Saturday, May 17, 2008

Guatemala Trip Confirmed


Please be praying for me!

It has been confirmed within the last week, that I will indeed be traveleing to Guatemala in the next few months on a mission trip. I am sooooo excited! This trip was uncertain for a period of time because the missionaries we are going to assist had an unexpected death in the family. We were not sure if the the trip would even happen this summer. However...God had different plans than anyone in our family anticipated.

Originally, Reid and I thought we would be traveling as a family somewhere this summer to minister. Then, we thought it would be the two of us traveling together. However, we now both believe that only I am to go. Tickets have now been purchased in my name, so the plan of action is "official!"

Friends and family have graciously offered to help with the children. THANK YOU! Our trust is in God to provide all of the finances needed for the trip. (I didn't want to go b/c of the finances and was quickly told that God would provide! Since I always say this to everyone else, I thought I needed to actually BELEIVE IT! I trust that He will! He has always met our needs in the past! Praise the Lord!)

So, why go? Why now? Here are a few statistics that rattled me...

**Only 33% of children ages 7-14 attend public or private school.

**67% of chilren this age do not attend school at all.

**Only 27% of children ages 7-14 start secondary school

**Only 7% of urban children receive a college education.

**25-30% of Guatemalan adults are illiterate

**56% of Guatemalans live below the national poverty line.

**According to the World Bank, Guatemala has one of the most unequal income distributions in the hemisphere. The wealthiest 10% of the population receives almost one-half of all income; the top 20% receives two-thirds of all income. As a result, about 32% of the population lives on less than $2 a day and 13.5% on less than $1 a day. Guatemala's social development indicators, such as infant mortality and illiteracy, are among the worst in the hemisphere.

We have four main purposes for our team of ten people to accomplish on this trip.

1.) We will provide a retreat for teachers who teach the poorest of poor in Guatemala. We will conduct training workshops for the teachers and join them in a time of professional growth and spiritual renewal. None of the teachers attending have any education beyond high school. We are partnering with the missionaries serving the Latin America Christian Education Services in Escuela Integrada.

2.) Some of our team members who provide abstinence programs through Hope Resource Center in Knoxville will present an abstinence program to the youth in Guatemala. The young people will be shown the physical and spiritual advantages for waiting until marriage to have sex. The prostitution tourism in the country is on the rise. This program is will be targeted to some of the youth at risk.

3.) We will be involved in a construction project aimed at helping those who have so little to know the love of brothers and sisters in Christ who want to serve them.

4.) We will visit and be involved in a service project at an orphanage near Antigua called Fundaninos. This orphanage is owned and operated by a Guatemalan couple who are providing love and care for 40-50 children, some of whom have special needs.

I am greatly anticipating what God will do before, during, and after this trip. I know I will, once again, be challenged to live more sacrificially, more intentionally, and more humbly than before. I am grateful to once again have the opportunity to share the love of Christ with brothers and sisters in another country.

I traveled to Guatemala on a mission trip when I was in college...nearly 20 years ago. It's very exciting to be returning to their beautiful land. I am anxious to see if the children still play the game I taught them...Pollo. Pollo, Gato! (My Spanish was so bad, I didn't know how to say Duck, Duck, Goose. The children learned to play Chicken, Chicken, Cat!) From what I understand from a missionary friend who lived there for two years...this is still the game the children play! I am NOT KIDDING!

I share that silly story to say that we never know the impact God will allow us to have. A two week trip for me left the children of Guatemala playing a new game...Pollo, Pollo, Gato! Who would have thought a short term mission trip would have a lasting impact?

In our short trip, we are hoping to touch lives, encourage missionaries and teachers, love on children, share about the importance of abstinance, and more. I pray these things will leave the mark of Christ's love! I pray some lives in Guatemala will be different because of Jesus Christ. I pray our lives will be different as well. It is all for God's glory ALONE!

I'll be practicing my Spanish before we leave.

Mark 16:15 says,

And He said to them, " Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."

Marcos 16:15

Y les dijo: Id por todo el mundo; predicad el evangelio รก toda criatura.

Finally, if you would like to play Duck, Duck, Goose with the correct is Pato, Pato, Ganso! I did learn that is Spanish this year!

I'm grateful for your prayers!


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Redneck Seafood Dinner

Yep. Here in Tennessee, we's called "rednecks" sometimes. But, even us rednecks know how to have a seafood dinner!! Yum-yum!! Yeehaw!!

