"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding." Ephesians 1:7-8

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Guest is HERE!

I will not likely be blogging over here for the next three weeks due to our Ukrainian visitor, Ira, who arrived Sunday night. So check out my other blog which will update you on our journey of God being at work in our hearts and hers.


Thursday, December 13, 2012


Ethan asked Poppy if he could borrow his riding helmet for an hour today. He put on his "riding clothes" and was happy as a clam. He doesn't have any official riding clothes, but he has put together this outfit to pretend. It might be time to explore riding lessons for this little guy. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Practical Lessons

Here are some things the boys are practicing and learning around here this week as we prepare for Irina. Since I'm the only girl in the house, we've gotten a bit slack... and I don't really count because I'm just the mom. Of course, these are things they should be aware of anyway.

1) Treat Irina like a lady. Always let her go first and be mindful of showing her respect.

2) Raise the toilet seat before and lower it after.

3) Flush the toilet!

4) Close the door when you are going to the bathroom.

5) Close the door when you are getting dressed.

6) Don't run around in your underwear.

7) No potty talk or loud bodily functions.

Anything else I'm forgetting???

Thankfully the boys are generally very sweet with their close girl friends, so I think they'll be on their best behavior -- at least for the first week! ;)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Deck the halls

About two weeks ago, we got busy decorating for Christmas. All the boys (young and old!) love the lights and decorations. This year we had help from Grandma & Grandpa AND Grammy & Poppy. Lots of hands make light work! So glad for all their help.

Notice 4 stockings... Luke, Ethan, Aaron and Irina!
We recently moved our television above the fireplace. We're not a big fan of having the tv out in the open so Darin is in the process of building doors to hide it. He added the shelf above the tv and the moldings to make it look like it was original. Can't wait to install the doors. 

And now there is the perfect spot for our nativity scene! 
I love the Willow Tree nativity because Mary is holding baby Jesus. 

For the past two years, we've prepared for Christmas by doing a Jesse Tree. This year, we're trying something new and doing an advent wreath and nightly readings. So far so good...

 Only 15 days until Christmas and SIX days until Irina arrives!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dippy Egg Saturdays

I love our Saturday morning tradition! 
Every Saturday morning while I am out on a long run, Daddy is in charge of breakfast for the boys. It's become our routine for Daddy to make "dippy eggs" for the boys and they love it. They wait patiently while he makes each of them breakfast. What a treat to be off duty for breakfast one day per week!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sweet Snowman Treat

It's that time of year to give gifts to the boys teachers. This year, we stole our idea from a friend of a friend. As usual, I am not the originator of this idea. It's so cute, I couldn't resist.

I bought several large dark chocolate bars from Trader Joe's and bought the matching quantity of Panera Gift cards. I taped the gift cards to the chocolate bars and wrapped them in printer paper. Then I let the boys add the hat, nose, mouth, buttons and last they stamped their fingerprints for eyes. I added the ribbon for the scarf. It didn't take much time and the boys were able to participate in the gift - which I love!

Now let's just hope that I don't lose any black buttons off MY clothes, because all my black buttons are being used by chocolate snowmen.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Our Christmas Guest

It's ready... my new blog focusing on Irina and her stay with us. I haven't figured out if or how I will manage both. I'll probably link from here to the new blog if I update it. Still thinking it all through...

I've had lots of interest from people who I don't know AT ALL and for some reason, I feel more comfortable protecting our family blog and sharing the hosting blog address. So feel free to pass along the new blog address if you know anyone interested in adoption.

SO, without further ado...

Happy reading!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Making Some Changes

With Irina arriving in 14 days, I've decided to create a new blog with the sole purpose of sharing our experience hosting an orphan. It may be time to password protect our family blog and publicly share only our blog about our Ukrainian visitor. As soon as it's up and running I'll post a link here with the new address.

In the meantime, I need your help. We're grinding our tired brains trying to come up with a catchy title for the new hosting blog. I have a few ideas, but for all those creative folks out there I'd love any input you have!! Stay tuned... :)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Die to Self!

Dying to self... It is the craziest thing by the world's standards, but I'm so encouraged and challenged by it this morning after reading an article on motherhood from HERE by Rachel Jankovic. If I think back to my previous post about our challenges in school and the things that annoy me; if I think back to my frustrations and my idol of "the perfect school day", aren't they ALL opportunities for me to die to myself and cling to the cross? What comes after the dying???... NEW LIFE!!

