Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's over!

The boys have to wait upstairs until we are ready for them, and until we have had our traditional Christmas dance.
Ben made this beautiful lighthouse in art class. I have to return it Monday so that his teacher can put it in the Fine Arts Festival in April.
Rock Band was a fun gift this Christmas. It's harder than it looks!
Abbey tries out her new giggle mask.
Peter found his name on Santa's list at the train display.
Part of the amazing train display. This is the circus/amusement park.
This is the snow village, part of the display.
My parents, my brother Todd's family, and us at the Roselawn Bed and Breakfast in Keysville.
More photo ops at Roselawn.
Christmas has come and gone again. It was a good week with minimal expectations and lots of excitement. Everyone enjoyed Christmas day very much. Then we headed to the Henry's for another Christmas on Friday. We spent Friday through Sunday with my family. Dad took us to see the amazing train layouts in Blackstone at the hardware store. We rushed back so that Fred could attend a birthday party Sunday evening at Joe's Crab Shack, and then make it to basketball practice Monday at noon. We got a call from the coach at 12:20 saying Fred sprained his ankle so we should come get him. It isn't broken, thankfully, but he can't jump for 2 weeks. He is actually putting weight on it today and wants to head to the store to spend his Christmas gifts. HMMMM. I guess it isn't too bad.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


As I said previously, I don't always like the Christmas season. Holidays in general tend to bring out the worst in me for some reason. In an effort to prevent my husband from hating the holidays, I have tried very hard this year to prevent those emotions from surfacing, but more importantly, to discover why holidays are so hard. Chris tells me that my expectations are too high. I don't think I have expectations, but maybe he's right. Maybe disappointment is at the root of this. As I talked with my friend about Christmas, I heard her saying the same things that always trip me up: "I should... I should have.... We should......" I am a recovering perfectionist. As she spoke those words, I thought of the years where I beat myself up for not doing it right. I get upset with myself because we don't do our devotional tree every day. I get angry because my children care more about what they are getting than about Jesus' birth. I feel like I need to be doing more for those who have less, and when all of those things don't pan out, I feel guilty. And then that guilt for not doing it "right" comes out as anger. And my family looks at me like a one-eyed monster wondering where that is coming from. This year has been better. I determined to enjoy the days instead of look for ways I wasn't meeting some random standard of holiness. I decided that it would be better to do one or two things for others, keeping my radar open for God-ordained opportunities rather than try to plan them myself. It's been better. We are all more relaxed, maybe. God has provided opportunities for us to serve that were just what we needed. I read a book this month where the main characters were discussing expectations verses expectancy. Those words, so similar, have such different connotations. Today in my children there is expectancy. The house is shaking with it as they wait for tomorrow morning. Expectancy is a good, positive thing. Expectations, on the other hand, say to me and to those around me that they need to live up to something. There is a standard that needs to be met. There are consequences for not meeting those expectations. They say that somehow what I think or what I have devised about the future is how it should then be. The religious leaders in Jesus' day had expectations of their Messiah. Those expectations were so ingrained that they missed him, and they continue to miss him. The shepherds, Mary, Joseph, the wise men, although I'm sure they had expectations, lived in expectancy that God was coming to earth, that Messiah was coming as a tiny baby. That's how I want to live--expectantly rather than with expectations. I think that will make the difference in how I view holidays and life. Maybe I won't miss what God is doing. So for Christmas this year, I want expectancy, and I'd like to return expectations. I think I lost the receipt, though.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Goings on