Calamari, anyone?

Monday, May 12, 2008

I Think I Can, I Think I Can

I am getting older. I admit it. My age shows more and more everyday!
However, what's a Mom of four boys to do?
I can't really run like they do. They rarely throw me the football because inevitably one of them will have to chase it down when I miss the catch. I certainly am no match with a baseball bat and glove. A "H-O-R-S-E" game of basketball ends in my first five shots. The Good Lord gave me four boys, but He did not make me athletic.
On Mother's Day, Braden and his cousin Camden were showing me how they could do belly-flips on the "jungle gym." They were so cute just flipping over the bar then landing with both feet on the ground. It looked so easy!
Believe it or not, this is the same "jungle gym" I played on when I was a little girl...I used to do "belly-flips" and "bar-hops" and "knee-hangs" and "upside down twists" and...well, you get the picture.
After watching them show-off a bit and listening to them "brag" about their new skill, I stated that I used to do "belly-flips" when I was a little girl. Yes, I was the "Jungle Gym Queen of the Neighborhood."
Reid was listening to all of this, so he challenged me, "Well, let's see you do it!"
What??? I would NOT be outdone by two children under the age of six! My reputation was at stake.
Therefore, at the risk of never hearing the end of this I am going to show you what this girl can do when she sets her mind to it! "I think I can...I think I can...I think I can!"
(Amy, Kelsey, this is for you!)

Yeehaw! Yahoo! Yippee!
I knew I could!
I am older, but I'm still "Queen of the Jungle Gym!"
Something to be proud of, huh?

Mother's Day Photo Attempts

One of the things I really wanted to do this Mother's Day was get a few photos of our family. The wind was extremely strong, here is our one attempt at a full family photo - like the hair?!
Here are a few of my favorite shots Reid took. He took some of the boys and I for Mother's Day. The boys were very cooperative! I realize how blessed I am as I look at these pictures!

I love being a Mom!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day - Celebrating the Gift of Motherhood

Before I begin this post, I'd like to wish all Mothers a blessed Mother's Day...even if there is less than two hours left of the declared holiday.

Today has been a glorious day! I have truly relished the GIFT of motherhood! Everyone knows my love language is gifts, and I have been so blessed this Mother's Day to be GREATLY GIFTED by the men in my life! It is the thought that counts...

Yesterday I was down in the dungeon cleaning. No, not really the dungeon, actually our schoolroom! I was organizing, cleaning, purging, etc... Meanwhile, Reid and the four boys were outside enjoying the beautiful weather. Sunny, breezy, warm...

Franklin came in and pulled me outside to see the "Surprise." While I had been working inside, Reid and the boys had been planting flowers around our mailbox as a Mother's Day gift for me. Red salvia and marigolds. The boys chose the flowers, and they all worked on it! I felt so honored they had spent their time doing that for me! They even did planters for the front porch! I felt so loved! (There will be a picture of the finished product - I haven't taken one yet. Trust me, it's pretty!)

I drifted off to sleep last night whispering a prayer for some of the influential women in my life. My mother and some older women have been spiritual mothers to me. They have imparted wisdom for this journey of motherhood. I am grateful for each of them. My life has been molded and shaped partially through their influence. I have also learned from other women around me striving to raise their children in Godly homes where the love of Christ is reflected. I whispered gratitude to God for their impact as well. Each woman in my prayer has been a GIFT to me! Finally, I sang in my heart God's due praise for allowing me to be the mother of the four incredible boys he chose to give us. It was a sweet way to close Mother's Day Eve.

Today, I awoke about 7:00 am. My eyes quickly focused on my three oldest boys walking quietly into the bedroom. My oldest was carrying a tray with a special morning breakfast for me. Everyone plopped down on the bed as I enjoyed my hot raspberry muffins made by Franklin, my delicious coffee made by Weston, and the thinly sliced strawberries drizzled with chocolate by Mason. It was precious!

As I was sipping my coffee, the boys brought me all of their homemade Mother's Day Cards. (Homemade is ALWAYS best in my book!) Every cherished card was written in their own handwriting and contained their own personal sentiments to me. What more could a mother want?!?

