the good news

Jules —  October 17, 2011

 

A modest, little house or a big, fancy house. . .

Christ Crucified.

Set for life or starting over at 40. . .

Christ Crucified.

Steak dinners or pancake dinners. . .

Christ Crucified.

Throwing whatever sounds good into the cart or hours of ad matching, couponing and living on cereal. . .

Christ Crucified.

Healthy or sick. . .

Christ Crucified.

Perfect children or rebellious kids. . .

Christ Crucified.

Surrounded by family and friends, or missing loved ones gone forever. . .

Christ Crucified.

Happily married or divorced or lonely and single. . .

Christ Crucified.

Warm, soft, cozy bed or sleeping on a hard, cold floor. . .

Christ Crucified.

Spoiled Americans or desperately needy Haitians. . .

Christ Crucified.

Living in the safety of America or fighting for your country overseas. . .

Christ Crucified.

New, flashy, reliable car or old, worn-out junkers. . .

Christ Crucified.

High-paying job, or no job, surviving on food stamps. . .

Christ Crucified.

Degree or no degree. . .

Christ Crucified.

Cadillac health insurance or uninsured. . .

Christ Crucified.

Many thousands in debt or owing no man. . .

Christ Crucified.

Popular, well-loved or an outcast. . .

Christ Crucified.

Star athlete or living in a wheel chair. . .

Christ Crucified.

i-toys, or out-dated electronics. . .

Christ Crucified.

Well rested, or physically and emotionally exhausted. . .

Christ Crucified.

On your knees in prayer, or shaking an angry fist at God. . .

Christ Crucified.

Jesus died for us taking our punishment for our sins upon himself so we can have right-standing before God. He came back to life three days later defeating death for us once and for all. When we trust Christ we pass from death to life! He is our greatest need; Our other needs pale in comparison! And in the midst of our other needs he promises us peace.

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

Anjelia has been freezing stuff for years. She loves taking a glass of water and freezing nearly anything in it, including crackers, cereal pieces, rocks. . . . you name it. None of us are surprised when we find silly things in the freezer.

Here’s what we found today: an inside out, knee-high sock and a Hershey’s bar purchased with leftover camp money. When asked about the sock, Anjelia said, “I’m doing an experiment. When it’s really frozen I’m going to throw it out into the heat.”

proper focus

Jules —  June 9, 2011

I’ve been thinking about Jesus’ response to the Pharisee’s question, “What is the greatest commandment in the law?”.  His response, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

I like the message translation for fresh insight: Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

Lydia wrote a paper about someone she admires. She chose me! I cried. I didn’t think she listened. I didn’t know she was watching. What was a bit surprising to me were the things she didn’t mention. There wasn’t anything in the paper about me being a stay-at-home mom and a kid chauffeur. My meals weren’t mentioned. The state of our house or the clothes in her closet. . . . none of the things I do for her were mentioned. . . not one. She shared about how I’d baked for church, helped with class parties and field trips and ministered to women at the pregnancy center I volunteer at. She told a story I shared with her about how I’d prayed with a young woman as she chose to trust Jesus.

I think I get off track a lot. I get concerned, especially when I begin to make comparisons to other moms, that I’m not doing enough for my girls. I’m not an ambitious housekeeper, I’m disorganized and tired!  I worry about the girls’ grades, activities, how many books they read. . . . the list can go on and on.

There must be something innate in all of us that understands and bears witness to the two greatest commandments, Love God, Love People. That is why we exist. The things that Lydia admired about me fell in these two categories. She noticed the times when I served people. That is what I need to be focusing on!

I’m reading a book that encourages living a good story. The author spoke to a father upset about his teenage daughter’s hidden pot and disrespectful, bad boy boyfriend. He commented that she wasn’t living a good story. After talking, her father realized he wasn’t giving her a good story to experience at home and she was out looking for the best story she could find. He decided to join an organization that builds orphanages around the world. He volunteered his family to build one even though they were broke, knowing that a good story involves risk. In just a few days time, his daughter began to get excited and asked to go to Mexico. It wasn’t long and she ditched the boyfriend. Her father gave her a better, more exciting story to live. He said, “No girl who plays the role of a hero dates a guy who uses her”.

