Friday, May 31, 2013

Honk If You Are An Oklahomie!

Cody was challenged by his youth pastor to collect 10 cases of bottled water and 10 cases of sports drinks for the Oklahoma tornado victims.  Our church is sending a team next week.  He took this challenge very seriously and got to work.  First, he used his own money to buy sodas.  

Cody, Lauren, and Abby made signs.  Lauren made cupcakes and cookies.  They sold their items for two days by the side of the road.  (the girl on the right is our neighbor)
The sign that Lauren is holding was my favorite!
 They spent 2 days on the side of the road waving and flagging down cars to donate toward their cause.
Isaiah and Laila and I walked down to be customers
 They were very overwhelmed by the generosity of so many people.  
 Many people donated without taking anything or gave more than what they were asking.
One woman who was from Oklahoma, gave $10, then came back later and gave $20 more saying, "I have a lot of friends suffering."
  That really impacted the kids.
 Very satisfied customers
 He raised almost $140.00!!!  We went shopping for bottled water and sports drinks.  He also asked his small group to donate.  
When it was all said and done, he went way above and beyond the challenge he was given.  He donated 31 cases of bottled water and 18 cases of sports drinks!!

Good work, Cody!!  I am so proud of you!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Monkeys Are Out!!

School is out!  
Summer is here!  
It is the most 
wonderful time of year!
I just wrote that poem all by myself.  This time of year inspires me!  I love the weather.  I love sleeping in!  I love my air conditioners.  I am Happy, Happy, Happy!

Speaking of Duck Dynasty, which, by the way, is our absolute favorite show to watch as a family, Sam's class went with that theme for their Field Day this year.  His teacher's name is Mrs. Durck.  
His field day attire:
I cannot even express how much of a blessing these two women were to Sam this year. 
He had such a great year, and I know it was because of these amazing teachers.  
I might have cried a little on the last day of school as they read letters of praise and appreciation to their class.  
We are going to miss having you as teachers Mrs. Durck and Mrs Brown!!
 Isaiah had a concert at school.
Look at him rockin' his way into the room.
 He did great and smiled the whole time!
 Afterwards, his class had an ice cream social.
 Laila graduated from preschool.
Ms. Marilyn was the perfect teacher for her.
 Ms. Cathy was her speech therapist
 Abby had a Spring Piano Recital

 Cody has a new "do."
 Just joking!  It is a wig!
Lauren's caption for this photo:
"My, how fast they are growing up!"
 Laila and I had a few afternoons to ourselves las week while the big kids were finishing up school. 
She asked, "Mommy, can you take me on a date to Subway?"
 I took Isaiah to Chick-fil-a for bfast on his last day of school.
He is now a 1st grader!!
 Lauren had a 6th grade banquet
 Doesn't she look so pretty?
Poor Rick, he is a bit tired!
This little chick has learned to ride a bike without training wheels.
She said, "I can't even believe myself!"
As you can see, it is hair week around here!

I came home from running errands to find this.  
I don't know why, but the sign just cracked me up!
 Abby has once again decorated our marker board.
We are very happy to welcome in Summer Break!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Good Word

I shared this blogpost on my Facebook page last week, but thought I should share it here as well, since I have some people that read this blog that don't do Facebook.

When I read this post from Amy, I totally resonated with what she says.

This post expresses in a way that I never could why we take teams to Swaziland each year.

I believe in missions both short term and long term.  There is so much benefit and blessing that is gained on so many levels and both by those serving and those being served.

By the way, we are taking a team to Swaziland in October.  I will be sharing more very soon.  Let me know if you are interested in going on this trip with us!!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

2 weeks ago was Mother's Day.  Yes, it has taken me two weeks to post about it.  I am still working on my photos trying to get everything organized from the "Crash of 2013" as I am now calling it.  

Mother's Day is really an important day to me.  It represents my calling.  I  always wanted to be a mom, and I devote every day to that role.  I treasure it.  I take it very seriously.  Some days I don't want to face it.  I think every calling is like that.  There are joys and fulfillment intertwined with challenges and struggles.  I appreciate that there is a day to acknowledge this calling on my life.  

I have struggled with expectations of Mother's Day over the years, longing for a day that is all about me where the kids miraculously love and cherish me and each other all day long.  Those expectations have led to many tears on many Mother's Days.  This year, I chose to approach it differently and it made ALL THE DIFFERENCE in the world in how my day went.  For the week leading up to Mother's Day, I had an alert in my phone that reminded me each day, "Do not have expectations for Mother's Day!!"  Some may think this is silly, but honestly, it brought about the attitude in me that I needed to have.  

My Mother's Day Festivities actually began on the Thursday before with a Tea at Laila's school.  It was so sweet to have them serve us and honor us as moms.
The kids are making plates of goodie for us to bring to the table and serve to us.
She was supposed to make a yogurt parfait for me, but she decided it was actually for her.  Then, she took one bite of and didn't like it.  She said, "This is yours, Mommy."  I don't really like yogurt, especially plain yogurt so we just picked out the berries and chocolate chips and ate those together.
She even had a gift for me!
A picture of Laila and tote bag with her handprints

I woke up on Mother's Day morning and opened my door to streamers!
 I came downstairs to signs and decorations!
There was even some coffee brewing with a plethora of creamers to choose from!
All of this was done by the kids(mostly Abby).  Rick had to leave early to be at church for work.  They took ownership and made it special for me.

