The Son is always shining, regardless of the weather

Remembering Our Boys’ Spiritual Birthdays And Their Baptisms

Benjamin’s special day of salvation…

This picture by the tree was taken shortly after Benjamin was saved.

Psalm 1:1-3 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

On March 6, 2006, young Benjamin placed his trust in Jesus Christ as his Savior. He was six years old, and his heart was tender. We believe it is God who saves, and God uses hard things, even death, to reveal His love for us. After all, he did send His only Son to die for the sins of the world. Earlier that day, the doctor told BC and I that our unborn baby (3 months in the womb) had died. Naturally, Benjamin had questions and wanted to know exactly what he needed to do in order to spend eternity with Jesus, where his baby sibling was. He prayed a prayer confessing that he was a sinner in need of a Savior, and he thanked Jesus for providing a way by dying on the cross. A sad day was definitely made sweeter! We sang the hymn, “Happy Day”, and we praised the LORD together!

On a humorous note:
Earlier that year, his brother Bradley was praying at nighttime prayers. He mentioned our family members names, but out of order. Benjamin whispered to me, “Momma, he didn’t pray in birth order!” I smiled. We certainly do not need to pray in birth order or get “saved” in birth order. Benjamin’s heart was ready before his older sister’s, and that was okay, too. We are thankful that on October 22, 2011, he was baptized.

His favorite verse: John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Bradley’s special day of salvation…

This picture, also by a tree, was taken shortly after Bradley was saved. (Psalm 1:1-3)

On February 20, 2007, at the young age of five, Bradley asked Jesus into his heart and asked Him to be Lord of his life. He acknowledged that he had sinned “lots of times” and that he believed that Jesus died for him, and that His blood was the only thing that can wash away his sin. We sang the hymn, “What Can Wash Away My Sin” that day, and he was smiling big. After that, Bradley asked, “Does this mean I’m one of His men?” Praise the Lord! Yes!

Earlier that month, God used two funerals to speak to Bradley. On the previous Tuesday, we had buried his sweet great-grandmother. Then, on the Tuesday before that, we buried a young friend, Timothy Kyler, who had cancer, but most importantly, he had Jesus. His dad shared the gospel as requested by Timothy, who didn’t want any possible excuse for anyone attending his funeral not to join him in heaven. The gospel message was clearly presented and Bradley, age five, was listening. He started asking questions, and he put his trust in Jesus Christ two weeks after Timothy’s funeral.

On a humorous note:
When Bradley was four, after viewing a friend’s baptism (Prisca), he said, “Me want to go in the water with my clothes on right now!” We are thankful that he is saved, and that he was baptized on October 22, 2011.

His favorite verse: Psalm 23:4
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

I am thankful that BC could baptize our boys in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. I am also thankful that my dear friend’s girls were baptized, too. It was a beautiful morning at the lake. Due to the wind noise, the four children being baptized made their public profession of faith to those gathered around before they went into the waters.

Interestingly, this was the same date that I was baptized…many years ago. Also, this date is a favorite of ours because 23 years ago on October 22, BC and I began dating each another.

2 John 1:4 “I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.”

Romans 6:4 “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

Birthday surprise!

A beloved tradition around our house is to wake up the birthday child to the sound of the birthday song. My parents started this tradition with us when I was growing up, and I always looked forward to it. I mean…how tragic would it be for a child to wake up and not realize that it was their b-day, right?

Around here, the rest of the family attempts to wake up before the birthday child. The first one up gets to quietly wake up the rest of the gang. The birthday child might be awake, but their eyes remain closed, possibly fluttering a bit as they listen to the nearby “shushing”. The birthday child quickly remembers what day it is as “Happy Birthday to You” begins. (It’s an unspoken rule, but they have to remain in bed till the song is finished). Mind you, I don’t think the sound quality is super because our voices haven’t warmed up, but the thoughtfulness is always appreciated.