Our friends have new puppies! They are breeding their Golden Retriever, and we've been waiting for the day. They are adorable! Chris says they look like rats or kittens when they are first born. We went to see them yesterday. These are Peter's kind of puppies. The one he held just fell asleep on his lap. He gets nervous when dogs jump up on him, so these are more his speed--for a while anyway.
I've been baking rather than blogging this week. I made buckeyes (twice), fudge, caramel corn for all of the teachers (it's addictive!), 7 layer bars, Santa snicker cookies (thrown that recipe away), sugar cookies, gluten free short bread, and hopefully some lemon squares. They aren't nearly as pretty as the pictures of cookies on Martha's blog (link to the left), but they are DELICIOUS. I gave away many of the buckeyes and some of the fudge, so I needed to make another batch for us to have and for my neighbors. We just love Christmas cookies. Fun to make and fun to eat!
I got this recipe for caramel corn from Karla Schlaefli when we lived in Maryland. I can't have it around much because I can't stop eating it.
Caramel Popcorn
3 qt. popcorn
3 cups mixed nuts
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Karo syrup
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1.Place popcorn and nuts in a large, shallow roasting pan (I use 2 cookie sheets) and place in a 250 degree oven while you prepare the caramel.
2. In heavy, 2 qt saucepan stir sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt.
3. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over med. heat.
4. Without stirring, boil 5 min. Remove from heat.
5. Stir in vanilla and baking soda then pour over popcorn mixture, stirring to coat.
6. Bake in a 250 degree oven, stirring occasionally, for 50-60 minutes.
7. Cool, break apart, and store in an air tight container tightly covered.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Songs

God is so sparse in His explanations. Did you ever notice that? He doesn't give us too many details about the people involved or how they felt. Probably the greatest moment in history, the incarnation of God, gets one chapter in Luke, half a chapter in Matthew. I'm a detail person. I know that God is as well. Look at all that He has made, including us, and you can see He is VERY detailed. But He leaves us with so little of the details surrounding Jesus's birth, and death for that matter. How many wise men were there? What was Mary thinking on that donkey? Did Jesus cry like a normal baby or was it a "Silent Night?" We just don't know. As I have listened to the Christmas songs this year, I have come to appreciate the simplicity of the words of scripture. It leads to so many amazing melodies pondering thoughts, emotions, conditions, etc. I'm a traditionalist at heart, so I love Christmas carols and get a little annoyed when our church doesn't offer opportunities to sing them, or when they mess with the original. But the songs for Christmas coming out are so beautiful! My favorite Christmas CD this year is City on a Hill's "It's Christmas Time." The song I'm listening to now is "Child of Love" by Sara Groves. I also love "Bethlehem Town" by Jars of Clay and "Manger Throne" by Third Day. These artists haven't messed with my traditions but have come up with stirring Christmas songs that draw me into the picture of Christmas. I just love the whole album. Maybe this is why we don't have all of the details. It leaves so much room for creativity.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A long time ago I went to Chris's Christmas party for work. They had booked a lunch on the Spirit of Washington. It was new and different and so much fun. Fast-forward about 13 years. Two years ago now we got all gussied up and headed north again for another Christmas lunch on the Spirit of Washington for the PTO Christmas party. I was sick with bronchitis, but very excited. We stopped at the office to pick up a passenger, and before we got out of Alexandria, the school nurse called saying that Fred's oxygen level was low, and he needed to get to the doctor. So, we turned around after dropping Bill at the Metro and headed back to Stafford. Last year they had another cruise, but I was working. Chris went and amazingly won two tickets for a dinner or lunch cruise on the Spirit of Washington. I had plans to go in September/October when the leaves were turning and it was nice. HMMMM. That didn't happen. So we got to go this Wednesday instead. We had so much fun. We had a lunch buffet and wonderful dessert and then tooled down the Potomac looking at the sights on either bank of the river. There is a show as well, and then dancing to the D.J.'s tunes. It was nice, but I think it was the fact that it was out of the ordinary and different that made it so much fun. We may not get to ever do it again, but what great memories...... It was a great addition to our Christmas preparations.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Samson in 1990
Samson died yesterday at 5:40. He has been my kitty for almost 19 years. It was heart-breaking to watch him these last few days. I'm thankful that I was there with him at the end. He would mew and mew, and I would pet him and he would calm down. I'm not sure how conscious he was throughout, but he knew that I was there. I know it's only a cat--a dime a dozen--and I don't mean to compare his life to a human being's, but these things do make you think about life and death. The boys were moved some, but more interested than emotional. I can tell now that when I die, they probably won't cry! As we went on with our evening activities, I kept thinking about death--how the sting of death is gone for believers because Jesus defeated it by rising from the dead. And also how death doesn't have the victory for us anymore because we know that life continues perfectly in Heaven forever. I also had time to ruminate on the cycle of life. Yes, I was sad that Samson died, but I wouldn't wish him back. He had lived a long, relatively good life for a cat. Death is part of life here on this planet. It makes me long for home, though, where death doesn't have a place---ever.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas which I'm sure I'll explore as December moves along. One of the reasons I love it is that we have an excuse to get together. Our ladies Bible study group had brunch yesterday at my house. It was wonderful to be with these women and relax and enjoy great food. They mean so much to me. It has been a blessing to get to know them and to study God's Word together. There is a bonding that happens over God's Word that is unlike others. We had so much fun talking and laughing together, and I got to use my pink dishes again. Someone made a fruit pizza, and I made cranberry bars, a new recipe that was delicious.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I have to admit, I'm sorry to be finished with the thankful posts. It was good to have to think about what I was thankful for each day and then post. I know I missed a few, but it was a great exercise in thankfulness. There were days when I struggled to think of something that I was thankful for that didn't include the standard. It really is an exercise in discipline for which I'm thankful that I worked at in November. (Yikes, that grammar is BAD! Sorry) As we move into December I hope that I can continue to be thankful.
Yesterday, I was very thankful. My cat Samson is almost 19 years old. We got him when we were first married. He was too little to be taken from his momma, and my friend found him in a bush, abandoned. I was looking for something to take care of instead of children. So he became mine. He had some health problems, so we have way over-spent on his care. At about 5 or 6 the vet told us that he had the feline AIDS virus and that his life would be short. Without this expensive medicine, he assured me that he wouldn't live more than a year. We were too poor for cat medicine, so we just moved on. Now, 12 years later, he still lives. Unfortunately, he has gone blind over the last 2 months. Chris allowed me to bring him in (they were all banished several years ago after using Ben's bed as a litter box for a week while we were on vacation). So I'm watching him try to find his way around. He has done pretty well, but I think with the Christmas boxes out it has been confusing. He started not going in the litter box! I had to confine him to the kitchen and laundry room. The board that I used to block the door was a little high, so going over it many times a day was starting to hurt. I replaced it with a 2 x 6, knowing that if he ran into it, he wouldn't try to go over it. As I was cleaning the kitchen yesterday, I marched through that door while carrying some things totally forgetting about the board. WHAM! That was my poor body bouncing off the floor. So I am very thankful that I am not as sore as I could have been, that nothing is broken (I hope), and that I could resume my activities yesterday. I'm thankful that our bodies are made to heal themselves, and I'm thankful that Chris was here to pick me up. Today, there is a high board AND a low board in front of the door so I don't miss it again.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Class Reunion

