Monday, July 31, 2006

Simple Pleasures.

I enjoyed a simple pleasure this evening... something I haven't done in quite a few years (at least 4). I sat out in the garden and picked out the one thing we seem to grow best: weeds:-). As I sat there, I noticed the little ants scurrying back and forth (especially after I wrecked their peaceful little kingdom!), watched the daddy long leg spider speed away from my fingers (if he only knew how much I dislike spiders!), and drank in the sweet smell of the flowers that were freshly freed of their enemy ~ the weed.

As dusk began to fall, I got so excited to see the fireflies light up the night... memories of my childhood summer days floated back to me on the wings of those fireflies. I remember many a summer night when my siblings and I would run around playing tag, kickball, or baseball in our oblong backyard. We always tried to squeeze out the last bit of sunlight from the fading day, but regretfully the balls and bases would be put away until the next afternoon and soon we would run around catching fireflies. Even that evening activity was eventually retired; often as a result of one of us kids running into someone else! Then we would sit down on the grass while my parents and grandfather sat in the lawn chairs. We would look up at the sky and see the stars twinkle. Occasionally a passing car would break the silence of the still evening. Living in the country certainly had its pleasures, many of which did not include loud music, blaring horns, or street lights! Finally we would go to bed, but always looking forward to the next day's activities of ball, laughter, and fun.

Those four years we lived with my grandfather hold some of the best memories of summer fun. As I sat tonight, I thought about how busy I am, and how often I come home at night just in time to go to bed. Where did the fireflies go? What about the kickball games? How about running through the cornfield next to our house or climbing up the trees? They are all a distant memory now. In its place has come responsibility. Perhaps I give myself too much responsibility and forget to take time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. I like what Olivia said to Jasper on a Road To Avonlea episode, "We only have one life to live, so let's live it." What she meant was: let's experience life and all of it's ups and downs. It's ok if at the end of the day the list is not completely crossed off.

I enjoyed tonight and look forward to partaking in some summer pleasure while there is still summer to enjoy. It's pretty hard to enjoy summer in the wintertime. I think maybe, just maybe, those fireflies might come by to visit again. And when they do, I'll be ready to run after them with all the enthusiam and excitement of a 10 year old girl just enjoying her summer:o).


Here's an e-mail update my sister sent out regarding my nephew... they were up here Friday and the girls at the office got to see him crawl all around:o). He's definitely all-boy; he loves to eat! The little munchkin is all smiles too...what a cutie! If you think of it, I would appreciate you praying for him. Thanks!

Hi everyone- We just wanted to update all of you with Andrews' progress. Last week we went to CHOP and did basic tests. All the tests came back negative, except one of the blood tests. Andrew has extremely low proteins in the blood. Also, this week we met with the GI specialist and she did more observations on Andrew. At this time, she feels that Andrew is not absorbing the fats and proteins into his body from the food. We will be going into CHOP on Monday morning for further tests on his digestive tract. We also received a call from our regular doctor this morning. She said if Andrew does not gain weight in the next few days he will be admitted into CHOP. We would really appreciate the prayers and thoughts for Andrew so he will be comfortable and that we will be strong as his parents.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Drifting On.

Several single and teen girls went to Nockamixon State Park today to do some kayaking on the lake and we couldn't have asked for a prettier day! As Raichelle prayed, too much wind and we would've been cold, but not enough wind and we would've been hot:o). So all in all it was a good day.

Well, except for the sunburnt legs and feet. I completely forgot to put sunscreen on my legs and my culottes only went a couple of inches below my knees. So as we paddled around, I kicked off my sandals to enjoy the warmth of the sun... I'm still feeling the sun's heat on my legs and it's been several hours! Hopefully a little aloe vera will do the trick.

As we paddled, we waited for two of the girls to come in Priscilla's canoe. Since they entered the lake at a different point than we did, we had to meet up with them. So the four kayaks kinda pulled up next to each other and allowed the water to drift us on. It was a lazy day on the lake as we girls chattered and laughed, completely unaware how much we were drifting.

We finally met up with the canoe and headed towards some lily pads in the distance. We did some more drifting and then finally decided to turn around to make it back in time since we only had two hours from start to finish. So we all started paddling.

