Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Light and Momentary

A few weeks ago in our Wednesday night Ladies' Class one of the teachers read a passage that stuck out to me and has quickly become my go-to verse these last few weeks.

Many years ago I loved this passage, more for the first part, and mostly because one of my favorite Christian groups had taken their name from a verse and brought it to my attention. This particular scripture then became something I haven't read much in past years, simply because I haven't spent much time in its particular book.

Anyways...at this time in my life, this passage has several different applications to my life, and it has been an encouragement to me. I was needing something to remind me to keep my eyes off of my obstacles and on the end result. I hope it will be encouragement to you too.

Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.

For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"
made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed.

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in our body

For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

Therefore we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles
are achieving for us
an eternal glory
that far outweighs them all

So we fix our eyes
not on what is seen,
but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary,
but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sock it to me!

I have always had an issue with socks...

*I need my socks to be tight around my feet. I don't like any excess bulk floating around.
*I must have the seam at the toes STRAIGHT across the very tips of my toes. If for some reason one gets crooked I stop whatever I'm doing, take my shoe off and straighten it.
*I can't have socks that are too big because I don't like for the heel to be higher up than my own, or sticking out of the shoe.
*I don't like to walk around in socks. I must either be barefoot or have socks and shoes.

My mom says that I have always been like this. When I was very young I was always very particular about how my socks were put on, and she never understood because she is sock-ridiculous. It's nothing to see her walking around the house in socks that have worked their way upside down and the dirty heel/sole is on the TOP of her feet.....sheeesh...makes me shudder just thinking about it!

Anyways...I fear that my kids have partly inherited my sock issues. Lawson likes to dress himself, but melts down if he tries a couple times to get his socks on and can't get the bottom on the bottom. He must have his socks straight.

And Jordan...oh, Jordan! Dear child will not go to sleep without socks on. I suspect this is how it started: Her bedspread got a small tear in it a while back, and some of the batting came out. One night, she woke up screaming and I couldn't make out what she was saying. I finally figured out that she wanted socks on..."so the bugs wouldn't get my toes." I couldn't understand, but as soon as I put socks on she laid back down and went right to sleep. I can only assume the batting tickled her toes a little and she thought it was bugs. And now, we must have socks. A few times Jon has put her down for the night, and 20 minutes later we faintly hear her crying up in her room...It never fails--if I ask Jon about her socks he sighs, shakes his head and heads back up the stairs. Within 3 minutes all is quiet.

So, in addition to finding clean jammies for her I also have to find her socks. And she's getting pickier about them. Many of you know I'm laundry deficient. Some parts of the month what I need is easily found in the proper drawer in her dresser. Other parts of the month it's a struggle just to find any two clean socks!!! But Miss Jordan complains...."Those aren't the same!" "Those are boy socks!" Things which apparently matter to a two-year-old...even if you're just going to sleep in them!!!

Jon doesn't get it at all. He thinks it's ridiculous. I tell him they get it honest and he's just gonna have to learn to live with it.

At least I completely understand...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

Un poquito de este, un poquito de ese

1. I don't know how we accidentally got an episode of WonderPets! on our DVR, but my kids LOVE that show. And I don't. Annoying!

2. Two mornings this week I have set my alarm for very early to get up and go to the gym. Two mornings this week I woke up and contemplated. Two mornings I decided I'd rather take my chances and sleep til the kids woke up. One morning they slept til 8. The other they slept til 8:45. Somehow better than the gym!

3. Our federal income tax money was deposited in our bank this morning. For the first time in weeks, I actually took a deep breath in a good way when I looked at our bank account! In less than a week it will be applied to bills and gone, but for today, that number sure looks nice!

4. This week the kids and I have met up with an assortment of friends that I don't always get to hang out with. I love getting to get to visit with people I don't know very well--so fun! And my kids love playing with other kids!

5. Much the same as everyone else who blogs has not been able to something with the refrain of "I am loving SPRING"...well, I pretty much am loving spring!!! We have been outside a lot--going to parks and playing in our yard. Last night we took the kids in the wagon and went for a walk after dinner. LOVE that!!!