We had such a good time at my class reunion (at least I did!). It was so fun to see so many people that I went to school with. Two of my best girl friends (above) came from Tennessee and Albuquerque to be there. I met Sherry for appetizers before and got to catch up on her children and her life. People are sometimes hesitant to go to class reunions, but once we were all there, there was no getting us to be quiet and listen for instructions. It was so funny watching people trying to take charge for games, dinner, pictures. We just laughed and talked all evening. One of my classmates took pictures all evening and was going to burn discs of the pictures to give us. She realized later that she couldn't get them all done before the evening was over, so I'm waiting anxiously for that disc. I stopped taking pictures thinking I'd have them all on disc later. Oh well, at least I have the memories. I'm sure Jen will get all of the discs burned and mailed. I went to a small school, only about 145 in my class, and most of us had been there all of our lives. We grew up together. We were in each other's business all of the time. We went to church together, we played together, we worked together. It's amazing to me that the people with whom we spend just 12 short years of our lives can have such a lasting impact on us. I have been married for 19 years, longer than I knew most of those people, but I still want to see them, to know them. I guess those formative years always stay with you. I'm very thankful that I went to my 20 year class reunion. I hope there's another one soon!
I'm also thankful that my parents survived staying here with the boys.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Today I am thankful for the great driving weather we had yesterday. It was a beautiful day. The boys could play outside, and the roads were clear as we headed north.
I'm also thankful for prayer. I am far away from those most dear, but I can pray for them. God is with them as well and knows what they need. I'm so thankful that I have the privilege of taking everything to the Father because of Jesus. We have no idea what a privilege this is. In the old testament, God dwelled in the Temple. A regular woman like me would have no possible access to that sacred place. I could only stay in the court of the women and hope that somehow God would hear me even though I was so far away (not that He couldn't, of course, but the Israelites didn't understand this). To be able to approach the throne of God freely because Jesus opened the way with his death on the cross is a feat that is beyond comprehension to me, but I'm so very thankful.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