Here are my favorite parts below. I can't resist cutting and pasting. If you are a mom, homeschooling or not, this is for you! May it encourage you as it has encouraged me.

But a Christian should have a different paradigm. We should run to to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future. Lay down your petty annoyances. Lay down your desire to be recognized. Lay down your fussiness at your children. Lay down your perfectly clean house. Lay down your grievances about the life you are living. Lay down the imaginary life you could have had by yourself. Let it go.

Death to yourself is not the end of the story. We, of all people, ought to know what follows death. The Christian life is resurrection life, life that cannot be contained by death, the kind of life that is only possible when you have been to the cross and back.
The Bible is clear about the value of children. Jesus loved them, and we are commanded to love them, to bring them up in the nurture of the Lord. We are to imitate God and take pleasure in our children.
The question here is not whether you are representing the gospel, it is how you are representing it. Have you given your life to your children resentfully? Do you tally every thing you do for them like a loan shark tallies debts? Or do you give them life the way God gave it to us—freely?
It isn’t enough to pretend. You might fool a few people. That person in line at the store might believe you when you plaster on a fake smile, but your children won’t. They know exactly where they stand with you. They know the things that you rate above them. They know everything you resent and hold against them. They know that you faked a cheerful answer to that lady, only to whisper threats or bark at them in the car.
Children know the difference between a mother who is saving face to a stranger and a mother who defends their life and their worth with her smile, her love, and her absolute loyalty.
Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness. Lay down resentment about the dishes, about the laundry, about how no one knows how hard you work.
Stop clinging to yourself and cling to the cross. There is more joy and more life and more laughter on the other side of death than you can possibly carry alone.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

No photos? Why not ramble?

Well... I've officially run out of space to store my photos on this free blog. bummer! (Or at least that is the message I've been getting since last week when I tried to post a photo.) Haven't had the time or energy to figure it all out and I'm too cheap to spring for the new increased rates of $30 a year. I know it's only $2.50 a month, but there has to be a better way. ;) So, until I figure out the photo issues I think I can still post thoughts. I know... it's certainly not as fun, but that's the best I can do. (Although, I hope I can get things up and running before Irina arrives in 18 days!!! I've got to be able to post photos of her.)

I've been enjoying this blog since August of 2011. (Maybe you have too?) When I got started, the purpose was to have an outlet for processing and documenting what God is teaching me. In addition to that, I wanted to share with friends and family positive homeschool experiences as a testimony to God being at work. All the while, praying for humility and not a boastful spirit. I hope that's been true! Along the way, I've also enjoyed documenting family experiences, adventures and milestones.

I haven't really posted much about school lately. I have to say, it has been HARD. It is a struggle often. What I need to spend more time doing is recording the great moments and thanking God for them. If I really stop to think, there are some great moments. Sadly, they get lost and weighed down in the icky moments. Truly, our first four weeks this year were the best we have had in my memory. But unfortunately, we've hit some hurdles ever since then. If you know anything about me, I am a clutz and therefore NOT gliding over the hurdles like I'd like to.

We are on day 65 of school. We have good routines. Everyone knows what is expected of them. I truly believe God wanted us to try this schooling route again this year, although I'm not sure why. It's not because I have it all together. If you were a fly on the wall, you'd figure that out quickly. I DON'T have it all together. I knew we would have challenges. I know that God has met me in past challenges and the stretching of my faith was hard, but so sweet. And yet, here we are again facing challenges and I'm doubting and not trusting that He knows what is best for me. (Reminds me a bit of the stories in the book of John when the disciples doubt Jesus even after they have seen first hand the miracles He is capable of performing!)

He's refining something in me and I hope and pray He just hurries up and finishes His good work. ;) I guess I need to let Him, but my stubborn free will is holding on for control. blah! Sometimes I feel tempted to say it would be easier if the boys were not at home with me. I have many "Calgon, take me away!" moments. ;) Maybe logistically that would be true at times, but then I would be disobeying the direction that God was leading. I know that would be so empty.

I have three precious boys entrusted into my care and they are tricky to figure out. The only thing that is predictable is that they will test limits and at times drive me crazy. Luke's learning to whistle and whistles all day. However, it is the kind of sound that attracts all the dogs in the neighborhood. Drives me crazy, but his genuine excitement over little things warms my heart. He is not jaded or too cool - yet!