This was tradition, and yes, it was predictable. However, on Bradley’s birthday, I could not have predicted what my boys would do (How many times have I said that?). As I peeked into their room, I thought I saw Bradley stirring, but he was all covered up in his covers facing the wall. So, I decided to quickly sing to him, and then I would gather the others later (because it was so early…we had stayed up late the night before). Well, when I got to “Happy Birthday, dear Bradley…” he sprang out of his covers and it was Benjamin! At the same time, Bradley popped his head down from Benjamin’s top bunk! Those two had switched places! They got me good! So, I said, “Let’s do this again. I’ll go wake the girls!” And they fooled the girls as well! Each new year definitely brings more smiles!

Free Cookies!

Posted under How God Provides, We Like Food! - Sep 29th, 11 - 1 Comment

My dad always calls cookies: “cook-cooks”. He is just cute like that! So, this month, you can trade your “book-books” for “cook-cooks”!

The Great American Cookie Company is having a “Reading is Sweet” book drive during the month of October. If you donate a new or gently used book, you will receive a free chocolate chip cookie. They are kicking it off this Saturday between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Go to their website to find a participating location near you.

P.S. If you have never tried one of their cookies, this is your chance. They are very yummy!

A Novel Idea…

The other day I received an email from my mom sharing a “novel” writing experience with us (my sisters, brother, grandkids) which consisted of writing a novel in November.

And I know what you might be thinking….C.C. is going to write a novel…it would be really novel if she posted on her blog more than once a month.:)

But seriously, we are thinking about trying our hand at “NaNoWriMo” (National Novel Writing Month) as a group effort, and perhaps individually.

Here is her email…

“I want to let all of you know about NaNoWriMo. Everybody’s busy, I know, but this could be the year that you and/or your kids write a novel. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and hundreds of thousands of adults and kids write novels in November. Yes, complete novels. If you meet your word count, you’re declared a winner — yes, a novelist. It doesn’t matter if it’s really bad or not. If it’s a finished novel, you’re a winner.

Adults have to write 50,000 words (short novel), and children set their own word-count goals. Does it sound like something you want to explore?

Check out these links:

Young Writer’s Program:

General Writer’s Program:

Check it out! I’m doing this as part of a class, but it sounds too fun to keep to myself. Most people want to write a novel but can’t get started. This lets you get started — and finished — by giving you deadlines for each day in November. It’s going to be crazy fun! (I haven’t checked out the website for language, so please look at it with your kids.)”

So, how about you?

Fun Games To Play With Clothespins

Last fall, when I was watching my five nieces (twelve kids altogether) during our “cousin camp”, we played some fun games.

Clothespin Hairstyles…

Find or buy some clothespins (like 60-we had some plain wooden ones, and some colorful plastic ones). Seriously, they are so inexpensive!

Then divide into two teams (or more if you need to-somewhere around five or six per team)

Give each team some clothespins. Draw names to see which team member will provide the hair. Then the team members decide on the style for the hair. The teams compete in fun to see which hairdo is the most creative, or uses the most clothespins. We separate the teams, and time them for about five minutes. Oh yeah, then take pictures!

Another game we enjoyed was Clothespin Tag.

Pass out six clothespins to each player. When the leader says “go”, each person tries to pin clothespins on six different players (on their clothing, not the hair for this one). Students must keep moving to avoid being pinned while trying to pin others at the same time (not pin them down, of course…remind the boys we are not wrestling). Before the game starts, make sure these modern-age kids know how to open the clothespins, and that they all understand that they are not to remove a clothespin once they are pinned. You may play until one player gets rid of all six and is declared the winner, or you may have everyone continue playing (even if they do not have any more pins, but they just try to avoid acquiring any more!

Finally, we have a new game that I came up with, and thought I would share with you…
Clothespin Clean-up…

Here is how it is played…
On the sides of the clothespins, Mom writes with a fine permanent marker all of the individual jobs that need to be done when your family does weekly/daily/monthly clean-up. For example:
Daily: unload dishes, load dishwasher, sweep floors, wipe off counters and table, vacuum, etc.
Weekly: clean out the fridge, dust furniture, toilets, sinks, tubs, etc.
Monthly: dust ceiling fans, dust blinds, wash windows, clean baseboards, etc.