We celebrated Thanksgiving today instead of tomorrow so that I don't have to worry about getting everything ready and cleaning it all up and leaving. It was actually a nice thing to do. Everything has been put away already, and tomorrow I can wake up late and watch the parades and not worry about getting everything ready. Plus we get to have leftovers! I'm thankful for the abundance of great food, the amazing aromas that combine to make the house smell delicious. I'm thankful that everything turned out. I'm also thankful for my pink dishes. They were my gram's. Every holiday I would go over early to set the table with the pink dishes and the good silver ware and the crystal water glasses and the salt dips. It was a tradition that I miss. My boys don't appreciate the pink dishes like I do, but it's not too bad since there are castles on them. I'm thankful for family traditions and for being together to celebrate and EAT. Enjoy your Thanksgiving tomorrow! We'll be eating leftovers. Yum!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My parents

I'm thankful for my mom and dad. I'm usually thankful for them, but today I'm especially thankful. They are on their way here to spend Thanksgiving with us and then watch the boys so that Chris and I can go to my class reunion. I'm thankful that this morning the boys were asking when Grandma and Grandpa would be here and making plans for them. I'm thankful that I don't have to have everything done before they get here.

I'm also thankful for grocery stores. I've spent too much time in them lately, but oh how thankful I am that food is just 15 minutes away.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

pizza and basketball

Our family has a standing date. Saturday is pizza movie night. We rotate through the six of us for the movie picks. Chris has kept track of all of the movies we have chosen. We've seen everything from Pokemon to Iron Man (this week's pick). And most weeks I make pizza. I'm thankful for the time together with the boys and for the delicious hot homemade pizza. Yum!

Today Fred, Peter and Chris played flag football with the youth group, so Ben, Sam and I were at home together. Instead of cleaning up the kitchen and reading the paper, we played cards--spoons and golf, and then we played knock-out (basketball). It was so much fun to just play and not worry. Last year I couldn't have done this because of my hip and lower back, but this year I was right there with them. I was so out of breath that my lungs were burning. It felt so good. I'm thankful that I agreed to play and that I could play with them. We had such a fun time together. Everyone playing flag football had fun as well. I'm so thankful for these good times.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing." Isaiah 40:26
When I was younger, I used to go sit on our porch and stare at the stars. There is something mysterious and magical about the night sky. Fred calls the stars out now the cold stars. It seems that they are so much brighter and more vivid in the winter. It's as if God is rewarding us for braving the cold. I love the verse in Isaiah that says that God knows the names of each of the stars and that He calls them out one by one. When we are sitting out at the edge of night, it does seem that they come out one by one. To think that God created all of them, that they go on and on for farther than we can imagine, and He did it for us, is awe inspiring. I'm thankful for the night sky.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I'm thankful for....

clementines. I got them at the store yesterday. I just love that they are so easy to peel and eat. Sam and Peter eat them like candy. They are sweet and good and a wonderful winter time treat.

heat. It takes a while to get used to being cold all of the time. The heating system was added to our house after it had been standing for a while, so the vents are in the ceiling. Heat rises. Upstairs is toasty, but downstairs is a bit chilly, especially on the floor. So I'm thankful that when I come in from the cold outside I have a warm home.