The boys gave me one gift to open. It was a new shirt. I'd planned to wear it to church this morning, but much to my dismay, it was a little too form-fitting for me. Uh-oh. Too tight. I regretted telling them I would need to return it, but then the boys told me that Reid had picked it out for me so I would have something to open. :-) My husband is so thoughtful!

Later in the day, Reid asked if I noticed something different about the calendar. I hadn't. He informed me that part of my Mother's Day gift is that he and the boys are going to fix dinner FOUR NIGHTS during the next four weeks! YIPPEE! I am so excited! I was thrilled with that as well!

Tonight I received the perfect ending to this Mother's Day. I received a Mother's Day e-mail from Mathiang. He thanked me for my "virtues, wisdom, and kindness." Mathiang has been such a blessing in our lives! He had left me a message yesterday to wish me a Happy Mother's Day and I was thrilled to hear his voice! Franklin's card to me even stated that I was loved by six men...Mason, Franklin, Weston, Braden, Reid and Mathiang! He is really part of our family! What an honor that he would call me Mom. (This picture is from Christmas, but this entry would not be complete without his picture!)

We spent the afternoon with my family at my parent's house. I post about that later. I promised my hubby that I would only be on the computer for thirty minutes! No more time to write... Well, maybe just a few more sentences...

One more cool thing about today. The blog counter for this BLOG rolled over 5,000. I started the counter on the day after Thanksgiving last year. That means over the last six months, this BLOG has been read over 5,000 times. Thanks for reading it friends! It's been a wonderful outlet for me to write my thoughts, to vent my frustrations, to celebrate my joys of motherhood and pour out my difficulties in motherhood. This blog has served as my pulpit for preaching, my record keeping system for family "funnies" and my way to keep in touch with friends far away. I am grateful that you are interested in what is happening in our lives. Thank you!

In closing, I must say that one of God's greatest gifts to women is the gift of motherhood. I feel privileged to be a chosen one to help raise up the next generation! I praise God for my mother and father raising me up in a loving home as well. Praise be to God!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Human Body Final Lecture

I just learned the most AMAZING thing about the Human Body. It is astounding to realize how intricately and intimately God created each one of us!!

No, nothing gross! It's an 8 minute talk about being "fearfully and wonderfully made." This is amazing! It's evidence the Christ really does hold all things together!

Everyone will enjoy this - no matter what age!

Something Worth Watching

After the post below, I received an e-mail with a link worth watching. It is a TRUE news story about an attempted robbery on a 92 year old woman. I hope I have her spunk and tenacity at age 92!

Here's the LINK!


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My Television Journey - Take the TRASH OUT!

I watch very little television. To quantify my term "very little," I would say I have viewed less than 30 hours of television programs over the past year...with the exception of Sports events such as Tennessee football. :-) So, truly, I watch very little.

I began moving away from television, when we moved into our last house. I am a complete idiot with anything electronic, and I had no idea how to hook up the TV. My husband finally came to my rescue and connected all of the cables once we had lived there for four months. By that time, I realized I had so much more time when I was not sitting in front of the television. I was able to accomplish more, get adequate rest, and didn't have the nagging feeling that I had been "wasting time."

When we moved into this house, we didn't even own a television. (Can you believe that?) Before moving from High Point, we had given our set to a single mom with very little. We thought it would benefit her to have one. Our intentions were to purchase another television once we arrived in Knoxville.

Therefore, when we moved into our current house, we didn't even own a TV set. Not one. Anywhere in the house. We procrastinated buying one because we didn't have the cash to pay for one. (If you know us, then you know we avoid debt like the plague, so financing one was not an option.) So, we waited. And, we didn't miss having a set. At all.

However, we were setting money aside to purchase a television when we could afford it. Not a big deal.

Our neighbor's son, Jake - age 10, was extremely disturbed that we did not (at this point) own a television. He thought there would be an international catastrophe and our family would not know about it! What if there was a massive earthquake predicted for our hometown? What if an asteroid was going to hit the Earth? What if? What if? What if? Seriously, he stressed out!
(Jake, come on now. I do keep up with the news through the Internet.)

About a year ago, when Jake's grandmother died, we opened our front door to find Jake and his parents holding his grandmother's TV, to give to us! Including a remote control!! It was a huge blessing! It was God's provision for our family because we had waited.

Jake's Grandma's television set is the one we have now, and the one we use. It works great! The picture is clear. The sound is crisp. It's great!