Then, you start the timer and see who can collect the most clothespins. Grab one and stick it on your clothes, then go clean. This has really motivated my boys with clean up, too. Oh, and when you are done, have them return all of the clothespins into a baggie labeled “clothespin clean-up”, and store it with the cleaning supplies.

What about you? Do you have something different that you do with clothespins? Let me think…what else …oh, I also use them as “chip clips”.

It’s A Twin Thing…

My twin sister is the best.We have shared many wonderful times together over these past “few” okay, forty, years.

We spoke the same language, shared similar thoughts, and just had a lot of fun together.

Sure, we fought at times, but mostly we laughed…and sometimes it wasn’t at the most appropriate times (like during a class or a prayer).

We also loved talking together. Unfortunately, we never mastered the art of talking while driving…and ending up at the correct location-lots of examples to share there. I remember in seventh grade, the youth minister was trying to take us home (this was way before GPS and cell phones) after a youth group function. We knew our address, but we had no idea how to get to our house. The only thing we could remember was that we lived by a Kroger. So, hours later, we finally made it home. Then, the night before we started college, we practiced driving out to the university. We were so happy we made it there, but just because you arrive at your destination, it doesn’t always mean that you know how you got there, or exactly how to get back home. Lost in a bad part of town, we frantically called our parents from a pay phone and told them that we had no idea where we were, and that we saw some scary-looking biker dudes, and then we hung up. Needless to say, that was one phone call my parents did not like to receive!

When we started babysitting together in fifth grade. The mom was leaving and said (to her kids):”Y’all be good.” And C. and I said: “…We will!”

We worked together, and even when we had different jobs, they were right next to each other in the mall. We were usually a good team.

However, we broke a few things along the way.

There was that time where we broke a window to get into our house because we had to go to work (I think we were freshmen in college). We were very disappointed to find our other sister had been home the whole time…but she was taking a shower when we rang the doorbell!

We broke our fingers on the same day, at about the same time, but different places.

We made a game of everything. When we were in third grade, we would take our dirty socks off and throw them at a picture on our bedroom wall. We even kept score. The loser would have to stand on the rocking chair to get them down. Sadly, C. broke her arm retrieving socks, and that was the end of that game.

Then, there was the time we burned the wall by the oven when we were making popcorn. The way I remember it, we each thought the other one was watching the oil in the pot for popping popcorn on the stove top. That was when we learned not to pour water on a grease fire!

We married best friends, too. They both shared the same name. Our first born daughters were born on the same day, just five years apart. Our second daughters were born only a week apart. Also, I had contractions when I was trying to help C. with her second delivery (I was four months pregnant), and they ordered me to go home, but I was able to get them under control, and came back.

Back in the days when we didn’t even know what a carb. was, and frankly, didn’t care, we devoured an entire extra large pizza…and we were proud of this feat!

We also have always loved singing together, and I am thankful that the Lord has blessed us with each other and He is the theme of our songs.

Now, at forty, we both have a G.P.S., cell phones, and we microwave our popcorn:).

I had to get her back for "decorating" my house. After all, she is five minutes older!

I had to get her back for "decorating" my house. After all, she is five minutes older!

Pictures from our “funeral” given by my wonderful, yet crazy, aunts and relatives!

Moms…And theTools of the Trade

While driving to church meeting the other day, one of the lenses on Faith’s glasses fell out. The screw was still in the side, but unfortunately, I did not have my “handy dandy” small screwdriver. While I was looking for something else that might work (like duct tape), Faith suggested that I use my fingernail to twist it back in place. “Well, that just might work,” I thought. Sure enough, my fingernail transformed into a screwdriver and her glasses were fixed! That was a first for me in the mom business!

How about you? Have you ever had the convenience of using a screwdriver at your fingertips or am I the screwycrazy one?

Cow Day Fun!

