The Son is always shining, regardless of the weather

This “ValenTIME’s Day” give the gift of time

Posted under Arts and Crafts, How God Provides - Feb 28th, 09 - 2 Comments

Well, it was the night before Valentine’s Day, and I wanted to make a special Valentine for each of my sweethearts. So, inspiration came…with these…

  • old CDs ( I used purple ones for the girls, silver for the boys and BC)
  • old watches
  • permanent pens-fine or medium Sharpies (I used silver for the girls, blue for the boys)
  • craft jewels
  • Aleene’s Tacky Glue (you probably could get away with using a glue gun…if you are careful!)

I had some old watches which I wasn’t wearing. Some of the bands were broken, and some were in need of new batteries. I don’t really know why I have kept these. Let’s just say I’m sentimental. Thanks to my cell phone, I haven’t worn a watch in years. I no longer felt like I needed these to function as watches, so I removed the bands. We used them in an art project back in October, but I knew I wanted to do something else with them. So, this craft idea emerged.

Next, I looked up the time of day that each of my children were born, and I set that specific time on their watch. Then, I glued it to the back of an old CD…right in the middle. I wrote their name on the top. Then I wrote:  “From the time you were born…when we held you in our hands…until forever…we love you, and cherish our time with you! Love, Momma and Daddy”

On BC’s I wrote…”My heart is yours for all of time. Thank you for asking for my hand. So glad you are my true love, and our times are in His hands!”

I embellished the girls CDs with two jeweled hearts…one glued on each side. I wrote A.M. or P.M. (whichever applied) with a permanent marker on the hearts. For the boys, I used stars on the sides. Bc had the watch that I couldn’t set the time, so I put a small jeweled heart in the center of his. On BC’s valentine, I made little jewel kids using round jewels for the head, triangles for girl’s body and squares for boy’s body (like those birthstone necklaces). I made four girls and two boys. They loved them and I was glad I spent the little time that I did to brighten their Valentime‘s Day (Years ago, some of my kids would call it that!)

Several people have told me to share my craft idea with others. So…take some time and show your love! This gift can be given at any time…Christmastime (ornament), Birthday time, etc. I have never seen this idea before, but I know there is nothing new under the sun! Enjoy!

But more than giving any gift, giving your spouse and children the gift of your time is very important. Time to reconnect. Time to encourage. Time to listen. Time to forgive. Time to make memories that will last till the end of time!

“Everyday is a gift you’ve been given. Make the most of your time every minute you’re livin’..”

taken from a Chris Rice song

Elephant Art

Posted under Love To Learn, The Unexpected - Feb 24th, 09 - 1 Comment

A friend sent us this elephant painting link.

We could hardly believe it. I think it was more impressive to the children than seeing Dumbo “fly”. Truly amazing! Do they get paid peanuts? Do you think they were watching Bob Ross?

Well, these elephants have inspired us to get our (sometimes neglected) painting supplies out and create some art!

Laughter…getting…out of…”hand”!

The other night we were playing “UNO Spin” with the family. Benjamin decided he wanted to play with us. Previously, playing cards was not his “thing”. However, that night he thought he would “try his hand” at it. After we had explained the rules, we started the game. When it was Benjamin’s turn, I told him he needed to look at his “hand“. So, he proceeded to put his cards down on the table and stare at his own hand (naturally, with a look of confusion on his face)! Boy, did that boy single-handedly make me smile. Honestly, the laughs we got… out of…hand! Poor kids, they have to learn multiple meanings to so many words in the English language, don’t they?

Fun Songs for Civics Class

Posted under Games We Love To Play, Love To Learn - Feb 20th, 09 - No Comments

We have been attending civics classes for over a year. We are always blessed by meeting with and hearing from our fellow civil servants. A few days ago, we were asked to do the music at civics class (which was Wednesday). It was fun preparing for it as a family. We love history and singing. We all learned the Last Names of the Presidents Song (to the tune of “Yankee Doodle”).  I haven’t been able to find out who came up with this great idea, but here it is if you want to print it out:

The Last Names of our Presidents sung to “Yankee Doodle”

Washington, Adams,

Jefferson, Madison,

Monroe, Adams, Jackson…

Van Buren, Harrison,

Tyler, Polk, Taylor, Fillmore,

Pierce, Buchanan, Lincoln…

Johnson, Grant, Hayes,

Garfield, Arthur,

Cleveland, Harrison, Cleveland…

McKinley, Roosevelt,

Taft, Wilson, Harding, Coolidge,

Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman…

Eisenhower, Kennedy,

Johnson, Nixon,

Ford, Carter, Reagan,

Bush, Clinton, Bush.