the elementary school. We have such a wonderful elementary school. All of the parents, it seems, are very involved. The school, teachers and PTO offer so many things for our children. Last night the PTO sponsored dinner and a movie so for $2 each, we all got to have a hotdog, cheeze-its, a drink, and Wall-E. It was fun being together and doing something different. Popcorn was only $0.25! What a deal!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Speaking of sisters, today is the birthday of my sister-in-law, Kim. She is such a blessing to me and to our family. I'm thankful for all of the time that we have spent cropping pictures and working on albums together, and for sharing recipes and food and fun. Kim loves my boys, and they adore her. As life gets busier, I miss the time spent with her. I'm thankful for how she blesses my brother, their girls, and my parents as well. She has such a sweet spirit and always looks for the good. I'm thankful that she has been my sister for 12 years. Happy birthday Kim!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I am the oldest of three. I don't have sisters or daughters (which I'm finding, Martha, affects more things than I ever thought it would). So when I see sisters together, I don't always get it. But everyone needs sisters, and God has put them in my life along the way. First Liz, then Cathy, and now Donna and Kathy. They have been an amazing blessing in my life. Last night Donna and Kathy took me out for my birthday. We had such a good time together. I met Donna and Kathy at MOPS when I was a lonely, pregnant mom with 3 little boys at home. We had just moved here from Maryland where I left all that was familiar. Donna has 3 boys as well, and they soon became fast friends. We traded babysitting so we could date our husbands, and then we started praying together. We've been prayer partners for about 8 years. Kathy, the trailblazer among us with 4 boys and a girl, joined us about 5 or 6 years ago. It's impossible to put into words how much these relationships mean to me. It is a privilege to know these women of God. They challenge and encourage me to live a life worthy of the calling of Jesus Christ. I'm so thankful for my sisters.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


It tastes better than it looks!
Yesterday was my birthday. I'm thankful that today is not. Chris took me out for lunch to Panera. I'm thankful for his job and that he can work at home and take a break to be with me. I'm also thankful for this awesome pork chop recipe that I made last night. Honestly, these are the best chops I've had. Here's the recipe.
Pork Chops with Carmelized Onions

4 3/4 inch thick pork chops

1/2 cup marsala wine (I used a charonnay cause that's what I had)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

8 slices bacon

1 large white onion

7-oz can sliced mushrooms, drained

1 tsp brown sugar

1/3 cup hot water

1 chicken bouillion cube

1. Place pork chops and wine in a gallon-size bag and marinate meat for 2 hours in fridge.

2. Preheat the broiler. Spray broiler pan with non-stick spray.

3. Remove the chops from the marindate and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Set them in the broiler pan.

4. In a large skillet, cook the bacon, drain it on paper toweling, and then crumble it. REserve 2 Tbsp. of the bacon drippings.

5. Add the onions and mushrooms to the drippings in the skillet nad cook over med. heat, stirring occaisionally, until the onion begins to soften.

6. Stir the brown sugar into the skillet and cook for 5 minutes longer, or until the onions are completely browned.

7. In a small bowl, stir together the water and bouillion until the cube has dissolved. Add this to the onions and boil until the liquid is reduced by half, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.

8. Stir in the bacon.

9. Broil the pork chops for about 5 minutes per side, or just until the meat is cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

10. Spoon the onion-mushroom mixture over the pork chops and serve.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I'm thankful for.... precious boys. I have to admit that I don't always feel thankful for them, but I truly am. They are a joy and a blessing. I love who they are growing into. I love the conversations we have about important and not so important things. I'm thankful that they want to be here with us and that we have the opportunity to participate in their lives. I'm thankful for how I've grown by being their mom. camera. I loved taking these pictures of them. We had so much fun doing these pictures. It reminded me how much I love them and how adorable they are! (mother's bias, I know). I'm also thankful for the amazing digital technology that makes this process fun and possible.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


We had a bon fire/birthday party for Ben last night. I'm so thankful that the rain stopped and then held off so we could be outside. There were 16 boys here and they were able to roast hotdogs and marshmallows, play with sock-em boppers on the trampoline and play man hunt in the dark. Everyone was safe and happy and full. I think they all had fun. The man hunt game was so much fun. You have to play in the dark, I'm told. It's serious hide and seek tag. With our huge yard and woods, the boys had a blast. When everyone came in to watch Kung Fu Panda, they were overflowing with the fun and excitement of the game. I hope that we can do it again soon. I'm thankful that we have a place where the boys can play and that they have friends whose parents will drive out here. A family who used to live just around the corner and whom we met when Fred and their son were in first grade came over last night as well. They moved to downtown Fredericksburg last year, and it's like they fell off the planet. So I am also very thankful that they would come over last night and we could catch up with them.