Cow day was even bigger this year. As a self-appointed “cow”ordinator, I helped to corral all the herds at one location to feed. There were six families that participated. We helped to outfit some of the families at my house before the event.

There was nail-painting, cow hat-making, and duct-taping also going on, and 29 cows walking in and out of our house. It felt kind of like getting ready for a wedding…getting dressed up in black and white…painting nails…accessorizing…but in a different way.

The night before cow day, I found an old Nike t-shirt of BC’s that he was going to give away. That’s when the inspiration hit me…”Just Moo It!” (like the “Just Do It” slogan). So, I did it. I now have an official cow appreciation day shirt! Notice the tongue sticking out on “Air Elsie” (the cow), and the Nike symbol for her ears (BC’s Idea)…complete with a “swoosh!” by the tail! Oh, the hat read…”Incowgnito”.

Faith and I also had fun making her new ensemble this year.

This year, I thought of a new tradition. It involved having the one who graduated that year wear a black graduation gown with white spots on it. Maybe next year we will have a sign that reads…”I’m moovin’ on up!”, complete with cap and black and white tassel.

You know, we all felt totally normal, even special, when we were dressed like cows at Chick-Fil-A. In contrast, when two strangers knocked on my door, we were viewed as the strange ones, not to mention what all of our neighbors thought as we “moo-seyed” along into our cars. Later on, my friend and I were talking about the importance of who you hang around with because of the strong influence of what is perceived as “normal” by the group. Cow Day provided a very clear example of this.

Well, you know how cows just graze all day? This year, I asked the manager if it was okay if we went to another Chick-Fil-A for dinner. His reply: “Absolutely! After all, it’s National Cow Appreciation Day! You can come for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!” Well, my friend did not really desire to eat a chicken sandwich twice in one day, but..when we found out we could order anything on the menu…(I later found out that this depends on the manager)…we now had options…and late dinner plans.

As we were finishing our dinner, something came over my friend (…maybe mad cow? j/k) because at 9:45 she said to me, “Let’s all go get some shakes at another Chick-Fil-A!” What had I done to my friend? She went from not wanting to go twice to initiating our third visit! So, we rushed the kids out and we were really “moo-ving” on the road to a nearby Chick-Fil-a to get delicious shakes. I just knew some of the kids would get sick that night, but all was well.

Paige’s link to cow day
And the last bit of cow news…
Our dear friends brought the famous big cow bell (you know, the one that made the news last year) for me to ring…which, surprisingly, had a damper on it! They wrapped the ringer in a napkin so it would not ring so loudly like it had last year!

Some of our friends with their families…

I saw this wig-wearing guy in the crowd when I was in the parking lot on the way into Chick-Fil-A, and I said, “Now that dude really knows how to do Cow Day!” Then, someone told me that dude was Mr. I! Wow! I could barely recognize him.

Thank you, Michelle, for taking pictures, and for letting me take some with your moovalous camera (she even put white duct tape spots on her camera straps!)

We were pretty tired cows at the end of the day! It reminded me of the time when our young Paige told me that her “cows” were tired! What she really was referring to was her calves! Too cute!

Calling all cows…next year, on the second Friday in July…save a spot on your calendar and join us for the fun. We are not sure if Chic-Fil-A will have a spot for all our spotted friends, but it will be fun trying! No cow left behind!

Grace’s B-day…Thankful for Grace!

Grace at two months old

Grace has always been very full of life and sweetness. She loves to sing and to care for her family, and she is quick to think of others. She is very gentle with children and loves to have fun and play games…that is, until someone gets hurt. Unfortunately, four out of eight times, that someone has been Grace. As I have probably mentioned before, she has had the most E.R. visits than any of our kids. Therefore, she was lovingly referred to as “Danger Girl” by an observant neighbor:)

We realized Grace was daring when she was just a baby. Because she was so tall, she managed to escape her crib at a young age.