When we first got it, I was like a kid with a new toy. I was watching different shows. CSI, Survivor, The Amazing Race, etc... I realized I was staying up later, and later, and later.

One night, I watched an especially disturbing CSI episode, and I had trouble going to sleep that night. There were images I had seen that I could not shake away. These graphic scenes would not leave my mind. I realized that because I had not viewed anything of that nature in such a long period of time, I was highly sensitized to what my mind had encountered. I also chastised myself for getting drawn in to something that was so perverse and disturbing.

I prayed. I prayed for the horrible images to go, and that I would no longer be drawn to those types of shows. As much as I love a good mystery...

The next morning I wrote out a Bible verse out on a card. Then, I taped it to the front of the television set. My verse card stated, "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Philippians 4:7-9 It served as my filter of what I should be "putting into my mind" through the television.

Actually, after I placed that verse on the television, I found there were very few things that met the qualifications I had established for myself. Very, very few.

After a few more weeks of trying to find something worthy of giving my time, and my mind to watch. I finally turned off the television shows "for good."

Therefore, I've watched very little television over the past year or so. Very little - as stated above. I really had no idea what shows were on for the current season. And, Sunday night, Reid had a meeting. I thought I would pass the time before he came home watching a little TV to relax. As I turned it on, I noticed the Bible verse had fallen off the TV set at some point during the past year. Oh, well.

The first show I started watching was very disturbing...a male cop who solves murder mysteries...while his sister falls in love with a serial killer...and his sister's lover plans to mutilate her body before ending her life. This show had a scene where the serial killer was getting ready to "cut up the body" of the sister - while she was alive. I was so horrified, I finally turned the channel. I was even more horrified that I had watched it up until this point. I couldn't believe this was COMING INTO MY HOME WITHIN MINUTES OF PUTTING OUR CHILDREN TO BED! This show currently has the 9:00 pm time slot!

So, I try to detach myself from what I just viewed, and I try to find something better. I flip to ANOTHER NETWORK CHANNEL - NOT CABLE! The next show I find is about a family. "Mmmm, this could be good" I think.

The storyline for this show went something like this... Affairs abound. One brother is in love with the girl that he thinks is his sister but she really isn't his sister because her mother was having an affair with someone else when she was born. (Yeah - can you believe I was sucked into this?) The character of the family who was portrayed as having the most wisdom was one of the brothers - who was also gay. The show ended - I am not kidding - with one brother proposing with lots of love an sentiment to another man. As I am grappling with the thought, "Did that really just happen on television?" The camera fades out to show these two men making out. MAKING OUT! TWO MEN! ON NETWORK TELEVISION! (I am heartbroken as I am writing this!)

I snapped the television off.

I sat numb on the couch.

So shocked, I couldn't move.

Is this what is infiltrating the minds of America? Is this what we celebrate? Is this what we find entertaining? Grotesque and perverse deaths?! Infidelity in marriage?! Homosexuality as a picture of a beautiful marriage?!

I found myself - again - repenting that I had found entertainment in all of the above. I had continued watching this TRASH until the end of the show. Why did I do that? I think I kept hoping the show would get better. I took the bait. I bit the hook. The shows both lured me in. Little. By. Little.

Well, shame on me!

As if it couldn't be worse, I received an e-mail Monday morning about the first show I started watching. Remember, the one about the serial killer mutilating the body of the cop's sister before killing her?

Yes, America, the "good guy" of the show is also a serial killer. That's right, the cop-brother in this show is also a serial killer. He is portrayed to be a "good guy" because he only kills people who need to be killed. WHAT?!? And this is on network television. To quietly, discreetly, unobjectedly enter into the homes of America. I WANT TO SCREAM!! The viewers are supposed to "cheer" for someone who methodically murders other people?!? AAAHAAAAAHHAAHAHHAHAHAH!!

Can anyone tell me a show currently on television that is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, of excellence, or if there is anything worthy of praise? PLEASE!!

These are the qualities I want to feed into my mind and the minds of my children - as scripture commands. I don't want to partake of the poison I witnessed Sunday night. I would have to say the shows I watched on Sunday night were that...poison for the mind...straight from our greatest enemy. satan. (My friend Patti doesn't capitalize his name - I refuse to as well. It's silly, but it makes me feel better.)