Ben had just 5 boys spend the night. It was an interesting night. Since we don't have a basement in which to put them, we tend to be pretty serious when it comes to sleep. We all need it! They did finally settle down and I think some of them even slept. I know I did. And for that I am very thankful!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Happy Birthday

Today is my brother Todd's birthday. He is the middle child (the one in orange above). I'm thankful for him and for all that he does. I'm thankful for his wife and two daughters as well, and for the relationship I have with both of my brothers. I'm glad that my children can see that we are friends and enjoy being together when we can, so that the example they have is one of staying connected with their siblings. Todd works for the Air National Guard in Virginia. He was in Iraq and, before that, Qutar. He has always been so loyal to his friends, his family, and his country. He and I have spent many hours talking politics, history and religion, much to my great delight. I'm thankful for the role siblings play in each other's lives as we grow old. God uses each of us to shape the other into more and better than we would be on our own. They knew us like no one else as we grew up together. We share memories, good and bad, that others cannot. What a blessing to be a sister!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Shopping update

I had to go back to the stores for food. The best laid plans..... don't always happen! I was shopping for groceries for Ben's birthday party on Friday and some other things we needed, when I decided to try the mall one more time to find an outfit for the reunion. I hadn't tried Macy's, so I went in with trepidation. But if I found something, then I could be done and not have to spend another day looking. There were so many things that I loved. So finally, without Chris, I found two possibilities and brought them home! Yeah! It feels so good to finally know that I will have something to wear. Silly, I know, but it's also a load off of my mind. So today I'm thankful for the dress and blouse that I found to wear to the reunion. I'm thankful for the three precious and patient women who freely gave me their advice about what I should wear.

I'm also thankful for my hairdresser! I got my hair cut yesterday. I just love the feel of someone else washing my hair. It is a luxury. My hairdresser also is a friend, so I'm thankful for the good conversations that we have while I'm there.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Yesterday Chris and I went shopping ALL DAY. My class reunion is in 3 weeks, and the purpose of our trip was to find me something to wear. If the reunion had been in August, I would have been set. But no, it's at the end of November in Ohio. We shopped and shopped and shopped. I did find some things, but not what I was really looking for. It was a long day. I am thankful for my sweet husband who would go through the mall and many other stores, looking through racks and racks of clothes and not finding the prize. I was depressed, but he was encouraging. He said that he was glad we got to spend the day together. I am so thankful for Chris!

Monday, November 10, 2008


I'm so thankful for the beauty around me. The way the sun shone on this tree and across the tips of the tree line was so beautiful against the dark clouds.
Yesterday was one of those days. No one could get along for long. The bad moods were contagious. The picking and bickering, even with a friend over, seemed endless. As we went to our small group last night, I was struggling with a bad attitude about the day. As we walked in, late, they were singing my favorite song, "Sing to the King." I'll post it some day. It's such an inspiring song. Usually the band is very LOUD, but last night there were just two--Katie and Chip (Katie is Sam's teacher:) and an acoustic guitar. Chip sang this beautiful song, "How Deep the Father's Love for Us." I have heard it before, but I don't remember ever singing it. It goes:
How deep the fathers love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give his only son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulder
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out amoung the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts no power no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
© 1995 Kingsway's Thankyou Music

As I sang "Ashamed I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers," all of the hard things of the day came flooding in. In that moment, I understood how all of my sins added to the voices that day when He died on the cross. That for those sins that come so quickly and easily, Jesus took the punishment. I'm moved again today as I read the words, His wounds have paid my ransom. I will never suffer the penalty of my casual and not so casual sin because Jesus finished that payment on the cross. The word thankful is truly inadequate.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I'm thankful for ...
the good conversation I had with my husband at lunch today.
God's heart of love toward me even when I am not lovable.
Enough food in the pantry to feed 4 growing boys.