Loving God and serving others is the best example we can give.

Our families are watching!


snowballs and summertime

Jules —  June 4, 2011

Well, we are one week into summer and the kids are eating me out of house and home. Combine one hour of swimming laps each morning for swim team with two to three hours of swimming in the public pool each afternoon, and you have the makings of an awfully hungry bunch!

I desperately need to stock up on food for the summer. We have an extra frig in the garage for overflow food, but I have a bunch of obstacles. . .  lots of snowballs! We had a surplus of snow this winter and Jessica decided to put it to good use by stocking up on snowballs for a summertime snowball fight. These suckers have got to be rock hard by now. . . OUCH!

bags and  bags full of snowballs!

It might be kinda fun to celebrate with snow on the Fourth of July!

hide and hammy

Jules —  June 1, 2011

Ryan as a baby.

Our littlest critter, Ryan Hammy, recently went on an unapproved expedition, lasting four days and  four nights. We relentlessly looked for the little guy in every nook and cranny of our home. Hamsters are nocturnal, so we went on middle of the night walks throughout the house with a flashlight. We even held hands in a circle, as a family, and prayed we would find him alive.

On day four we were beginning to fear the worst. As Jessica was lying in bed, she heard some scratching noises coming from the furnace closet. We crowded around the closet listening to the sound of faint scratching coming from our ducts in the ceiling. James heard something fall onto the air conditioning condenser directly above the furnace. He quickly ran to the garage to get his toolbox and removed the cover and, in a final act of desperation, Ryan climbed out!

What we saw was a pitiful sight! The bottoms of Ryan’s feet were charred from being inside metal ducts with the furnace running. His black, scabby feet were swollen. His teeth were broken off  and his claws were completely worn down. He was dehydrated and unable to hold the watermelon we gave him in his paws. We could tell he was so happy to be back in his cage, even if he couldn’t climb around in it. He went to bed and stayed there for several days! Elaina cared for her hamster quite well, cutting up small bites of food for him! He has made a full recovery, even his teeth have grown back!

Ryan was a special Christmas morning surprise for Elaina.

I found Ryan on Craigslist when he was just three weeks old. He lived in our master bathroom for two weeks leading up to Christmas. Somehow Elaina never discovered him! He is so gentle, never once showing any aggression. We love watching him stuff his cheeks full of snacks. Elaina couldn’t wait to celebrate his first birthday on November 15. She made him carrot cake cupcakes to celebrate. We will be thankful to have him around for another birthday!

dandelion puffs and fireflies

Jules —  May 29, 2011

My Anjelia has the most active imagination of anyone in our household, at any developmental stage. . . combined! She says the silliest things. She recently got the chills and said that the Spirit came over her. We have a cooling machine in the backyard where she goes when she gets too hot. I’ve been warning her sisters since Anjelia was four that this fairy loving, imagination of hers won’t last forever. At some point, that magical time ends. Well, Anjelia is going on eight now and we’ve yet to see it diminish! I hope and pray that God will continue to use her imagination throughout her life.

She recently created artwork for the entire neighborhood to enjoy. It started with this simple paper with leaves taped to it that she collected on an evening walk. It turned into a stop sign pole covered in art created from things she found in the yard. Unfortunately it rained before I could get a pic of her display.

You can toch.

She wrote messages on the papers, encouraging people to touch and enjoy!

I wish I could capture a little of  her whimsical childhood and bottle it up to cherish. These days go quickly, as I’ve learned all too well with my older girls. Here’s to another summer of saving dandelion puffs in jewelry boxes and fireflies (fairies) in jars. 

 

 

 

freaky friday!

Jules —  May 28, 2011

Friday marked the  last day of school! Tradition had us spending the afternoon with Grandma D at her country home. As usual she had the camp fire going and the picnic table next to her pond covered with a spread of yummy food. It was a cool, drizzly, relaxing afternoon with several odd occurrences.