Finally, please understand I am not saying that all television is bad. (I don't watch enough of it to know. Really.) However, if the shows I viewed on Sunday night are indicative of what is being produced in Hollywood for the minds of America...I want nothing to do with it. Yuck! I have better ways to spend the short time I have on this earth. What I saw was GARBAGE!

I'd appreciate your comments on this post. I know I am on a Soapbox. Sorry. If you can steer me in the direction of something worthy of watching I'd be grateful!

Otherwise, take the TRASH OUT of my home!!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Dissecting on the Driveway - Pig Heart

I'm still trying to be awarded "Homeschool Mom of the Year." (Not really, private joke!)

So, to expand my children's understanding of the human body, I made a trip to the Wampler's Sausage Factory. I thought I would stop by and pick up a couple of pig hearts. Yep. Pig hearts.

At the factory, this was my conversation with the receptionist at the Sausage Plant:

Me: Excuse me, Ma'am. I thought I would stop by and see if you might have some pig hearts I could purchase for a class that I teach to homeschoolers. We're learning about the human body, and the kids would love to see a real heart.

Receptionist: (Now, remember I do live in Tennessee.) Well, I think they just shut down the "Kill Floor," but I'll see if I can get 'cha one.

Me: Oh, that would be great. (I think!!!!)

The receptionist then tracks down a kind gentleman to help me. He arrives in the office in his work attire. (I would describe it, but I'm afraid I'd lose most of my readers!) This sweet man says he will "find some hearts for me in the barrels."

This kind gentleman arrives back in the office with a clear plastic garbage bag full of some kind of meat and quite a bit of liquid...ummmm...blood. As he hands me the bag, he says, "I got 'cha two hearts. We had plenty. Now, these ain't been dead very long. They're still warm."

Warm pig hearts? Oh, oh, oh my gosh! Uhhh....Once the world stopped spinning, I was able to focus and walk back out to the van to head home.

Our vehicle was full of extra children, so Franklin had to hold the warm pig hearts on his lap for the 30 minute drive home. I think he secretly thought it was "neat."

Fast Forward...

I took one of the the hearts to my Human Body Class (next blog entry). I kept one at home because Mason is not in my class, and he really wanted to see it. We spent an afternoon on the driveway learning about this amazing organ!

Rhonda, Kaitlin, and Jake came over to assist with the science lesson. We examined the whole heart, talked about the parts and their functions.

The kids stuck their fingers into the pulmonary artery. Isn't it lovely?We realized that we were not able to view the ventricles or atriums, by only examining the outside of the heart. It was Robin to the rescue! Wha-ha-ha! I grabbed our electric knife and cut the heart in half. Yes, I did. Uh-huh! Oh, yeah! (Does this picture look like I am enjoying this? What has happened to me? Oh my goodness!)
Rhonda - who loves all of our driveway science lessons - helped the kids find the right and left atriums, and the right and left ventricles.
Here you you can see for yourself.

The boys (and Rhonda and Kaitlin!) thought the pig's heart was "very cool!" They took it down to our neighbor's house. (And, I let them! What was I thinking?) I had to share this picture to show you our neighbor's face!?!
I'm quite sure there were some people reading this entry making the same faces!

I probably should have started this blog entry with a caution, "Viewer Discretion Advised."

Sorry if I grossed you out! However, if you know me, you know I would find some humor in that fact! Ha-ha!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Human Body Homeschool Class - The Heart

Here's a Homeschool Lesson for Amy, Betsy and anyone else who enjoys these tidbits. :-) This was the lesson about the Heart last week in Co-Op.

We have explored many systems of the body, and we are now studying the circulatory system. Today's focus was the HEART!

Kaelyn impressed everyone with her human body model that she had made at home and brought in for class. (The class earns a "treat" out of my Reward Box if they learn something about the body and share it with the class.) Kaelyn had worked very hard on this life-size model!

Today there were three activities for the kids. Each one was designed to help them understand the function and purpose of the heart.

First, the children had to pass cups of water from one bucket to another at the same rate as their heartbeats. For a child, this is about 90 times a minute! Needless to say, the children started fast, but ended s-l-o-w. It was an excellent way for them to realize how hard our heart works to keep our body going! Whew!

FYI, did you know your heart pumps your blood about 12,000 miles per day! That would be all the way across America four times - in one day! Amazing!