And paddling.

And a little more.

And realized that we had drifted so far that we had a lot of distance to cover in a little amount of time! Plus we had to work hard to go against the current and the wind. Our arms and legs were aching, but we had to make up all that drifting that we did. We finally made it back to the beach, just in time too!!! Later on we were sitting around talking about how our muscles will ache tomorrow and how surprised we were at how far we went. Someone made the observation that us drifting on the lake could be paralleled to our Christian walk. What starts off as just going away a little bit turns into something bigger, and before we know it, we've drifted from God, the Bible, convictions, and standards.

And all it took was just a little drifting. Wow!!! Often God brings the application from day to day happenings to apply to my Christian walk. Wednesday night the speaker preached on *toeholds of sin* in our lives. Often we'll allow the devil to take a *toehold* in our lives, and soon it turns into a *foothold*, and then it becomes a *stronghold*. That's why it's important to nip it back at the *toehold* stage.

The lake was a lot of fun and we want to try to make this a monthly activity for the single and teen girls. I'm just not sure if I want to do anything with water for the next activity:-D.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Missions Musings ~ Part 2

One of the most basic mission trip goals is be an encouragement to the missionary family. Every trip I have taken has had that at the top of the *list* because it is important. A missionary family will see God work in miraculous ways on a field, but they will also see the devil work, especially if a great spiritual battle was just won. You are almost guaranteed to have the devil come along and do some damage after a person gets saved, after sin is dealt with, or after a literature blitz. That's why a missions trip is important... it gives an opportunity to offer spiritual insights and some plain ole encouragement! Imagine how you feel after being away from people you love (for instance, your family or your church) and how refreshed you feel after talking to them. Missionaries are no different, and maybe they need it more so than you or I do because their fellowship is limited.

My typical week consists of being in church on Sundays and Wednesdays (encouragement), working at church Monday-Friday with other Christians (encouragement), and usually spending some part of my Saturday with a Christian somewhere in the day (encouragement). I'm an extreme case because my job happens to be at church, but the majority of Christians get weekly doses of encouragement!!!!! That's why e-mail, letters, phone calls, and visits are important: they are tangible evidences of prayer and love for the missionary.

On my last trip, I spent some time with my good friend Gina, the missionary's daughter. Several years ago Gina's dad had come to Bible Institute to train for the ministry. Gina and I, along with several other girls, spent those years together doing different activities, but soon her family went back down to Maryland. Fast forward a few years to this past May. When I went to visit, I wondered how exactly I could be an encouragement. I found out all I had to do was just do what I do back here at home: share what the Lord's been doing in my life, talk about blessings at church, and just day to day things. Gina, in turn, was encouraged because of what was shared. Missionaries are real people who are just like you and I. So think what encourages you and then turn around and place yourself in the missionary's shoes. Just this morning I wrote a letter to a missionary's daughter in South Africa and it took all of about 15 minutes, if that. So what can you do? Can you encourage a missionary today? It doesn't take much... :o)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Missions Musings ~ Part 1

If you have ever taken a missions trip, you know that you've experienced something wonderful, unique, and, unfortunately, something rare. My church is very blessed to have five special families serving the Lord as missionaries. Right now one family is home from Chile, South America on furlough. Furlough is a time for the family to rest, relax, and readjust a bit, and is also a time for the church to get reacquainted with the missionaries. I love it! You get to see how the kids have grown, reconnect with the wives, hear the missionary preach often (you gotta get em while they're here!), and get a first hand report of the trials, the ups and downs, the blessings, and the satisfaction of missions life. But there's something that goes beyond the missionary coming home to the USA and you hearing about all that is done on that field. No, it's deeper than that.