We went to church and came home, once again leaving Rick to finish his workday.  The girls created a "beach" for me to relax and then proceeded to do some singing and dancing.  It was fun.  It was hilarious.  I think we all enjoyed it!!
Laila's performance
Isaiah singing his wee little heart out!
There may have been other performances that I have pictures of that I had to promise not to share.  Do not fear, I have them saved and I will be able to relive those memories when looking back, just not on my blog!
My cozy beach chair
My Beach Snack
The rest of the day involved some gifts from the kids.  I received the coveted GINORMOUS cast iron skillet I had been wanting along with some handle covers to prevent injury(I am pretty accident prone)
I got lots of homemade cards, some homemade pottery, and the book that the kids write in every year for me.  I love looking back over the years at the things they have said and drawn for me.
I took an afternoon nap.  My absolute favorite afternoon activity!!
Our night ended with Chipotle/Panda Express so I did not have to cook!!
The reasons I celebrate this Day!!
My mom with all of her grandkids.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Words are important to me.  I believe they have power.  The spoken word is especially powerful.  I have been really chewing on some words lately that God has brought to my attention.  

I was recently listening to Rick Warren speak on Oprah's Lifeclass.  He said there are 3 things we can do with our life:
1.  Waste it . 
2.  Spend it.
3.  Invest it.

I have thought so much about those concepts and have been thinking about the life God has given me.  I don't know many people who want to waste their lives.  Most would say that they absolutely don't want to do that.  

I wrote those 3 things on our marker board in our kitchen.  My kids said, "There is no difference in spending an investing."  That brought about a great discussion in our home that I have referred back to with them several times over the last couple of weeks. 

There was a time period where I used the word "spent" a lot in reference to how I felt.  When I was weary, overwhelmed, and overextended, I would say I was "spent."  We even had a saying at our church that said to God, "Here I am Lord in your response to your call, now send me and spend me, I'll give you my all."  I think the sentiment was right on, but the idea of being spent creates a negative picture of my service to God.  When you spend something, it is over, gone, done, and there is nothing left to show for it.  When you are "spent," there is an exhaustion that feels like it has no purpose.  

The concept of investment is totally different.  When we invest in something, we are looking for a return.  There is always a return.  In fact, sometimes that return is a loss, but there is the possibility of return and the effort feels more purposeful.  

I think about yard work.  I really hate yard work.  This weekend, we are going to work on our yard/garden/flower beds.  I am not really looking forward to it, but I see it as an investment.  We will put in the hard work, and will hope for a return on our efforts that we can enjoy throughout the summer.  

Have you ever experienced the kind of exhaustion of really hard work and when you lay down in your bed at night, you can feel the ache in your body from all that you have done.  It is a good kind of exhaustion because you know you invested your time in something worthwhile.  I would equate it to how I feel when I go to Africa.  We have long, hard days.  We are getting dirty, doing projects, playing nonstop with the kids, exerting a ton of emotional energy, etc.  It is exhausting, BUT it is not in vain.  It is an investment.  

I am trying to view the things that I choose to dedicate my time to as investments.  I don't want to just "spend" my time doing things that when they are over, I just feel "spent."  If it is not an investment, then why am I devoting so much attention and energy to it?

Then, just as I was feeling like I had this idea of investment figured out, my good friend, Sue, who has so much wisdom to offer, added another layer for me to ponder.  She challenged me to consider investing in my inheritance.  This is what that looks like in my life:
 and this one,
 and her,
 and him,
 don't forget this guy,
 and last, but certainly not least,
It got me to thinking.  There really are different levels of investment that I can make.  I can make earthly investments, which sustain this life and are necessary but end with this life.  I can make eternal investments which go beyond my days here on earth.  AND, I can make investments in my inheritance that will leave a legacy behind on the earth even when I am gone that can even extend into eternity through my children.  I don't know, but that empowers me.  It motivates me.  It challenges how I use my time and what I commit to.

So, I am asking myself these days, "What do I want to invest in today?  How can I invest in my inheritance today?  Does this activity, choice, etc serve as a waste, as spending, or as an investment in my life today?  It has definitely made me evaluate and weigh the things that I commit my time to.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

From Art Work to Volcanoes

I am taking a deep breath right now.  I just spent an hour downloading pictures onto my computer from our cameras.  I had to download them, split them into events and label them all over again.  I am still not finished.  This whole computer crashing thing is taking time that I don't have to give right now.  It has to be done.  Knowing it is all unorganized just drives me crazy.  Making some progress on it feels good.  

The four middle kids had an art show at their school recently.  We didn't actually make it to the show because of several other things going on.  I had to make cookies and lemonade for them that night to make up for what they missed getting at the art show.  I think the lemonade and cookies were the only reason they really wanted to go in the first place.  The next day, I was able to go to the school and take pictures of their work in the show.  The really funny part is that they are usually surprised by what piece is chosen for the show.  They are told to pick their top 3 favorites and even then the work that is put in the show is not usually one of those three.  

Sam's piece.  He promises he did not pick this.  

 Abby's piece(Easy to find)

 Isaiah's piece
 I could not find Lauren's anywhere.  We decided hers must have been the lion that she sculpted that her art teacher said, "Lauren, that is a great rat!" about.  We joke about that a lot.  It really did look like a lion, not a rat.

We have had children in school for 9 years now and have just now done our first homemade volcano.  Abby chose that as her science project.  Here is the actual experiment:

 This was the display she created for her presentation

 This boy came to me with these flowers.  Melt. My. Heart.
I just think he is the cutest thing ever.
Some girl is going to get a good husband in him some day!
Abby was pretty upset that he chose to pick the whole plant up out of the ground since she had been growing these flowers.  Now, there is just a hole in the ground.  She didn't find it nearly as sweet as I did!