Second, the children made their own stethoscope. The first stethoscope was invented in 1816 by a French Physician. The first model was basically a cylinder of rolled up paper! Therefore, the children stepped back into history and made their own out of a paper towel tube! The outside of the stethoscope was covered with amazing facts about our heart!

FYI, did you know your heart beats about 100,000 times per day or 35,000,000 times in one year! AMAZING!

Third, the best way to learn about the heart - touch one - feel one - hold one - play with one! (Yes, I have lost my mind!) I brought in a pig's heart for the children to explore. The children got to put their finger into the pulmonary artery, explore the right and left atriums, examine the aorta, etc... (Actually, only the boys were brave enough to touch it, but the girls all squealed and made faces!! Eeeww!! Gross!!)

FYI, did you know your the pulmonary artery is your largest artery. It is almost the diameter of a garden hose! (Wow!) Capillaries, on the other hand, are so small it would take 10 of them to equal the thickness of a human hair! (How about that?!) Finally, if you connected your system of blood vessels - arteries, veins, and capillaries - they would measure over 60,000 miles! That is enough to stretch around the world 2 1/2 times! (And some people believe we evolved from dust! Huh?! That is AMAZING!)

The last thing you need to know about the heart - yes, your lesson is almost over - is that there are over 60 verses in the Bible that say something about our heart! God's Word says our hearts should be clean, pure, true, joyful, upright, whole an tender. God's Word even says sometimes we are to have a broken and contrite heart! Finally, we are to LOVE GOD with all of our heart!

Now you know about our AMAZING heart!!

A Devotion with Prince Caspian

Here is an HONEST snapshot of our family devotion time...

We try to do a family devotion with the the children every night. (I emphasize the word try.) Sometimes we read straight from scripture and discuss the passage. Sometimes we read from devotionals that are made for families. Other times we will read a story about a missionary. We have read most of the Miller Family books (highly recommend them!), and other times we read through a novel together as a family.

We have just started Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis. Although we read through the series as a family a few years ago, we decided to pick this book back up upon hearing that it will be released as a movie soon. The boys LOVE it! In fact, Mason and Franklin both have been reading it on their own time and getting ahead of the rest of us! (Shame on them!)

This is the first time I have ever taken pictures of what our devotion time looks like. Tonight, my camera was sitting out so I decided to snap a few pictures...

Braden was very attentive!

This is what the brothers do during our family devotion time...

Mason just being himself...
This was how our family devotion ended. The two youngest completely wiped out from the busy day - sound asleep. Shhh...
I loved this picture of Reid picking up Weston to take him to bed. It shows a father's love in trying to be gentle enough not to wake his son. So precious!No, our family devotion time isn't perfect, but I love it. Like I said, this was an honest picture!

Remember Running Through the Sprinkler

Remember Running Through the Sprinkler

It's time to get wet,

The sun is so HOT.

Let's get a little wet

With the sprinkler we bought.
Run through it fast,

Or run through it slow...

It really doesn't matter

You'll feel the cool flow!
Feel the cool droplets,
Feel the strong spray,
Wrap up in a towel,
If you get a little chilly,
Then you can continue playing
Remember your childhood,
The days go by fast,
Remember running through the sprinkler
For a smile that will last.

RFB 5-2-08

Thursday, May 1, 2008

My Own History Report

This morning the boys are writing a report for History about a famous American. Therefore, I thought I would write my own History report. However, mine simply entails some history from the past three days. A simple BLOG about the history of BLESSINGS in my life over the past three days!

Monday - On Monday morning, I awoke early. It was about 6:15 am. Normally, Reid always kisses me goodbye when he leaves for work, and many mornings it is this time or earlier. But, this morning it was different.

Our window was open, and I heard voices outside. Even in my groggy state, I could recognize the voices as those of my husband and my oldest son. I leaped out of bed and ran to the window to see what they were doing so early in the morning!?!

I gazed out the window to find my precious husband, Reid, holding an umbrella over Mason, and opening the passenger side door for him. I watched Reid unlock the door, hold the umbrella over Mason, and then walk around to his side of the car. Reid then hopped into the Nissan himself and started the engine. It was 6:15 am and my husband was taking Mason on a "Father-Son Special Breakfast." I felt like I was married to the most incredible man in the universe!