When she was only two months old, she had two teeth already. At six months, she had eight. This was different from my first two daughters (whom Grace sometimes called “girls” when she was learning to talk). Because of her teeth, she was able to bite off things unexpectedly…like a plastic toy baby bottle of the girls, a glass ornament, and a Dorito. We had to constantly remind people not to let her “gum” anything because she was a baby with many teeth! I did many finger sweeps on her!

She was very skilled with her long hands when she was an infant. She took off a button from my blouse at church one day, and handed it to me. She did the same thing to a friend of mine. While we were eating, we always had to place our glasses pretty far from her because she could easily reach them. I remember one time when she spilled a huge glass of ice water on Daddy!

One night, I stood by the fridge and asked BC what sounded good to eat for dinner. Meanwhile, our ten-month-old Grace quickly crawled into the fridge and took out the egg carton (cracking a few). So, we decided to have eggs for dinner!

“I like food, Momma!” exclaimed our little picky eater one day. Whew!

When she was four, she lost her entire nail in the bedroom door jamb. Evidently, she was trying out a new look, as preschoolers do, and her sisters laughed at her ensemble of a swimsuit worn over her pink “footsie” pajamas. She said, “I’m telling Momma!” as she slammed the difficult door, but she forgot that her other hand was in the door jamb. The nail was off and the finger was cut to the bone (partial amputation)….and flapping. She rushed to the nearby bathroom and put it under cold water. When I came in, she calmly said, “Momma, I think I need a band-aid!” Ouch! My college first-aid class did not prepare me enough, as I panicked, called an ambulance (we only had one car at that time), and sent my other children to a neighbor’s house. This would be her first ambulance drive…wearing the interesting outfit…and her first four stitches. After that, we had what we called “an open door policy”, and doors were not to be closed by little hands.

Her finger was cut pretty deep. Notice the gum:)

When she was four, she asked me, “Momma, do you think I should cut off my fingers?” (as she was holding her hands out in front of her). Of course, she meant to imply that it was time for me to trim her nails!

And when she was a young toddler, she would hold her hands straight out, open her eyes wide, and round out her mouth with a silly face, and then make all of us laugh! She laughed right along with us.
Grace at age one and a half

Grace has always loved chewing gum. Once, when she was very small, we were shopping at Sam’s. Grace was in the front basket. I’ll never forget the moment I saw something blue in her mouth. Being surprised, I asked BC if he happened to give her some gum. We were both horrified when he said, “No”. “Oh no!…ABC gum!” (Already Been Chewed), we gasped, and I fished the nasty gum out of her mouth.

As seen below in the picture from Bradley’s Ball birthday party, the aquarium, not the pinata, would break the following month, and Grace, unfortunately, would end up with stitches. When they gave her seven stitches, she assumed it was because she was seven years old. (In her defense, she did have four stitches when she was four).

Her knee was deeply cut by a fake coin that came off (well, the boys cut it off) from a sewing embellishment which had been previously used for a pirate outfit. It was unknowingly buried under a couch cushion. Later, when Grace kind of jumped to sit on her knees on the couch, she was cut by the mysterious buried treasure. These things just seemed to happen to her.

Grace also had quite the imagination, and two imaginary pet dinosaurs when she was young. Their names were “Pee Kee” (Picky) and “Bahshe” (Bossy). They were the flying kind.

She loves monkeys. She has always wanted to get one when she grows up.

Her other love is sharks…scary, huh?

Like many girls I know, Grace has always had a fondness for shoes. The first time she went to a “Payless Shoe Store” and saw the many stacks of shoes, she was an overjoyed preschooler. She quickly told me, “When I grow up, I want to work at Payless and be a doctor!

On 9-11-01, Grace trusted in Jesus for her salvation. She asked me if all the people that died in the twin towers and airplanes went to be with Jesus. We talked about life and death; heaven and hell; sin and self, and later on she was baptized by Daddy.

She loves flowers. Whenever she spies flowers, her eyes open up like they are about to bloom (like one of those flowers that you might view with time-lapse photography on nature shows).

Here is our 14 year old beautiful young lady!