Obama is the 44th President of the U.S.A.

(We added this new ending)

We also sang the “Fifty Nifty”, which names all 50 states.

Both of our speakers were judges. One of them encouraged us to “remember the former days,” and he gave us an excellent quote:

“A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about.”
—Woodrow Wilson

Another excellent quote:

Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin [is] a reproach to any people.

The Cup Game Challenge

One of our all-time favorite games to play is the Cup Game. I learned this when I was in high school, and had a blast playing with my sisters and brother. Bc and I had the privilege of seeing Rich Mullins perform this in concert to his song: “Screen Door on a Submarine”. Needless to say, we have been banging on cups for years. We still play this when we get together, and we try to convince others to play with us. However, just recently all of my children have become accomplished cup-players (like life wasn’t loud enough?). Yes, I do still have hopes that they will continue playing other instruments, but this was a happy night for me. I even had a headache, but was thrilled to hear my kids playing the cup game and singing songs (any song in 4/4 time should work with it). Some of our favorites include “I’ll Fly Away” and “Jesus Loves Me”. Here is the cup game link for how to play the cup game…I thought she did a good job describing it.

Michelle’s scare, which is now just a scar!

Posted under The Unexpected - Feb 16th, 09 - No Comments

Ten long days ago, I took Michelle into the dermatologist. She had something on her arm that was hard to the touch. It didn’t look like a mole, but a scab. So, we went to check it out. The Dr. showed me, with her microscope, the suspicious blood vessel activity. She said it looked like it could be cancer. We were amazed. She told us to do a punch biopsy on it, so we did. Poor Michelle…she was a trooper, and got three stitches! Then the waiting began , and the prayers.

Today, we just got back from the dermatologist, and we have great news.  Michelle is fine…her mysterious mole was benign. Praise God! It’s interesting to note how this doctor was convinced it was cancer, and Paige’s doctors (the first two) didn’t want to even whisper the “cancer” word. We are so thankful that God is all-knowing, and He truly won’t give us more than He can’t handle.

Remembering Grandma

Posted under Remembering Loved Ones - Feb 15th, 09 - 1 Comment

You know, I can’t believe it has been two years since my Grandmother (my mom’s mom) died (Feb. 13). I was thinking about her the other day as I was wondering what she would have to say about the elections and the economy. I learned a lot about American history from sitting around her dining room table long after the meal was over. There was always lively conversations going on about the world when we were at her house. I loved hearing her opinions and stories.

I will never forget the day, about three years ago, I called her and we talked for thirty wonderful minutes. She encouraged me with stories of how God provided for her when she had seven mouths to feed and care for. I really needed to hear this, and laugh with her. The average number of children per family (of the entire world) in the 1970’s was six children. However, I was certainly not the average any more, and I appreciated knowing and sharing with someone who successfully managed this blessed job.

Grandma was a very capable and strong woman. She spent over half of her life as a widow. Her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren loved her much. She was also a teacher, and was loved by so many others. I miss her, and smile when I think of her. She had this wonderfully genuine smile which said, “I love you” to so many. Thankfully, I still see her sweet smile through her children, who have inherited her lovely smile!

A Texas Tall Tale: A Look at Hail, and a Whale

Posted under LOL, Love To Learn, My Kids Make Me Smile - Feb 11th, 09 - 1 Comment

Last night, we had some hail. It reminded me of a similar time a few years back…

One day in South Texas, we had a “gully-washer” (a.k.a. downpour of rain)! It sounded like my kids were banging on the walls. I looked outside to see grape-sized hail coming down. I yelled upstairs, “Everyone…come down and see hail!” Benjamin slowly came down and said to me, “But momma, I thought Jesus saved us from hell!” We live in the South, and I guess I have more of an accent than I thought! However, it gave me a chance to better explain that concept. Never assume anything!