The night before, Mason had pulled Reid aside, and told him he had some "questions" about some of the things they talked about from their trip this summer. Reid had taken Mason on a trip to Baltimore this summer to share with him about "growing up." As Mason is entering into adolescence, Reid wanted to be the first to talk with him about many of the changes that will be occurring, and the life choices that are just around the corner.

Both Reid and I wondered if, perhaps, it was too early...maybe Mason was too young. However, now I feel confident it was God's perfect timing. How beautiful is it that Mason is coming to his father for the answers to his questions! Mason is able to approach Reid without embarrassment or fear. For that, I am grateful! What an incredible picture of what a relationship should look like between a father and son! I am married to the most incredible man in the universe!

Reid and Mason returned home from their breakfast together. Both were all smiles. :-) Reid came home to drop off Mason - and to kiss me goodbye! Smoochie, Smoochie! I am so blessed!

Tuesday - On Tuesday, we were extremely busy. It was the last day of our Co-Op. This year I have taught three classes there. I felt so blessed by the children. I received so many notes telling me how much they loved thankful they were that I was their much they enjoyed the classes...and more hugs than a person should be allowed in one day! I felt so loved.

I think I have recognized that teaching is one of the ways God has gifted me. I enjoy it. The children enjoy it. It is a blessing.

I am thankful for the joy of teaching these adorable and precious children!

Wednesday - Last night was the last night of our April Bible Study. Debbye has been walking us through the passage in Titus 2. We have been challenged as women in our roles as wives, mothers, and mentors. Each evening I have left with some "nuggets" (nuggets of gold; not chicken nuggets!) of wisdom from this biblical teacher. Debbye has done a wonderful job of expounding the scriptures and connecting them into our daily lives. Challenging - Convicting - Encouraging!

Last night's topic was mentoring. After some of the teaching time, we broke into a small group for discussion. One of the questions posed to our group was this:

"When has someone been God with skin and bones to you? Share the impact this person has had on your life."

I was blown away to hear two of the four women in the group Me? Unexpected. Unworthy. Yes, me.

As the tears rolled down my cheeks to hear them speak such a high compliment, I was swept over to realize that Almighty God, in His infinite mercy, had chosen to allow this broken woman to be His vessel of grace. Me? Me. I was undone. For these times that had ministered to these women, it was not my own strength that ministered, but Christ's Alone.

As I was listening to these two women share, I realized two things.

1.) The times they spoke of were times that God had called me to reflect back on places of great pain in my own life. He called me to remember his mercy and the lessons I had learned while enduring great trails and difficulties. The Lord had me share what I had placed on His altar as I surrendered more and more of my life to Him. Thank you, Lord.

2.) As I listened to them, I recalled the words to the song Mason wrote after Ansley died. The chorus says, "I want to thank you...for being Christ to me...for being Christ to me..." Wouldn't we all wish that to be the impact we have on another life?? After Mason wrote his song, I had often wondered...would anyone ever say that about me?

The words from the women last night ministered to my heart in a significant way. God allowed me to hear of two times when I had reflected Jesus to others. God chose to allow me to be "the hands and feet of Jesus" by being Christ to someone else. I am humbled. I am honored.

Ongoing Over the Past Week-

1.) Some friends of mine have been traveling down a road of surrendering. It took a crisis situation to buckle their knees and cause them to cling to the cross. It has been amazing to see God's Hand moving in their hearts. In a situation where blame and accusations could fly, their peace, assurance, and strength have been found in Christ Alone. I'm excited to see how God will use this difficult circumstance in the life of my friend, her husband, and their children.

2.) Mason has decided to write a book. Actually, his hope is to complete a novel. He is working on it nearly every day. Mason jumps out of bed and begins typing on the computer. He is now on his second chapter. As I said about the song he wrote for Ansley, if I do say so myself, this book is quite good. Currently, he has typed over 10 pages single-spaced. Of course, there are a few grammatical errors, but the content is amazing for someone his age.

I read his words, and I see him pouring out his heart onto paper. At eleven years of age, he wants to write a book with a message about the hope we have in Christ. Oh, the lessons he has learned in his short life. Oh, the truths that are already engraved on his heart!

I don't want to expose too much, but I am hoping he will post the first chapter on his BLOG to entice others to want to read it. Mason wants to title the book, The Purpose. I hope you will be blessed to read it one day. He is really desiring to share some of God's promises with others.

This concludes my History report of the past three days of blessings. God is so good!

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