6. I just want to say that since last Thursday my dishes have not built up once and my laundry is pretty much caught up! That is remarkable in this house! Next week this wonderful record may crash and burn, but for now it's definitely a record for me! :)

7. Jordan has woken up dry in the morning 4 mornings this week. I hesitate to post this, because posting things like this to the public tends to cause them to stop in our house! Anyways...she has been wearing panties for almost 3 weeks in the daytime and during naptime, but just hasn't been able to make it through the night so I still put diapers on her. I'm wondering, though, if diapers are about to be unnecessary in our house soon---for the first time in over 4 years???

8. Jon and I are planning on going to Honduras in June with Mayfair's trip. We are both very excited about going, but I'm a little bit nervous!!! It has been so long since I've used my Spanish! I hate it when people bust out the "Stacy speaks Spanish", because that sets up such an expectation of fluency and comprehension...really, I hope it all does come back to me! I have gotten out my old text books and song books and have enjoyed singing some of my old Spanish favorites... Turns my emotion right back to excited!!!!

9. Our azaleas are smothered in blooms. In days my backyard will experience an EXPLOSION of spring color, and I'm excited for that too!!!

10. I'm ready for the weekend and for Jon to be home for a couple days! After him being gone all last weekend and back to work this week we are needing to have some "Daddy" time around here!!!

I hope you all have a great weekend too!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Retroactive Post

I am very excited to be posting about our weekend...now that it's over!!! I didn't want to announce to the world (though my 'real' friends knew) that Jon was out of town, well, out of country, actually, and we were home ALONE!!!

Jon has never had a travelling job, and we've never really travelled separately, so I've never really been left home alone before!! I'm very grateful for the regularity of having him home, but I must say that I was secretly a tad bit excited about having a little bit of time to myself!!!!

Jon went to San Quintin in Baja EARLY Thursday morning, and the kids and I braced ourselves for a long weekend of hanging out and finding VERY free things to do!!! We weren't gonna be able to spend even a dollar during this particularly tight week. Well...Friday, Jon's parents surprised me by overnighting us an envelope with some Fun Money for the weekend!!! She sent cash b/c she didn't think I'd cash a check--she's probably right--but she insisted on us eating out and finding some fun things to do! I was SO excited--kinda made it more fun for me to plan the weekend alone with the kids!

I must say that this post would have been way much more fun with pics--and I almost bypassed the eating out and fun to go buy a camera instead--but that's not why she sent it!

Our weekend was filled with fun and friends--I loved it! Friday we met some of my friends at the mall to plan some class activities. The kids played in the play area for a long time, but I think they had a lot of fun! When we got home is when we saw our surprise envelope, so we quickly started talking about dinner plans! The kids wanted Red Robin and then ice cream, so I called my friend Heather to see if she wanted to meet us. We had fun walking around Bridge Street. This weekend worked out perfectly for us to hang out b/c her husband is taking a course right now and was studying for a midterm ALL weekend!

Saturday we ate lunch at Chick Fil A and played on the playground. Heather called me to see what we were doing, so she and Kaley met up with us for lunch. Then the kids took a short nap and I woke them up to take them to a show. I am so excited about finding this!!!! So...at the Space and Rocket Center, there is that new HUGE building with the sideways rocket... Well, in that building there is a 3D movie screen. Right now they are showing an animated 3D film called Fly Me To the Moon. The background plot is the Apollo 11 mission that landed on the moon, but the movie's plot is about 3 little boys/flies who want to go the moon so they find a way to hitch their ride onto the rocket. It is SOOOO cute!!! And the best part? Kids SIX and under are free!!! Usually 2 and under, but not here! So, with my $8 ticket all 3 of us got to watch! We put on our silly 3D glasses and watched--it was so cool! Lawson kept putting his hand out to try to touch them b/c it looks like they're right in front of you! The show was almost an hour long, and then when you exit the theater it puts you in that huge building with the sideways rocket--we spent almost an hour just walking around and looking at the rocket and the other exhibits. I highly recommend it! :)

After the movie we went to walk around the pet store for a while and look at the animals, then we at at Tellini's b/c on Sat and Sun kids eat for $1. And, well, because they have all-you-can-eat breadsticks. And because I was picking! :)

Sunday we had a good day visiting with friends at church and going to a Honduras meeting, then after evening church Heather and Kaley met us at the park for a little bit before it got dark. It was a beautiful evening and the kids ran like wild ones and definitely tired themselves out!!!