Here’s another “whale” of a story:

One time when Paige and Michelle were small, Paige happened to be sick and was running a fever. When I told Michelle that Paige was “all well” . She looked at me in disbelief and asked, “Paige turned into a whale?” Boy howdy, y’all need to git me outta Texas! I’m just kidding; however, I would like to think that my accent isn’t that severe! Aren’t children (and homophones) punny?

Timothy Day

Posted under Remembering Loved Ones, Traditions - Feb 2nd, 09 - 2 Comments

Today is “Timothy Day” in our house. Last year, we were doing a unit on heroes. We decided to honor one of our special heroes by remembering him and praying for his family every year on February 2nd. On this day, two years ago, he was promoted. He saw His Savior, Jesus Christ, face to face. This was the day he became totally pain-free and cancer-free.

Timothy was Paige’s age (eight—he was older by just a few weeks) when we first met him and his precious family, through our frequent visits to their mutual oncologist. Timothy always gave a huge smile, and never complained. He loved to read, and he loved LEGOs. He also loved the Lord. He was deeply loved and cared for by his family and friends; and, he was amazingly smart and witty. He could always make us smile. Even  near the end of his life, he loved to tease his mom and dad. He cried out “Pink Flamingos” in an attempt to tease (or frustrate) dad who had repeatedly asked Timothy if he was coherent. But Timothy quickly and lovingly said “Gotcha, dad”. His life was not long, but he enjoyed each day. He touched our lives with his contentment and bravery, and lives on in our memories.

We have listened to 1 and 2 Timothy aloud today,  played with LEGOs, listened to “I’ll Fly Away”, “Far Side Banks of Jordan” (This song was played at his funeral by his talented brother, and other friends), and “Come to Jesus” by Chris Rice. We have prayed for his family, and we decorated a luminaria bag in memory of Timothy. We will bring it to Relay For Life in May. This year, we get to personalize them…personally, and we like that so much better.

In my last post, I mentioned listening to the director of \”Facing The Giants\”(a Christian film with a great message). I still can’t hear the title of that movie without thinking of precious Timothy. He wanted to buy his mom that movie as a present. He ordered it online with Dad knowing about it (I think). Some time had passed, and they all were at the hospital (I think for two weeks straight). They knew it was nearing the end down here for Timothy, and the beginning of life eternal. They had tried everything they could do. He had great doctors, but bad brain cancer. On the day he died, when his Dad went to pick up the mail, Facing the Giants was in there! His dad shared that story at the funeral, and he added that they were the ones who would now be “facing the giant” as they grieve the loss of a son (who also had faced a giant…cancer). He also shared Timothy’s wishes that everyone there would have the opportunity to hear how they might get to heaven (through simply believing that Jesus Christ is God’s Son, and that He died for our sins, but rose again!)

He didn’t want any possible excuse for anyone there at his funeral not to join him in Heaven. The gospel message was clearly presented (at least twice) and my youngest son was listening. He started asking questions, and he put his trust in Jesus Christ a few days after Timothy’s funeral. I am so thankful that Timothy was so faithful in sharing about God’s love, and pointing people to the Ultimate Healer.

The day we heard that Timothy’s cancer was back, unless God intervened, was a terribly sad day for all of us. I had just found out that the baby I was carrying was not alive, and that a miscarriage would soon happen. As I was talking with his sweet mom, I was encouraged to take on her attitude of trusting God’s control over all things–life and death. We agreed that we would “hope to the end”. Believe me, just knowing this really helped me not to go into a “pity-party” mode.

Job 1:21 And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.”

It has been two years now, and he is still loved and missed. We see how his family has continued to honor God, and truly praise Him in the good and in the bad. They are wonderful examples of how to keep on loving Jesus, and accepting His will, even through great sorrow—our modern-day Job examples. Life is so very fragile. Here are some songs that we listened to and loved hearing on days like these—days where Timothy’s words to all who knew him were:  “See ya on the other side!”

\”Come to Jesus\” by Chris Rice

\”I\’ll Fly Away\”

\”Far Side Banks of Jordan\”

2Timothy 4:7  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
2Timothy 4:8  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

1Timothy 6:6  But godliness with contentment is great gain.
1Timothy 6:7  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

I won!