Ethan screams all day, just for fun. Like shatter the windows, high pitched screams and it isn't even usually provoked. Just the joy of being heard! Drives me crazy, but I love his giggle and smile and passion for art and animals.

Aaron is a bit of a cry baby. He's tough and has had to put up with a lot, but he sobs at the slightest offense.  I find myself ignoring his cries, because it is just a part of the noise pollution around here. It drives me crazy, but I love his delight in school and willingness to try anything (especially sports).

And so God, I know the truth. You are with me. You love me and forgive me over and over as I imperfectly love and teach my family. Help me to listen to you and be patient. Help me to quickly repent as I sin. Give me a heart full of thanksgiving and not a spirit of despair. Remind me of the preciousness of each of my boys, so that I am able to love them well. Teach me how to forgive, the way you have so graciously forgiven me. Help me to train these boys first and foremost to love and know You and to hide your word in their hearts. Amen.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Map Room: Before and After

Well, the room is not "finished," but the painting is and we are definitely enjoying it for school! I still need to make curtains and pillows and hang up wall art, but that will have to wait until the summer. Unless some free time opens up! ha!


Darin added the molding around the map, changed the paint color and put up the scripture. 
I love this verse above the map. It looks even better in person. 

We decided to have the blue be the accent wall and painted all the other walls "Gobi Desert." Appropriate, huh? 
When I was a little girl, I used to sit in the little school desk in my dad's art studio 
and color pictures while he did real paintings. It's very special to me!
 BEFORE - Lots of patching, sanding and priming!

AFTER : We sit climb all over this futon to do lots of "Exploring Countries and Cultures" reading. 
It's pretty plain for now, but someday there will be time to jazz it up. 
We love the new colors!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Getting Ready

Irina arrives in 26 days! Hooray! We've been busy getting ready.
(Read more about Irina HERE and HERE.)

I've mentioned before that people have been so generous. Here is a huge bin of outfits I matched up for Irina. (sweaters, turtlenecks, shirts, pj's, jeans, pants, sweatpants, fleece, socks, undies, undershirts, toothbrush, hair brush, toothpaste, dresses, gloves, tights) Most of it was donated from several different friends and strangers! I had fun hitting a consignment shop and found some adorable dresses and skirts for church and some other necessary girl items. (I can't tell you how much fun I had doing this!) 

The top bin is the outfits we picked out for Irina in the size we're guessing she wears. The bottom bin is extra larger clothes! She is not used to having more then one outfit at a time and possibly only one outfit per week. So instead of putting all the outfits in her closet -- which would likely be overwhelming, I'm going to set out a new outfit for her each day and then wash them once a week. 

I have some Russian books from the library and I'm working on making 
flash cards and labels for items around the house. 

My sister in law found this great dictionary at her library, and I was able to order us a copy on Amazon. I think it will be VERY helpful!

I think we're almost ready. We'll need to borrow some church shoes once we know her shoe size and purchase her a pair of everyday shoes, probably sneaks, once she arrives. I found a great deal on a warm winter coat in case she doesn't have one and a friend lent us snow pants, in case of snow. Maybe we'll need boots, but we'll cross that bridge later. I have almost all her Christmas presents wrapped and a new stocking to fill. 

Please continue to pray for sweet Irina as she travels soon. It will probably be scary for her at her young age to go live with a family she doesn't know who doesn't speak her language. Not only will there be cultural differences, but also hurt that she has suffered which resulted in her living in an orphanage in the first place. Please pray that we would love her well and share Jesus with her. Please pray that while here she will be connected to a forever family!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fresh Air

Remember that flu bug I had for a week? Well, it's still going strong as it passes to each boy. So far, Darin has escaped the bug and he is taking every precaution to avoid it because it is nasty! We're spending lots of time fighting bonding in our germy house. :) Really we're in good spirits, but we haven't left the house in a while and every day is pajama day. Certainly cuts down on the laundry this week! (Except for Aaron, of course, who is wearing his sporty shorts and shin guards!)
I think it's pretty realistic that we're a bit stir crazy. 

I'm sure you're wondering about school. How in the world are we not getting too far behind? The rule has been, "If you're well enough to play, then you're well enough to do some school." And mostly, the boys have been agreeable. So, the sickest boy lays on the couch napping while the other two do their school work.