When you get to take part in a missions trip, you see first hand everything (and more!) the missionary reported on from the pulpit. You experience first hand what the missionary wife shared at that ladies fellowship. You hear the language that seemed so foreign to you when the children sang it for special music suddenly be almost all that you hear... well, except for back at the missionaries house where English is spoken. Suddenly, you connect, very well, with the feelings of loneliness and frustration that the missionaries experience. And on a missions trip you also learn to pray in ways you've never prayed before. I remember on my first missions trip back in 2002, there was a group of about 25 of us who were supposed to go to a train station where a train would take us to another city two hours away. As we laughed and joked our way to the bus stop, the bus drove right by us and we suddenly realized that we just missed our bus! Not a good scenario, considering we also needed to make the metro in time to get to the train. Only God (in His Great Mercy, I might add!) got us there with no time to spare! We were sweating that one out as we ran through the train station. Can you imagine a group of 25 Americans each carrying luggage and shouting, "Hurry! Hurry!" running through a foreign country?!?! "Safety In Traveling" suddenly become a major prayer request for missionaries after that!!!! Why? Because you've experienced it, and it has become real to you.

On this past trip I made back in May, the missionary family decided to play a game. Or rather, have us play a game they made up! The group was divided up into two teams, and everyone had to participate in communicating with a Czech person: either at the grocery store and pharmacy in town, or at one of the village shops. Yours truly was given the mission of getting one pound of cheese. Easy, right? Well, the problem is the Czech Republic doesn't use ounces and pounds, but rather kilograms and grams. So once we figured out how much a pound of cheese was (or so we thought), I confidently walked up to the deli counter and requested my cheese, using some very poor Czech and lots of finger pointing!!!

I realized my mistake too late, when the guy handed me my cheese. We had done the math wrong somehow and ended up with four pounds of cheese, not one!!!!! Ahhhhhh! What was I to do? Hand him back three pounds and say "sorry"? Not exactly.

It was a good thing there were 25 of us there and this little game took place at the beginning of our trip. The funny part was the other team got too much ham, so it all balanced out in the end and we ate ham and cheese for a while;).

The missionary's wife really put it into perspective when she said that they didn't have a big group of people to go back to and laugh at their silly mistakes. Instead, they faced the problem day in and day out until they learned to communicate with the people. Wow.

Missions trips are life changing and there's no doubt about it. Speaking from personal experience: GO. If it means you *sacrifice* some pleasures back here, who cares? GO if God presents the opportunity. You will not regret that decision. Not ever.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Little Boy At Home.

A little boy came home today. After 36 days at St. Christopher's Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, Dillon was released to go home. God is truly good and we are so thankful. His grandparents came in from Ohio yesterday, and are excited to spend the week here in our small town, rather than in Philadelphia! For the past month, I got to spend at least one day a week down at the hospital, and it's not something I'll likely forget any time soon.

Up until a couple of years ago, my church almost seemed to take *for granted* babies. That all changed when one family adopted a boy with some needs, when my autistic nephew was born, when a lady miscarried at 7 1/2 months (and the day after her baby shower), and when Dillon had complications. Each baby is special and no longer taken for granted. Check out Brittney's blog for an excellent post...

My youngest nephew had several tests done this week at CHOP, but so far they have revealed nothing. I just think he's a little peanut, but I'm glad they're doing the tests to be sure... Mr. Andrew didn't think too highly of being strapped down, and poked, and prodded, so he was in a grumpy mood last night and decided to let it all out during the 1/2 hour car ride. Pity my sister! So she called me up because she needed to talk to someone and she knew I can deal with the crying... Aww! I would have prefered to hold him and rock him to sleep. Soon, I hope.
Anyway, here's a cute poem I found on little boys...

Little Boys
Little boys come in all shapes and sizes, Shy and adventurous, full of surprises, With misshapen halos and mischievous grins, Small dirty faces, and sweet, sticky chins. They'll keep you so busy, and yet all the while Nothing can brighten the world like their smile.And no greater treasure has brought homes more joy Than a curious, active, and lovable boy!

Just For Fun.

Directions: I am supposed to mark with an X the things that are TRUE about me...


[x] I am shorter than 5'4.
[] I think I'm ugly sometimes.
[x] I have many scars.
[x] I tan easily.
[] I wish my hair was a different color.
[] I have friends who have never seen my natural hair color.
[] I have a tattoo.
[] I am self-conscious about my appearance.
[]I've had braces.
[x] I wear glasses/contacts
[] I would get plastic surgery if it were 100% safe, free of cost, and scar-free.
[x] I've been told I'm attractive by a complete stranger.
[] I have more than 2 piercings.
[] I have piercings in places besides my ears.
[x] I have freckles.