I am in a rut about food. Sometimes I don't have enough days to make all of the recipes I'd like to try. Then there are times like these, when it seems like we have the same thing all of the time. The boys have the same thing in their lunches. I don't know what else to get. I'm working hard to stay in my food budget, but they keep eating! I get so frustrated sometimes with all of that. Today while I contemplated my rut and what we would have for lunch and dinner, I thought of an e-mail I received from a friend the other day. She asked us to pray for the families of two women in their Bible study. They are in Kenya in a camp where they are starving to death. There is no food. None. They are praying that God will rain down food from Heaven. Time for a perspective check. Even though sandwiches rule the day, there is food. And if there isn't, I can go to Bloom, just 15 minutes away, and buy more. Thank you, God for food, and forgive me for my myopic point of view.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Our youth group went to the Invincible Tour last night and today. It is an amazing conference teaching students how to share their faith with others and inspiring them to live out that faith every day. We went last year and were blown away. Many of the kids have said that it changed their lives. I know it did for Fred. So 3 adults and 38 students left our church office last night at 5:30 to go to the Patriot Center to be inspired again. I'm thankful for the enthusiasm these students have for the Gospel, and for their excitement to hear God's Word. I'm thankful for the passion Greg Stier and the Dare to Share team have for reaching students and equipping them to be effective Christians.

I'm also thankful for sleep--especially today when I haven't had enough. I couldn't safely drive to the conference for lack of sleep, so I'm home instead of with the kids today. Right now, I'm thankful that bedtime is not that far away. I'm also very thankful for my husband who offered to drive me up to the conference and then come to get me when my part was over.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I'm thankful that after days of clouds the sun has come out this morning. Each year God faithfully changes the seasons, and they will continue until time is no more because of His promise. The bright fall days are so beautiful. I'm also thankful for God's timing. I'm not always thankful when I'm waiting for Him or His time, but when it happens in exactly the time that it should, I am thankful!
Today is Ladies Bible study. I have the privilege of leading a group of women who come together each week to dig into God's Word and apply the Truth to their lives. I'm so thankful for their enthusiasm, their encouragement, and their willingness to do the work and to show themselves approved by studying and knowing the Word of God. There are women who have been Christians for 40 years and women who recently made that commitment. It's such a wonderful time to share. There really isn't anything like being in a women's Bible study. I'm thankful that God opened the door for me to be a part of this group.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I am thankful for football. I'm thankful that Fred was able to play again after his concussion, and that I have healthy, strong children who can participate in sports. I'm thankful for the passion that he feels for the game, and for the way he pushes himself during practice. I'm thankful that he has learned discipline, sacrifice, disappointment, and how to push himself to finish even when he wants to quit. I'm thankful for coaches who know the Lord and who want to be role models for their players. It gives me great joy to watch him play and to watch him interact with his teammates on the side lines. Yesterday was the last game and their team won and completed the season with a winning record, the first time in the 5 year history of the school, I believe. And so now I'm thankful that it's done and that maybe we will see him some more.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Technically this is yesterday's thankfulness post. I composed it in my head, just not on the computer.
I'm so thankful that we have the privilege of going to our polling place and voting without fear of reprisal. We so much take this for granted, but it is an amazing privilege. No one wants to shoot me for voting. No one will burn my house down for casting a ballot. I think of the Iraqi's when they had their vote. People walked tens of miles to stand in line all day with smiles on their faces. I heard complaints yesterday from people who had to stand in line for 20 minutes! I remember the grins on the faces of the women who showed their inked fingers, a miracle in our time. I hope that we remember what an opportunity we have each time we go behind that curtain.