On Friday, I insisted the boys get dressed in real clothes and go outside. We have been studying trees and did a couple outdoor tree activities. We measured the girth of 4 trees in the backyard and made a bar graph together. It was so good to get fresh air!

Then, we talked about the texture of the bark on the trees. We each took a turn being blindfolded, spun around and then led to a tree. We had to feel the bark, be led back to the starting place, spun around and then guess which tree we just touched. Then we did lots of hand washing after all that hand holding!

I'm praying that this week brings us much more good health and lots more fresh air! I'm thankful for Darin and how hard he has worked to care for all of us. He's been on dish duty, errand duty and been agreeable to help in many ways, all while working and tackling some more house projects. 
Thank you my dear!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I'm beginning to realize that I am a "Jack of All Trades, Master of None." I love crafting, sewing, knitting and being artistic but I never really stick with any one thing long enough to be exceptional at it. But, I'm okay with that. :)

Recently, I've been itching to do a painting. It's kind of funny to see in writing.  I have zero painting experience. Darin doesn't even like me to paint our walls because I'm not careful enough. However, the boys keep bringing home great artwork from art class and I think, "Gosh, I want to try that too."

And then my inspiration struck... dear friends are moving to Pennsylvania to pastor a church there. The wife, Kristen, is very dear to me and as I thought of a gift to give her, I thought about how encouraging her relationship with the Lord has been to me. Immediately, Colossians 2:6-7 popped in my head.

"So then just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness."

I lived for a long time with shallow roots. I wasn't studying God's word and although I believed in Him, I wasn't seeing the fruit of a close relationship with Him. My friend Kristen is the epitome of deep roots. She loves the Lord and His Spirit overflows from her. The perfect verse for what I wanted!

Quickly, I had a vision of what I wanted my painting to look like and called my artist dad to see if what I was wanting to do was even possible for a beginner like me. I decided that if the painting looked terrible, I could easily come up with a different gift. After three days of working on it, I finished my painting last night. My dad was so gracious to talk me through how to make my sketch on regular paper and then transfer it to the canvas. He came over two times to help coach me through the painting. It was super special time for me and I hope he enjoyed it as much as I did!

So, without further ado... here is my first painting. Not spectacular, but from the heart and I can't tell you how much joy it brought me to create this for my friend. I probably shouldn't quit my day job, but I'm pleased with the result. It was just what I envisioned. Notice the Bible verse is the "deep roots."

We will miss you very much Purdy Family!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Can't catch my little sport!

EVERY morning Aaron wakes up and puts on his #4 shirt, his "three stripe shorts" and his SHIN GUARDS. Seriously, he wears them ALL day long EVERY DAY! I'm not sure what he needs the shin guards for, but he loves to wear them. Maybe in case his brothers kick him in the shins? :)

He pulls this outfit out of the dirty laundry basket every day and puts it on. He will only settle for another pair of sporty shorts and some other sporty shirt. Okay..let me remind you... it was 31 degrees out this morning, but to Aaron it doesn't matter. "I like to be cold," he says. The only way I can convince him to put on pants when we go outside is if I let him keep his shorts on underneath. Some battles are just not worth fighting. ;) So we compromise with a little bulk from the shorts under his pants.

I tried to catch a picture of him this morning and he was too fast!

I love my sporty guy! He cracks me up. He told me today that some day he is going to play on the USA Basketball team or the Virginia Tech Football team. Those are some great aspirations little guy. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Just what I needed

At the end of a long week of battling the flu, I'm tired but oh so ENCOURAGED! There are no nannies around here and the kids don't get on the big yellow bus. Haven't found a substitute teacher yet either. ;) SO, it was just me and the kiddos moving forward trying to rest and trying to not get behind in our studies or lose our routine. The fever and aches started Sunday afternoon and just kept on coming. Today (Friday) is the first day I'm fever free and praying I'll be at 100% tomorrow... pretty please. :)

Here is how God blessed me in the midst of it all. (By the way, fevers are the pits! I haven't had one of those in years and years. Gives me a whole lot more compassion now.)

Monday: We made it through a normal regular school day. (nothing is normal around here!) We were scheduled to host a wonderful couple, Hal and Melanie Young, that evening as they spoke at a local homeschool meeting on "Raising Real Men." In light of my fever, I was blessed that my husband took charge and generously made alternate arrangements for them. Very disappointed to miss meeting them and learning from them, but so thankful that Darin made the decision and made the plans. (And I know they were probably glad to not get my germs!) If you have boys, I highly recommend their book. I just finished it last night. Great stuff!