Family/Home Life

[] I've sworn at my parents
[x] I've run away from home. (Once; I got about 3 blocks)
[] I've been kicked out of the house.
[]I have a sibling less than one year old.
[x] I want to have kids someday.
[] I've had children.
[] I've lost a child.


[x] I'm in school. (college)
[x] I have a job.
[] I've fallen asleep at work/school.
[x] I almost always do my homework.
[] I've missed a week or more of school.
[] I've been on the Honor Roll within the last 2 years.
[] I failed more than 1 class last year.
[] I've stolen something from my job
[] I've been fired.


[]Disney movies still make me cry.
[x] I've snorted while laughing.
[x] I've laughed so hard I've cried.
[] I've glued my hand to something
[x] I've laughed till some kind of beverage came out of my nose.
[] I've had my pants rip in public (I have had my skirt rip though!)


[] I was born with a disease/impairment.
[] I've gotten stitches.
[x] I've broken a bone.
[] I've had my tonsils removed.
[] I've sat in a doctors office with a friend.
[] I've had my wisdom teeth removed.
[] I've had surgery.
[x] I've had chicken pox.


[x] I've driven over 200 miles in one day. (I love driving!!)
[x] I've been on a plane.
[x] I've been to Canada.
[] I've been to Mexico.
[] I've been to Niagara Falls. (Soon, I hope!!)
[] I've been to the Grand Canyon (Eventually:D)
[] I've been to Japan.
[x] I've been to Europe.
[x] I've been to Africa.


[x] I've gotten lost in my city. (Sadly, this is true...)
[x] I've seen a shooting star.
[] I've wished on a shooting star.
[] I've seen a meteor shower.
[x] I've gone out in public in my pajamas.
[x] I've pushed all the buttons on an elevator
[] I've been to a casino.
[] I've been skydiving.
[] I've played spin the bottle.
[] I've drank a whole gallon of milk in one hour.
[] I've wrecked a car.
[x] I've been skiing
[x] I've been in a play.
[] I've met someone in person from the internet.
[x] I've caught a snowflake on my tongue.
[] I've seen the Northern Lights.
[] I've sat on a roof top at night.
[] I've played chicken.
[x] I've played a prank on someone. (Oh yeah!!)
[]I've ridden in a taxi.
[] I've eaten Sushi.
[] I've been snowboarding.


[x] I'm single
[] I'm in a wonderful relationship.
[] I've gone on a blind date.
[x] I miss someone right now.
[] I have a fear of abandonment.
[] I've cheated in a relationship.
[] I've had feelings for someone who didn't have them back.


[x] I've done something I promised someone else I wouldn't
[x] I've done something I promised myself I wouldn't.
[] I've snuck out of my house.
[] I have lied to my parents about where I am.
[] I am keeping a secret from the world
[x] I've cheated while playing a game.
[x] I've cheated on a test.
[x]I've run a red light.
[x] I've been suspended from school. (A lot of these are pre-salvation!)
[] I've witnessed a crime.
[] I've been in a fist fight.
[] I've been arrested.
[x] I've shoplifted.


[]I can sing well.
[] I've stolen a tray from a fast food restaurant.
[x] I open up to others easily.(mostly)
[] I watch the news.
[] I don't kill bugs. (I do, but it is usually accompanied by a scream or a yell).
[] I curse regularly.
[x]I sing in the shower.
[] I am a morning person.
[] I am a sports fanatic.
[x] I twirl my hair
[] have "x"s in my screen name
[x] I love being neat
[] I love Spam
[] I've copied more than 30 CD's in a day
[x] I bake well.
[x]My favorite color is either white, yellow, pink, red or blue
[] I wear pajamas to school.
[] I like Martha Stewart.
[]I know how to shoot a gun.
[] I am in love with love.
[]I am guilty of tYpInG lIkE tHiS.
[] I laugh at my own jokes.
[] I eat fast food weekly.
[]I believe in ghosts.
[] I am online 24/7, even as an away message.
[] I've not turned anything in and still got an A in a certain class.
[] I can't sleep if there is a spider in the room.
[x] I am really ticklish.
[] I love white chocolate
[x] I bite my nails.
[] I play video games.
[x] I'm good at remembering faces.
[] I'm good at remembering names
[x] I'm good at remembering dates.
[] I have no idea what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Sea Is His...

