a success
9. Desire self-advancement9. Desire to promote others
10. Have a drive to be recognized, to be appreciated, are wounded when others are promoted and they are overlooked10. Have a sense of their own unworthiness and are thrilled that God would use them in any ministry; are eager for others to get credit and rejoice when others are lifted up

For part 2, click here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rested, and ready to get back it

We are back home after our break from camper life for about 2.5 weeks. Whew! What a blast we had. Recap - wedding weekend in PA, one night at home, We Care retreat for 3 days, one night at home, trip to Oregon to visit family and friends for the rest of May. Here are pictures from our trip to Oregon.

My parents with Savannah and Hadden

Sisters (L-R): Teresa, Linda, Debbie and me

Linda is running a petting zoo :) (just kidding). Savannah is ready to give up her bunk here in the camper and trade in for a room at Aunt Linda's. Horseback riding was the highlight of her trip. She has requested a horse for her birthday.

John took his turn at horseback riding

Another part of the petting zoo are the magpies - they have 3 currently that they are feeding. This one was squawking at me, so I was squawking back :)

Next up - can you say "chinchilla"? These little critters are so stinkin' cute - check out the baby one below that Savannah is holding. Can you say "I want to take one home"? :)

Our kids had so much fun with their cousins - they have cried every night until tonight that they didn't want to come home. Here, Savannah is with Luke and the chinchilla. Thanks to Aunt Linda (who may just be vying for "greatest Aunt"), they had a cousins slumber party.

Savannah and Hope are the only girls among the cousins.

Don't look at the next picture - unless of course you are Caleb and Jordan, then you can. Really, I mean it - they would not approve of my including this picture - it was hard enough to be able to "take" the picture, let alone let the whole world see (well, at least those reading this :).

You've been warned ...

You know I had to put it in, right?

My bro-in-law, Carl.

My Dad took John for a trip to see the windmills closer. Since we were last in OR in August of 2007, hundreds of these have cropped up on the landscape.

We also got a quick chance to visit my good friend, Jodi, her husband and adorable kids. Thanks, Jodi, for taking time out of your schedule to hang out with us!

As always, time went way too fast and we had to leave again. Many, many thanks to my family for taking the time to get together - there is just nothing like family. We appreciate so much the care and love from both of our families and always look forward to the next visit. We love y0u all!

We finished our trip in Portland, hanging out with my best friend from college, Heidi, and her husband, Rob.

The guys took the kids to OMSI while the girls walked the quaint part of NW Portland. The weather was just absolutely gorgeous! We have lots of good, clean, goofy fun when we get together.

Catching a reflection in the McD's window.

Self-timed picture - just because that's what we do.

Pose from college days - representing us sharing a brain. It's a tradition. Hadden took this one.

Mr. Sunshine - he always seems to bring sunshine to Portland. When we were dating, it was almost always sunny when he visited.

Awww ... Even just the simplest of things with friends can be the most fun. Love you guys!

I had to show you these. Footstools - made of what appeared to be real zebra hides. I can't remember the exact price (hi-d?), but one was around $1075!!!!! No thanks.

Mt. Hood

The End.