Tuesday: Our school on Tuesday focused on politics with a trip to the polls with a fever going strong. Nothing would keep me away from voting. ;) The boys were so wonderful as we waited for 45 minutes. Truly a gift! Then that afternoon, a dear friend brought the two older boys to art class while I rested at home with Aaron. Two and a half hours with only one boy was heavenly.

Wednesday: Thinking I was over the hump we attended Community Bible Study, only to return home and realize my fever was back and going strong. So sorry CBS friends! I had no idea! And if you are reading this blog, Wednesday also brought SO many things in which to boast in the Lord I couldn't possibly get discouraged by how terrible I felt. I scrapped math/grammar and we did science experiments instead. The boys were attentive and excited!
How many books will 4 eggs hold! 15!!

Thursday: After sleeping 11 hours, I was determined to move along with school. My fever just wouldn't let me feel normal, so I parked myself on the couch in my jammies and robe and the boys came to me when it was their turn to "work with mom." Darin worked from home so he could reinforce and supervise what was going on in the school room. This was a gift. Then my mom surprised me with dinner and company for a couple hours in the afternoon. Another unexpected blessing!

Friday: Finally my fever is gone and I'm feeling a little bit better. The weekend starts tomorrow and I can't wait to get back to my running routine... might need to wait until Monday, if I'm being wise. So glad I didn't sign up to run in the half-marathon again this year which is on Saturday!

"This is the day that the Lord has made; 
let us rejoice and be glad in it."Psalm 118:24

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Great Weaver

How cool is it that God is giving me glimpses into how He is weaving His tapestry? Seriously, I'm exploding with excitement at how He is at work. Can I share it with you? This is just too good to keep to myself. :)

First of all, we were led into hosting because we were drawn by two teenage sisters, one of whom was getting ready to age out of the orphanage. Because of their faces and their story, we were led to consider hosting. God orchestrated all the details and after speaking with the director of the hosting program she felt our family was better suited to 9 year old Irina. We weren't sure of God's plan, but we agreed. In the meantime, the two sisters already had their trip planned but still no hosting family. This was put on the back burners in my brain, but not forgotten.

As we have stepped out in obedience to the Lord, He has blessed us exponentially. It has opened up amazing spiritual conversations. Many I would have never expected and those conversations have left me worshipping Him.

People have given generously for Irina (tubs of clothes, care packages, undies and socks, a promise to knit her a winter hat, special sewing projects, a girly bedspread on loan for her bedroom while she is here, a stuffed animal, etc, etc.) The joy I see as these friends and family share these gifts are beyond words. It blesses me to see them excited to participate in the Lord's work. How cool that I get to watch?

Prior to hosting, we felt led to give financially to another family hosting. Once they learned of our plans to host Irina, they graciously offered to return our check to us. We felt strongly that they should keep the check we had written. We were certain that God would provide everything we needed financially to host Irina. Three days ago, someone unexpectedly gave us a check towards Irina's travel expenses. Wouldn't you know, it was the SAME amount as the check we wrote prior to hosting??? They had no idea about the check we had already written. Can you not see God at work here?

Friends and family have boldly shared Irina's story and have advocated for her. As a result, there has been interest from a couple families in getting to know her and possibly consider adopting her. God, You are good!

My sister-in-law has used her homeschool message boards in a neighboring town to spread the word about Irina and to gather bilingual resources. She connected me with a family (that she didn't know) who responded to her message board posts. They had interest in learning about Irina, about hosting and about adoption. Now, here is the kicker... this family was so curious about hosting that they contacted the hosting program, Journeys of Joy. They are now signed up to host the two teenage sisters that I mentioned in the beginning of this post. Do you see this tapestry He is weaving?

I've been obsessed about all things Ukraine. I've been searching online, checking out dozens of books from the library, and beginning to try to attempt to learn Russian. (I love languages!) As I've searched online, I stumbled across a blog of a dear young women who works with orphanages in Northern Ukraine. I emailed her and she quickly connected me to a warehouse in the states where I could buy a "Jesus Storybook Bible" in Russian. Guess what arrived today?

The boys are so excited to be able to sit side by side and look at this Bible together, theirs in English and hers in Russian. Let's just hope they can keep it a secret until we give it to her as a Christmas gift. :) That might not be so hard since she can't speak English. yikes!