More on our sweet Grace…a.k.a. “Danger Girl” here…

water balloon incident…

Grace at age 8-if you look closely, you will notice her left pupil is larger than her right.
Grace at age 8-if you look closely, you will notice her left pupil is larger than her right.

aquarium accident…

birth story…

One thing is for sure…God has given her extra grace when she has gone through trials. Praise His name…the One who is full of grace.

P.S. What is the most daring thing I heard that she did?…Years ago, she tried to see how many steps on the stairs of our house that she could jump down safely…but, she missed a few. Yikes! She was okay, but promised me she would never try that again!

Faith: Twelve Years Old!

Where does time go? My baby girl is twelve today!  Here are a dozen things/memories I love about Faith:

  • On her birth…Well, naturally, the day she was born…naturally. We named her Faith because I had hemorrhaged with my previous pregnancy, so we were taking a big step of faith believing God would deliver her, and deliver me also. The doctor told me she didn’t think it would happen again, but there were no guarantees. Oh, Faith looked just like a baby doll—so precious! And we had a healthy baby and Momma! Praise the LORD!
  • On her second birth…The night she came into our room (about 11:00 p.m.), and awakened us by exclaiming, “I said it!” I thought she had said something bad, and I told her it would be okay, and that Jesus forgives us if we just ask Him. But she said, “No, I mean I said it. I prayed to ask Jesus to forgive my sins, and be my Savior.” She had been wrestling with this decision for awhile. It was a happy night indeed! We were thrilled to be awakened by the fact that she was awakened to her need of a Savior! It was the night before she turned seven. We were thrilled that she now would celebrate two birthdays (physical and spiritual)!
  • On her common sense…At six years of age, she broke her pinkie finger with a basketball. She said she was doing the pinkie splits (she’s double jointed) with her hand on the stairs, and the basketball that she had placed on the stair above her, rolled down and dropped on her pinkie…kind of giving her permanent pinkie splits! The orthopedist said that it was so far removed from the other fingers that he needed to reset it,and he gave her a pink cast to wear! The cast was removed and the orthopedist’s instructions of “No P.E. for two weeks” seemed to also be removed from my daughter’s hearing. As soon as we had arrived home, I witnessed her perform a one-handed cartwheel.  When I quickly reminded her she wasn’t supposed to be using that hand, she said, “I know, that’s why I only did a one-handed cartwheel using my other hand.”

  • On her vocabulary…One time when she was about three, we were driving down the road. I said, “Look at all those bluebonnets!”
  • Faith piped in “…and ‘yellow bonnets’ too!” There were also yellow flowers!

    • On animals…I love to watch her play with dogs, cats, bunnies, lizards, and frogs. She loves them! I remember the time she caught a lizard and asked me if she could keep it inside. I let her keep it for a day, then we let him go.

    • On her favorites…She loves her family, mysteries, sign language, sewing, crotchet, drawing, memorizing Scripture, computer games and of course, puzzles.

    • On strength…She is very strong. The boys are hoping they can one day beat her at arm-wrestling!
    • On her music…She is very musical. She whistles, sings harmony by ear, and plays the lap harp, recorder, and harmonica.

    • On humility…She is cute, and smart. I told her when she was about three, “You sure are cute!”.

    She said, “And I’m smart, too!”

    • On shots…The way she took her shots so well at the doctors. One day they had to draw blood, and she was so into it. She was watching them take blood, and commented on how neat it looked. The nurse was amazed at how a three-year-old was so good for all of that. Years later, she did almost faint after a blood draw. I caught her, and she rested in the hallway of a medical building. Thankfully, a nearby nurse from a different office brought her ice. More importantly, her blood tests came back normal! I remember feeling so relieved!

    li>On art…She is great at drawing, and with scissors. She used to be my human paper shredder. Of course, there was the time she cut her hair right before prayer meeting…yikes!

  • She is such a super helper. She loves to clean and organize, and really sticks with a project until it’s completed. Thanks, Faith!Happy Birthday, sweet girl!
  • Faith with her hand-sewn quilt.