Monday, November 3, 2008


This is what was left of the gluten-free chocolate cake I made to celebrate Fred's Academic Achievement award today. It goes to those who maintained a 3.5 through their freshman year. If they do it again this year, then they recieve an academic letter. We are so proud of him!

I'm thankful for Fred's hard work and diligence at school, and that we could celebrate his accomplishment.

I'm thankful for chocolate cake.

Mostly today I'm thankful that, "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God" (Romans 13:1). isn't that a comforting thought as we move toward election day tomorrow?

Now get out and VOTE!

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Trick or treat night was beautiful. It was nice enough to go without coats over the costumes. We headed to a neighborhood where friends live since we've only had 1 tricker treater here in the 9 years we've been here. It's just not conducive to door to door. Ben had a friend with him, and two more joined them. I followed 7 boys as they sprinted through the 25 houses in the neighborhood at top speed. I suggested several times that they slow their pace as this was IT for trick or treat, but to no avail. We finished in 20 minutes. Of course, they have enough candy for the rest of the year!

Liz and some other blogger friends are spending the month of November blogging each day about things for which they are thankful. I'm going to join them in that. Too many times I am negative, and I need to cultivate that thankfulness.

I'm thankful that I could work out in my flower bed planting bulbs and digging up things to prepare for winter. I love the results of gardening, but not necessarily the time involved. But today I'm thankful that I could do the work and not be afraid that my back will hurt.

I'm thankful that we could have a bonfire last night with our family and that our children wanted to be with us, roast hot dogs, sing songs, and make "nice, hot shmoes."

I'm thankful that God doesn't treat me as my sins deserve. That would be ugly. God's love and grace and forgiveness are free.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

We traditionally carve pumpkins every year. The boys are old enough to do their own carving (and scooping!). I didn't think we would have time to get it done this year, but things were cancelled Monday night because of wet and cold conditions. This is Virginia afterall. So they had time to carve their pumpkins. The left is a skeleton hand grabbing a spider, the right lower one started out as a skeleton coming out of a flame, but turned into a ghost instead. The face on the top one glows menacingly in the dark. The top left reflects the fact that Fred had football, a research project, AP History homework and mid-terms this week.
Today was career day at the elementary school. The kids were allowed to dress up as what they want to be when they grow up. Peter wants to be like Daddy. I think he makes a good Examiner, don't you?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Sacrifice

This is the flame that burns in the remembrance room of the Holocaust Museum. It is the only room where pictures are allowed. It turned out too dark to see the scripture behind it, but it's a quote from Dueteronomy that we remember these things and tell them to our children.
Below is a quote around the top of the rotunda where, beneath, the names of the death camps are written with candles glowing underneath. It caught my eye and is relevent to the upcoming election.
In keeping with the theme of sacrifice in my life right now, I journeyed north with 4 bus-loads of sophomores to the Holocaust Museum. I had never been before, and honestly, I was worried about seeing it for the first time with a bunch of teens. They read Night by Elie Wiesel in English class. This capped that novel in a powerful way. I'm so thankful for a school system willing to teach that this did happen and not too long ago, since even in our day some call it a myth. We only had 2 hours to look through the 3 floors of items, so we didn't get to see much for very long. Two things really struck me on this visit. The first is the parallel between Germany in the 1920's and '30's and the United States today. The second is the rampant antisemitism that has raged since Christ's death.
Germany was hurting from the consequences of WWI, but experienced some measure of prosperity during the '20's until the crash in '29. Then they, like the rest of the world, were plunged into depression. That allowed Hitler to rise to power. The people wanted change. They got it! I'm not comparing Obama to Hitler, but we just need to be so careful to not get caught up in the idea of change for change sake that we lose sight of the character of those seeking office.
I knew antisemitism has always existed, but I didn't realize the extent that it impacted every society on the planet. Martin Luther had some harsh and hateful things to say about Jews, and even until the mid-20th century, the Catholic Church had in it's papers, for lack of a better word, that the Jews killed Christ. I was stunned. Wasn't it Tevya, in Fiddler on the Roof who said that it might have been better to NOT be the chosen people? So this week I got to see a bit more what sacrifice looks like, and it's not pretty.