Monday we headed back to the park to meet with some other friends who just moved to Huntsville a few months ago. The kids all played together so well, and I enjoyed getting to know a new friend a little better!

After a picnic dinner in our living room floor last night, we cleaned up, got ready and went to the airport to pick up Jon! The kids were SOOO excited! We sat and waited as so many people passed--the kids started to say that Daddy was never going to come out that door!!! Finally, he did though, and I will always treasure the memory of both of them hopping up, screaming DADDYYYYYYYY and running way past the "Do Not Enter" sign to go hug their Daddy that they were so excited to see!! (I'm glad the TSA did not see them as a security risk and ruin our special moment!!)

I really enjoyed my weekend with the kids--they were wonderful all weekend. They slept great and acted surprisingly well and we had so much fun together! But I must say that I am so glad that Jon is back safe and we are together as a family again! This is the way it's supposed to be, I'm sure of it! :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Twelve Weeks

Back in November I participated in a weight loss contest. Well, I guess I can't really say I participated. I should just say I signed up and paid my entry fee! From then on, it was pretty much out of my life!

I had just stopped delivering papers on the last day of October, and felt like so many areas of my life had slipped away because of the time and energy commitment that the papers required. Looking back, I really see how that 3 1/2 years really took such a toll on pretty much every area of my life. Anyways...when I planned on spending 12 weeks concentrating on losing some weight, I also set out a few other goals for myself too.

First of all I wanted to lose weight. In addition to that, I wanted to spend some time trying to improve other areas of my life too. I wanted to do better about keeping my housework kept up. There were also several projects around the house that had needed to be done for a while. I had let fun play time and educational teaching time with the kids slip. I had gotten in the habit of not treating Jon the way I should. I had all but given up any sort of Bible or recreational reading because of just being plain exhausted from doing the paper route. I wanted to incorporate all of those things back into my life. Even more, I wanted to strengthen my prayer life through that time.

I agreed to co-teach a Sunday morning Bible class as a way to make myself meet my goal of spending more time in the Word. I spent time studying with the SH Girls' Bible Study. I also spent some time reading I also feel like I spent more time in prayer during those 12 weeks.

I tried to research books and plan out a way to read extracurricular books that would encourage growth several different facets of life--so I made a list and a strenuous goal of reading a book a week for those 12 weeks. I ended up not quite meeting that goal--but I did complete 6 books and read most or part of 3 others in 12 weeks.

I really felt like God was working through some of the selections I chose--It was so shocking to me how I would be in a Bible class and hear a comment that directly related to something I had just read. Or how I needed a new aspect on a scripture I was to teach in class and realized I had just read about that in another book that week. I read while I was riding the bike at the gym. I read before I went to sleep at night.

At the end of the 12 weeks, I feel like the weight loss is the only area of my life where I didn't experience some success in my goals. It was encouraging to me to spend some time working on things that I really felt needed some work. I am thinking about starting a new 12 week journey to set new goals for myself...If you have any ideas for books or resources, please feel free to suggest them!