Thursday I took a 3 year-old-boy to his grandparents in Wildwood, NJ while his parents spent the week in CA at a conference. Since I knew the trip was going to be very long, I decided to take along some of the older high school girls with me... we had a nice time, and I really enjoyed viewing the beautiful ocean and the tiny mussels that burrowed into the sand when the tide receded. I was blown away by the fact that something that is smaller than my pinky fingernail is so intricately made by the Designer that it can disappear into the sand in a matter of seconds and be gone. Whoosh!!! And they say there is no God...

One of the girls snapped this picture, which became a *souvenir*... that and some free sea shells that were scattered along the beach:D.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Two Challenges.

Last evening for the visitation challenge, C. chose I Corinthians 9:19-24 as his *charge*. It was a very simple, straightforward message without all the *bells and whistles*, as we like to say. The end of verse 22 caught my attention: "I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." C. then made an excellent observation by stating that being "all things to all men" is going to require some sacrifice. So then he began to list some things that are sacrifices. He concluded with the point that it is worth it to sacrifice time, clothing, convience, etc. so that we might save some. We might not save all, but there's a chance to save some! What an encouragement, but what a challenge...

This evening my Pastor preached from Ephesians 4:29 ("Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.") by using the Bible Study Step Tool. This is a tool that my Pastor put together well over a year ago, in an effort to encourage us to pick a verse and study it word by word basically. There are seven steps to this tool, and it's great help to understanding more about a verse. Anyway, there was so much information packed into this little verse, but the basic point I walked away with was this: as a Christian, I have an opportunity to minister to others through my words. My talents are few, but this is an area that God gives to me and to every Christian: a ministry to share grace. But as my pastor so wisely pointed out, there's also an opportunity to do the exact opposite. Oooh. That hit close to home.

So here's my pastor's challenge to me (and the rest who heard the message): at the end of the day, for the next month, sit down and recount every conversation from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed. Check out the times that corrupt communciation comes out. If it's 27 times the first day, aim for 26 the next.

In a way, the two messages seem to fit together. In order for me to be "all things to all men", I need to make sure I don't let "corrupt communication proceed out of" my mouth. This is going to require some work, but that's what the Christian walk is all about. Perhaps along the way, I can have a ministry of grace too...

Thought This Was Neat.

I thought this was pretty neat... I wouldn't say I despise nerds though:o) Just for fun, check it out!

I am nerdier than 3% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Monday, July 17, 2006

I Was Thinking.

I was thinking (yes, I can hear the laughs already... specifically from R. and perhaps C.! I ususally utter those words to R. when I have a favor to ask or a really great idea to share:D And C. never misses an opportunity to make sure that it's been noted that a *blonde* was thinking for once!). I've been happily roaming around, jumping from blog to blog, as I investigate what's beyond the link and partake in one of my favorite past times: reading. Anyway, back to thinking. I have really enjoyed *getting to know* several sweet sisters in the Lord by reading their thoughts they post on their blog. It just gets me excited to think that one day we'll be in Heaven, worshipping the Lord together and praising His name! Isn't that amazing?!?! Yesterday morning my pastor commented, "Who knows? The Rapture might happen today. It might not happen, but it just might happen." And think: going to worship Jesus and lay crowns at his feet; the most exciting thing that is yet to come.

So are you looking forward to that, dear friend? Jesus could come back today, tomorrow, next week. But are you ready for Him to come? Oh dear, a question that burns in my heart as I think of souls still lost and without Jesus. Jesus is coming, and it's our responsibility to be the watchman and sound the alarm, or else there will be blood on our hands

"Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:
If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.
So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me."
~Ezekiel 33:2-7

Saturday, July 15, 2006

3,000 Words

My youngest nephew ... what a charmer! This was taken at a 4th of July picnic. Pray for this little guy.... he's going to CHOP (Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania) on Tuesday for some tests to be run. He's 8 months old and very active but the doctor was concerned about his weight. I'm curious myself, and it looks like I'll be wearing out the road to Philadelphia between Dillon and Andrew...