I entered my name for a drawing for a free ticket to a Christian Film Festival in San Antonio, TX—I won! (Now I can’t say I never won anything.) I had wanted to go, but knew I couldn’t go alone. It really did not make sense for me to even enter the contest, but I did. I was ready to tell the ticket-giver to give it to someone else because I  wouldn’t be able to go by myself, but I called bc. He was so incredible. He asked me to find out how much it would cost for him to come along (an anniversary celebration). What a blessing! So, as I was asking about purchasing another ticket for my best bud, the kind man told me…”Well, you won two tickets, you know.” I thought that was so awesome!

We absolutely love supporting movies that share Jesus with others and support the family, not to mention ones that you can actually watch with the family. We were able to hear from some wonderful speakers:

Steven Kendrick (Producer of Fireproof, Facing the Giants, and Flywheel);

Kirk Cameron (Remember Growing Pains?, AlsoFireproof);

Dean Jones (Disney’s Herbie and many (like 45) others. He was presented with the “lifetime achievement award”, and we were able to view the world-premiere of Abraham (played by Mr. Jones) and Isaac. It was wonderfully done!The integrity of all of these men was wonderful to see, especially someone finishing strong for the Lord.

We also heard from the Von Trapp Family Singers…the grandchildren of the children of the real Captain and Maria Von Trapp (of the Sound of Music—like one of my favorite things—I have seen this long and lovely movie thousands lots of times.) It was wonderful to be able to talk to his great-grandkids. Kurt (the “incorrigible”-unruly-one) was their grandpa. They sang beautiful acapella music together. I had hoped that my entire family could be there. We tried to see how much that would cost (a little over $200/day). Well, we couldn’t do it, as the calendar currently reads…January. We think we will plan ahead for next year and bring the entire family as most of their Christmas gifts. It was just that wonderful. We did buy (and had the Von Trapps autograph) their DVD and CD. They were so sweet. I told one she yodeled great. I did refrain from telling her that cute yodeling joke…you know:…

“Knock, knock.”
“Who’s there?”
“Little old lady.”
“Little old lady who?”
“I didn’t know you could yodel!”

I asked another what part she sang: alto, and asked the boy if he got tired of signing his name. I told them we have enjoyed their music, and we took a picture with three of them. I also met their mom, and Sophie (the oldest). I put in my request for “So Long, Farewell,” but she said they did not have the accompaniment for that one.

The Dugger Family, with their 18 beautiful children, were also there. Tons of homeschool families entirely filled up the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center. A 19-year-old homeschooler was the winner of $101,000 as his film (I believe he produced, wrote and starred in): The Widow’s Might won the most money ever given out at a Christian Independent Film Festival.

We had a wonderful time watching movies and relaxing while strolling down the Riverwalk and eating out. Bc’s mom had given us a Chili’s gift card, and we had such a nice time. She also helped out with our children. They enjoyed spending time with her, and staying up…(yikes…even with one who started throwing up on Saturday night). She is so willing to help out, even if she might get sick. She is such a treasure! Unfortunately, the stomach virus Bradley had earlier was contagious for a longer period of time. Silly momma, I thought we had somehow managed, through washing hands and such, to stop the dreaded throw-up bug from spreading. However, this is a typical January for us; We usually say “Merry Christmas!”, and then…”Happy Valentine’s Day!” Another child vomited last night…that’s three. Well, the Lord knows I would love to sleep in my own bed, but I also know that the Lord knows a lot more than I know. And that thought truly is comforting (unlike the couch). Oops…I need to take my grumbling thoughts captive. Prayerfully, the bug will stop here.

Oh, I have been sleeping near the precious ones—who happen to be sick— in order to help them find the bowl (No, I haven’t had to offer my hands). I have discovered that I only hear one cough as my warning (thankfully, I am a light sleeper). I have a glow stick inside the big bowl. This has been helpful for quick finding because I can barely see at night without my glasses; and, I need to be ready in a minute (more like three seconds) if I want to protect the couch, floor, and covers (which I do…to save me from more work). So, this seems to work for me.

When the spider bites, when the bee stings, when we have stomach flu…

We simply remember our favorite things and then we don’t feel so blue!

One of my “favorite things” is not a thing, but a person…Jesus Christ. How He wants us to remember Him!

So long…farewell…good niiiiiiiight!