The books I read my 1st 12 weeks...
**Body For Life--a book outlining a healthy eating and exercising plan. This book is encouraging to me...I struggled with this goal, though, because of a very painful knee injury.
**Calm My Anxious Heart--a great book that deals with being content in whatever situation God has you in right now. I was desperately needing this book!
**Transforming your Children into Spiritual Champions--I only read about half of this book but it had a lot of really good ideas. The idea behind it is that churches and families should put a huge effort into planting a strong faith seed in young children so that it can grow and mature with them as they do. The reason I couldn't get through the whole thing is because the author had done so much research then included all those statistics in the reading--I wish it hadn't been so numerical!!!
**Into Thin Air--This is the only book I read that wasn't of a Christian theme. It's Jon Krakauer's version of a Mount Everest expedition that he was on and the story of how tragedy hit and several climbers did not survive the trip. The thing that was amazing to me about this is the sheer determination and strength that mountain climbers have. A lesson that this did teach me, though, is that in spite of the best laid plans, we, as humans, never have full control of our physical situations.
**Captivating--I only read part of this, and I struggled through it. I had heard a lot of people rave about this book, so I picked it up off a sale rack one day. I guess the idea is that every girl/woman has always dreamed of a Prince Charming to come sweep her off her feet and how God wants to be our prince. I plan on reading it completely...someday...but for now, it just doesn't seem like it has very much substance at all.
**A Woman and Her God--I found this book in our church library, and I enjoyed it very much. It was a complilation of several Christian women's essays/writings about her own personal struggles/relationship with God. It was encouraging to me to see how some older women had met and come through struggles in life and faith.
**Quiet Strength--This is the story of Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win a Super Bowl. I am sure he is not a perfect man, but he is a Christian man, and his story is about how his role as a Christian has always affected the way he played football and coached his teams. It has also been a huge factor in the way he balances work and family. I was encouraged to see the story of this man--someone who the world sees as successful--be purposefully based on his faith in God.
**The Promise--This is a book I picked up at the public library, with absolutely no knowledge of what this book was about except for what the subtitle told me:How One Woman Made Good on Her Extraordinary Pact to send a Classroom of 1st Graders to College. While the reading was not amazing, the story was. This woman has done a lot to help her community in Oakland, CA. It was really neat to read about the investment of time and money that she made in each child's life. The one thing that made me sad, though, is that her commitment to this promise cost her her marriage, and it sounded to me like it was worth it to her. Sad.
**Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World--This is a classic that I've heard about forever, so I figured what better time to start reading this than during my 12 week goal? I didn't get all the way through it in time, but I have enjoyed what I've read!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Girls' Night Over

The Sunday of MLK Jr Day weekend, some of the teen girls asked if they could come spend the night b/c they didn't have school the next day. I asked Jon, and he said, "Sure!" Several came over. Some couldn't stay all night--but we still had a lot of fun. Here are some pics of the big kids acting like little kids!

On to the Trampoline:
I don't think they settled on a conclusion of whether they were going to make silly or smiley faces!!!
Practicing for their weddings!!! Here they are quenching their thirst with apple juice in a very romantic way! :)
Doesn't look like it, I know....but I was 100% there and this is totally apple juice!!!

What a fun night of staying up late, being silly and pretending to be young again! :)

By the way, that last picture was also the last picture my poor camera ever took!! Picture number 7,230!!! It took its first picture on September 1, 2007, so it lived only 16 1/2 months!!! Isn't that sad???

Friday, March 13, 2009

Snow in Oklahoma

At the end of January the kids and I went to Oklahoma to stay a while with Jon's parents. My camera was not working at this time, but I used Jon's parents' camera to get a few shots of the kids with their cousin, Maddison.

One day there was an ice storm (the one that was much more severe in many other areas tahn it was where we were at) pretty much all day. Later, a little bit of snow came down. The next day the kids went to play for a few minutes in what was left of the snow after the sun had come out.Maddie making a snow angel:

Lawson making a snow angel:
Jordan made one too, but I didn't get a shot in time...Here's the angel, though:
I took the kids tricycles in case it was nice and they could have bikes to ride outside. Turns out it was cold all week, but they all rode their bikes inside every night!!! They had so much fun riding around Nana and Papa's house!
This is the night before we were leaving to go home. Maddison was getting ready to go to her house and after good-bye hugs the kids started getting super silly!!!! I'm glad my kids got to play with their cousin!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


When we went Trick-or-Treating, the kids got several coupons for free bowling games in their buckets. One day in January we were feeling the need to get out of the house and Jon suggested we use the coupons to go bowling. We checked the tickets, and that particular day was the last day we could use them before they expired!!!

We quickly got ready to get out in the cold and drove over to the bowling alley! The kids had just seen a Curious George episode about bowling, so they knew what it was and were VERY excited when we told them what we were going to do!!!