Last Saturday several family members and I spent the day at an amusement park. I'm not into the rides too much, but I am into my family, especially these three musketeers since they're moving soon. What fun we had!!! Trevor had a blast splashing through the little kiddie swimming pool. As long as that kid has water he's pretty happy. The other two were thrilled that they could go on as many rides as they wanted to... up and down and all around:o) While they rode, I did a good job hanging out back at the table;).

Here's a picture from the VBS Bonanza last night... we girls had lots of fun popping that popcorn;) Cleaning the whole thing was another issue though. I had the entire inside cleaned before I realized (by mistake, I might add) that all the trays and doors come off for easy cleaning:D Of course I found that out after I dropped the top part on my leg... oww! Oh well, I did it the hard way! Oh and thanks for the pic, K.S.!!



Kristi tagged me, so here goes!

3 Things that scare me: 1. Thunder! (I jumped pretty high today when it cracked!) 2. High school boys who sneak up behind me while I'm working in solitude in the Production Room. 3. Bugs of any kind.
3 people who make me laugh: 1. My sister-in-law K:) 2. My brother P:) 3. My friend S:)
3 Things I love: 1. Music 2. Apple and country decor 3. Dried roses
3 Things I hate: 1. Spoiled food...yuck. 2. The folding machine not folding papers right. 3. Scant clothing.
3 Things I do not understand: 1. The logic of spending lots of money on Hallmark ornaments. 2. Why movies must include curse words. 3. Pennsylvania drivers and Jersey drivers in Pennsylvania.
3 Things on my desk: 1. Dried roses in a vase. 2. Telephone. 3. A cup of pens and pencils that winds up in the trash can at least once a week.
3 Things I am doing right now: 1. Sitting down. 2. Listening to the birds chirp and my mom talk. 3. Typing.
3 Things I want to do before I die: 1. Take a missions trip to every continent (except Antartica!). 2. Visit the Grand Canyon. 3. Go on a road trip across the USA.
3 Things I can do: 1. Smile and encourage those around me:-). 2. Organize. 3. Take care of children.
3 Ways to describe my personality: 1. Mischievous. 2. Bubbly. 3. Spontaneous.
3 Things I can't do: 1. Play the piano (although I've had two friends try to teach me:D). 2. Draw. 3. Knit.
3 Things I think you should listen to: 1. The small, still voice of the Holy Spirit. 2. Pastor. 3. Trains blowing their horns.
3 Things you should never listen to: 1. A sales person at a fair or festival. 2. Girls at 3:30 in the morning. 3. God's name taken in vain.
3 Absolute favorite foods: 1. Chicken, rice, and green beans. 2. Ice cream. 3. Apples.
3 Things I'd like to learn: 1. Knit. 2. Crochet. 3. How to bargain shop at yard sales and how to trash pick good deals.
3 beverages I drink regularly: 1. Water. 2. Water. 3. Water (soda occasionally).
3 shows I watched as a kid: 1. Little House on the Prairie. 2. Matlock. 3. The Waltons.
3 Things I really want to do: 1. Take walks on the beach at sunset. 2. Babysit my nephew in Florida. 3. Affect and impact the younger girls for God.

That's Just The Way It Is...Again!

The other day I wrote about my water bottle being left at home... Yesterday as I was leaving to have lunch with friends, I noticed a leak coming out of my bottle! There was a huge crack down at the bottom so I had to throw it away. That's just the way it is!

It's The End Of The Week:D

I'm really glad this week came to a close. I was at church each day from 8 in the morning to 9 at night. That's not a typical week for me, so I fell into bed exhausted each night. My dad was on vacation this week, so I spent 30 minutes talking to him after I got home from VBS each night... that's a rare thing for us (I work during the day and he works 2nd shift). Last night was the big "Bonanza" night for VBS:o) It sure was fun to see the kids running around to all the games and then coming over to the food table. A few of us girls were running the old-fashioned popcorn maker... which worked great, once the smoke cleared and we realized our mistake. Note to self: follow the instructions written on the machine, not the advice of a guy who used to work one at Wal*Mart! After VBS last night, a dozen single girls crammed into a friend's house to talk, laugh, eat food, watch movies, and sleep. The *festivities* started at 11:15, but by 2:15 I was a goner. Waking up at 4:45 in the morning and going to bed at 2:15 is an awful long time to stay awake!!!!! So I grabbed my pillow and blanket and drifted off to dream land with an air conditioner blowing above me and the laughter of girls floating through the room.