Stay tuned for more testimonies... Irina arrives in five weeks and four days!!!! We're so excited.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Equine Extravaganza

On Friday, we joined my dad for a field trip to the Equine Extravaganza across town. My dad was really eager to go and since Ethan is such a horse lover, we decided to join him. It was definitely geared towards horse enthusiasts who already ride, own horses or farms. I was a bit out of my element, but it was a great diversion after our challenging week. I was amazed by a certain 6 year olds focus and attention span!!! Unbelievable. :) 

 Learning to rope cattle with the help of Cowboy Troy. 

 The other two boys were too shy to participate, but I was glad Ethan mustered 
up enough courage after watching for a while. 
 An amazing sculpture... quick take the picture before the boys knock it down or break it. I had to drag a four year old away as he kept running around and under it. And another boy, who will remain nameless, tried to climb it!! The people on the far right were NOT happy with us. :)
 A highlight was watching Lizzy Traband. She is an amazingly composed 
14 year old equine performer, trainer, competitor and clinician. 

It was a great outing. All in all, the boys did great and we enjoyed being together. Ethan was definitely the most interested. When we got home, Luke and Aaron quickly went upstairs to play with Legos. I found Ethan sitting at his school desk coloring a horse picture for Lizzy Traband. (He wants to mail it to her!) He had figured out how to switch the radio station and was listening to old fashioned country music. I'm talking fiddles and banjos. He was completely in his zone.  I love that he is an individual. 
Thanks Poppy for bringing us with you. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Soothing Words

It has been a tough week as a mom and teacher. I'm not gonna lie. I'm tempted to wallow in the mistakes, failures and difficulties. That's just how I'm wired and have to fight against it! I could blame it on many different things and make all sorts of excuses. However, these words from my devotional remind me that I must look forward and keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. I'm SO encouraged by the Spirit leading me to these truths. I hope it encourages you too.

From Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling" devotional written as if Jesus was 
speaking to YOU and ME. (Excerpts from two different days.)
"Do not be discouraged by the difficulty of keeping your focus on Me. I know that your heart's desire is  to be aware of My presence continually. This is a lofty goal; you aim toward it but never fully achieve it in this life. Don't let feelings of failure weigh you down. Instead try to see yourself as I see you. First of all, I am delighted by your deep desire to walk closely with Me through your life." Sarah Young

"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." 
Hebrews 4:14-16

"Grow strong in the Light of My Presence.  Your weakness does not repel Me. On the contrary, it attracts My Power, which is always available to flow into a yielded heart. Do not condemn yourself for your constant need of help. Instead come to Me with your gaping neediness; let the Light of My Love fill you. A yielded heart does not whine or rebel when the going gets rough. It musters the courage to thank Me even during hard times. Yielding yourself to My will is ultimately an act of trust." 
Sarah Young

"Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:19-20

"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength." Isaiah 30:15

After a rough week and feeling stuck in the trap of ungratefulness and whining, how perfect that God points me back to this verse from Isaiah that I've been meditating on in 2012!!! This time, what sticks out to me is "quietness." Being a verbal processor, I am NOT quiet. I grumble and complain when things don't go the way I want. Oh how I know God would be blessed if I would submit to Him in the hard times and demonstrate my trust with a quietness that is so unlike me. Hoping and praying He teaches me how to do this. His word is so refreshing to my soul. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Let's Make A Deal

37... that is the number of jumping jacks I did today.
3... that is the number of push-ups Ethan did today.

I made a deal with Ethan. With the timer set for 3 minutes, for every math flash card he answered correctly, I would do a jumping jack at the end. For every flash card he answered incorrectly, he would do a push-up.

Bravo Ethan! It was worth every jumping jack. :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Friday Letter Fun

Every Friday, Aaron works on a letter of the week craft. Luke and Ethan take turns being his helper. With the help of pinterest, I have found some great ideas. These are not original and from several different sources. The boys look forward to this each week. Here is a sample of their work. I prep all the pieces and they put it together. Sometimes the big boys do more helping then I'd like... but it's mostly a great joint activity.
Nn is for nest

Ss is for snake

Ff is for fish

Bb is for bumblebee

Mm is for mouse

Kk is for kangaroo

Tt is for turtle

Rr is for rooster

Pp is for pig (my favorite!)