The girls sat on this rock and fed bread to grandpa’s huge “pet” catfishies.

While Anjelia and her friend were feeding / petting grandpa’s catfish, they were also playing with their beloved zoobles from their McDonald’s happy meals.

Anjelia dropped both of her zoobles into the pond! We grabbed an umbrella and quickly retrieved one. Luckily they floated like bobbers. Unfortunately a big catfish, perhaps this one, ATE THE OTHER ZOOBLE!!!! Yes, I kid you not, he opened his big mouth and GULP!

Anjelia bitterly wept. This was a new toy and a really cool one at that. She was so heartbroken that a CATFISH had eaten her toy. That is a new kind of tragedy for us!

The umbrella went missing later on in the afternoon. We finally found it!

The umbrella was found shortly before or maybe it was after Elaina fell on top of the camp fire! Yes, she tripped and fell right on top of it. I picked her up. . . quickly. Mom time quick. . . which is similar to the speed of light, or something like that. She wasn’t hurt or burned, not a bit!!!!!!

To top off our afternoon of oddities, Jessica found a sea horse shaped Cheeto!!!!

 

 

Ok, so I definitely fell off the blogging wagon quite a while ago (years). That wagon must have hit a pretty big bump and flung me quite a distance. Plus, I got lazy and discovered facebook. One sentence status and, Voila, I’m done! Easy, peasy, lemon, squeezy! My hubby has been harassing me to get started again and I’m really tempted. After all, that will keep me away from housework. Burnout doesn’t even come close to describing how I feel about that some days!

James and I designed this blog in 2005. I had all (ok, most) of the ideas and he did all the techie stuff. It was fun and I still like it but it is obviously outdated. It’s time, I suppose, for a fresh coat of paint if I am actually going to revive this thing. I know the simple and colorless sites are really popular, but I don’t think they are me. I know if I mention this to James his eyes will get as big as saucers and he will start panting like a puppy dog. (I’m exaggerating here a little bit) He loves to show off his techexpertise to me. Kinda like flexing his muscles! Ooo la la!

Well, it’s been so long since I’ve blogged that these two paragraphs have worn me out! I need to flex my creative muscles and begin sharing my thoughts and life again. Speaking of thoughts and life, James and I have started a podcast that has almost killed me. Not really, but it has pushed me outside my comfort zone. That seems to be a recurring theme over the past year. I feel like God keeps asking me to step out and express myself. I want it to be perfect, He just wants me to give Him something to work with. Is He asking you to do something? Are you holding back because you think you won’t be good enough? He can’t use nothing. Step out and make the effort. Give Him something to work with. He doesn’t need perfection. He can use anything except nothing.

Until next time. . . . if there is one. Just kidding, I am going to make the effort! ~ Julie

Five years later. . .

Jules —  September 11, 2010

Five years ago this extremely adorable photo of our Anjelia with her good buddy Jaden went viral. It’s the most popular cooties photo on the internet.

Anjelia and Jaden have been together since the womb – born just three weeks apart. We have so many cute memories and funny pictures of them together over the years.

This tops them all!

Anjelia celebrated her seventh birthday! Jaden, despite his shy personality, boldly serenaded her! It was so cute that it hurt. He’s going to be quite the romantic!

Go to Casting Crumbs to read Karen’s thoughts.

More first days!

Jules —  August 19, 2010

The girls were excited to get back to school. It was a great summer, but toward the end we were ready for a new season. I am so thankful for the seasons of life!

Lydia misses 6th grade. It was a fantastic year but I am encouraging her to look forward to more good times. I know middle school is a difficult time.

Jessica was up at 5:30 this morning excited to try out middle school!

They outgrow picture taking!

Elaina is studious. She would love to go to school year round. At least that’s what she thinks!

Anjelia has the best imagination of any kid! Of course she loved first grade.

Anjelia is super proud of her Twinkle Toes Sketchers! They light up quite brightly when she walks.