It's Ironic

Today a friend of mine planned to move at noon. The rain clouds moved in at 12:05 and a downpour with all the works (thunder and lightening included for free) fell at 12:35. My friend decided to wait until another day to move, thinking the rain wouldn't stop. We all left and the rain stopped at 2:00. Go figure....:D

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

That's Just The Way It Is

I receive a monthly ladies paper called "Apples of Gold" produced by a Baptist Church in NY. My favorite section is an article written by the church's secretary which she has rightly entitled, "The Way It Is...". The reason why I like it so much is because it is an ordinary article written by an ordinary lady who always has things happen to her with some ironic twist, and has the humility to describe it in an extremely humorous way. I always appreciate a good laugh (even blonde jokes:D), so every month you will find me chuckling over the latest "The Way It Is...".

Today, in a way, I experienced my own *the way it is*. I was getting my lunch (and dinner!) ready for the day, and as I was leaving to head out the door, I thought about my water bottle. Now this is not just your typical water bottle. Oh no. It's a special one! My co-worker and friend, K.S., found this jug at the Dollar Store and noticed it is supposed to contain 64 ounces of water. So she so nicely bought one for me, and I've been (mostly) using it ever since.

I stood in my kitchen and told myself I left my water bottle at work in the fridge. Satisfied with myself for being so smart in leaving it there, I headed out for the day. As the morning rushed on, I thought about that water bottle in the fridge, but never went to get it. Finally I got ready to go to lunch. As I headed into the lunchroom, it dawned on me: my water bottle was tucked safely away in my family's second fridge at home.

I was not about to pay 50 cents for a tiny 8 ounce water bottle from the machine. No way! I was determined to grab my bottle when I got home. I ran home quick between work and VBS, did some stuff, and rushed back to church... without the water bottle. I just sighed and thought, that's just the way it is.:o)

Now I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one this happens to! I'm in need of a good laugh (or two or three:D), so would you mind sharing some of your own stories?!?!

Monday, July 10, 2006

This Is...

(Update on Dillon: Dillon had surgery today and came through it fine. The nice thing for "Auntie" Anne was that I got to actually hold the precious little baby boy:-) I was very excited to hold him, to see him move when I tickled his feet, to watch as his left eye cracked open while he was asleep. I only got to hold him for about half an hour, but what a sweet treasure that was! Vacation Bible School started tonight, but I missed it (even though I was overseeing registration). The blessing is that sometimes it's wiser to delegate and follow God's leading, which I did today. And I had no worries about registration being taken care of... my church has so many sweet, godly people who want to serve the Lord. So thanks Sarah A. for jumping in at the *last* moment:D.)

In just over a month, my brother and sister-in-law, teenage niece, rough-and-tumble-10-year-old nephew, and adorable, autistic 4-year-old nephew say their farewells as they follow God leading them to a new state 12 hours away.


It's no fun to say good-bye to loved ones, especially a family such as this one...

...This is my oldest brother, and often my spiritual challenger. I've walked away from many conversations with him, pondering on some truth from the Bible.

...This is my first sister-in-law, and mentor in the Lord. I've learned so many godly principles from her, as well as ways to prepare for a future home and husband someday. I've learned that mommies always need to keep two relationships a priority before children: first the Lord, and then hubby. I've learned that a clean house is not always necessary, if it means placing a house over hubby or children. I've learned to have a good time and accept, with humor and grace, the unexpected situations that will arise. I've learned to tell those around me I Love You.

...This is my one and only niece, so far :o). This is the 14-year-old who showed me it's always fun to have a tickle fight and laugh until the tears come. This is the girl who became, in a way, the little sister I never had.