There was NO ONE in the alley when we got there except the worker guy. It only cost us $6 for 3 shoe rentals--he gave us Jordan's for free. Then we went down to our lane. I got the kids cute little ugly bowling shoes on while Jon went on the hunt for the lightest balls in the building!!

They had so much fun bowling! They used the guide rail and bumpers most of the time, which my mind kept telling me was cheating, but it is so much more fun for them when they actually hit pins everytime!!! They did do a few times rolling it on their own--definitely more successful with the guide, though!

Of course, Miss Independent insisted on carrying her own ball and putting it on the rail BY HERSELF...with no help!!! On the Curious George episode, the Man in the Yellow Hat kept drying his hands over the fan. Lawson knew just what this was as soon as he saw it, so he dried his hands off after every turn!!!
Lawson was into bowling for the whole time we were there. He would take every turn we gave him! Jordan, however started to get bored with it. She busied herself with other things, though, so we let her wander around as long as we could see her. Lawson, in the meantime started doing double duty--bowling his turns and hers!!
Discovering the computer...

Taking a rest...

Then, completely on her own idea, she got out the wipes and started wiping down EVERYTHING!!! I couldn't complain--who knows when the last time this stuff got wiped down!!! :)
We really had a fun time taking the kids on their first bowling trip!! We finished the night off with cheap pizza at CiCis!!! Good memories! Here is the scoreboard after their first time to go bowling, though it's not completely accurate due to a little bit of turn-swapping!!! :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Swingset in the Making...Part 4

Well, here it is...the last edition of Swingset in the Making!!! In this episode we will explore the art of hanging swings and enjoying the hard work!!

The kids felt the need to help out by 'tightening' the bolts...

When the kids went down for naps we hung the swings on temporary nails to test their separation from each other. When we got them where we wanted them we really hung them...then came the true test of the heavy duty swing hangers we bought on eBay--the big guy himself!!
"Is it gonna hold????" :)
"Wheeeeeee!!!!! :)"
Lawson's first time to swing on our swingset:
Shortly after this it started to rain, then Jordan had a birthday party to go to. After the party it had stopped raining, and both of the kids were dying to go out and swing for a few minutes. It was muddy and cold, but they had so much fun swinging it was totally worth it!!!
Jordan's first time on the swingset:
Night view of completed swing set:
We were concerned about it being strong. Just a couple nights later, some of the girls from the youth group came over to spend the night and went out to play. Jon looked out the window and almost had a heart attack when he saw this:
FIVE girls on the swings AT ONE TIME!!! The swingset was sturdy as can be--it didn't move an inch!!! I guess that says a little bit for its strength!
Since these pictures Jon has since shingled the roof. I wish I had a picture, but my camera broke the night the girls stayed over.
When the weather gets consistently warmer I want to stain it darker. Until then, though, we have been thoroughly enjoying having this swingset in our yard! Just this past week we have been out there numerous times!!!
I am also so excited that we spent only 1/3 of what this would have cost new and installed!!! Not to mention that it is stronger!!! We found the glider sitting in a trash pile on the side of the road with not a thing wrong with it! We got all the hangers for the swings and glider on eBay for less than it would have cost to buy just the hangers at Lowe's! We got the labor for, well, free!!! (Minus the sweat equity!!!)

Having so many posts about this swingset may have been tedious for some of you...but I just had to show off all of Jon's hard work. I have showcased some of his good work in this post, but this is the largest, highest quality piece of wood-working he has done for our family thus far!
I am so thankful that Jon's parents provided this for us! I am so thankful that Jon would spend so much time and energy building this for our family to enjoy!!! I am so thankful that summer is almost here and we will get to spend more of our day outside than in!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Swingset in the Making...Part 3

After the steps and the swing arm, Jon started the roof. This was the 3rd of January!! It was a cool day, but Jon got a LOT done!

It went from daytime to dark...still working:
The rest of us were cool, but Jon was sweating!! Taking a breather:

Time to roof:
Here's Jordan helping out by handing Daddy nails:
Sweet girl:
Before we go in for the night we need to clean up the mess we made today. The kids work together to carry a board around front:
By now, there's not a whole lot left to do!!!