...This is my rough-and-tumble-ready-for-any-sport nephew. I've learned to take time to sit and listen to kids... all they want is to know that someone cares. I've learned that quality time might just be spending 2 hours watching his favorite movie or go swimming in the pool. I've also learned to keep a quick eye on the hose that's filling up the pool;)

...This is my sweet, adorable, could-pass-for-my-son autistic nephew. I've learned that love is expressed in different ways, and perhaps "we go sleepies" translates "I want to spend time with you because I love you." I've learned a lot about autism in the past two years, and wouldn't trade this little guy for anything in the world. I've learned that God has created all children and they are special to Him. I've learned that the little chubby hands that grasp around my neck displays a confidence in me to take care of him. I've learned the joys of stopping to enjoy life's tiny things, like grass or a ball.

...This is my family.

The transition will be hard come the middle of August when 5 special people in my life take to a new road, a new adventure, a new direction. So for now, I think I'll enjoy the month that remains, cherishing each moment to say "I love you"...

Friday, July 7, 2006

Can't Be Forgotten

In her book, Beauty and the Best, author Beneth Peter Jones begins her first chapter with this comment:
"The twentieth century Christian girl or woman exists in a spiritually-foreign environment: a world shadowed by sin's darkness; a world where the bizarre is applauded and the beautiful is ridiculed; where earth's inhabitants bear out God's prophetic description."
Did you catch the truth in that statement? To sum it up, we as Christian ladies truly aren't at home here. While the devil is the god of this world, we are in enemy territory. And I think the most common (and effective) tool the devil has used is feministic thinking. But God has called us to be beautiful and feminine... therefore it is an attainable goal!
Well, it just so happens that today I attended an old-fashioned festival with a friend. She was in a jean skirt and t-shirt and I was in a khaki skirt with a button down shirt. As we walked around the various stands (including an ox roasting over an open fire, a wheat separator being run by a steam engine, bonnets, and quilts:D), we noticed several ladies and girls in skirts. While this is not an unusual sight at church, it is at a public place such as this festival. We both commented on it, but soon began to notice less-than-modest tops accompanying these pretty skirts. A suspicion popped in my mind that there was a *forced* rule regarding the girls and ladies to be in skirts. Being the blunt person that I am, I walked over to a vendor (who was wearing a very pretty skirt!) and asked if they were *required* to wear skirts. She let out a hugh sigh as she said yes, noting that the skirts were so "cumbersome" and "inconvenient". I could tell that if she had the choice, she would probably be in shorts and a tank top or something along those lines. My friend and I walked away, thinking how we wear skirts all the time and really don't find them "cumbersome" or "inconvenient". But I thought about what Mrs. Jones wrote and how this woman is not fully flourishing under her God-given responsibility to be all God wants her to be for His glory. Later on in the day we met a lady who was wearing a lovely dress with cute sunflower earrings who seemed to radiate God's love. Again, my blunt nature rose to the top as I inquired whether she was a Christian. She certainly was and it was obvious she took delight in feminine beauty. Two ladies at the same festival, but with different viewpoints.
Mrs. Jones concludes her first chapter with this astute observation: "These are matters which the unsaved world would never consider - but which the save woman or girl must never forget!"
While this topic may seem to be *hotly debated*, it all comes down to the fact that we are to be different from the world (Peter uses the word "peculiar") and I need to remember that God wants me to exhibit feminine beauty. That's something that can't ever be forgotten.

Reflections And Musings...

Nahshon, Nethaneel, Eliab, Elizur, Shelumiel, Eliasaph, Elishama, Gamaliel, Abidan, Ahiezer, Pagiel, and Ahira. No, these are not name suggestions for any future nephews! (Although I do like Eliab:D). These were men of courage, men who could lead, and men who feared God. I found all their names in Numbers 2 this morning, but their character traits were a little harder to find. Each man was chosen by God to be the captain over his particular tribe. Each man had a job to do. Each man was in trouble if he relied on his own strength, for the number of the people was 603,550. That would be one man for every, uh, uh, uh, a lot of people! But these twelve men were specifically chosen and named by the Lord (wow) and trusted to do his job completely and faithfully (another wow when you consider how many people there were).
I've often heard it said that every word in the Bible is important, including those long lists of *begats* found tucked away in several OT books and in the book of Matthew. I'm so glad that someone pointed that out to me, for I have a feeling I would have missed out on a blessing in my devotional time this morning if I hurried over those names. Now I know I don't have 603,550 people under my influence, but I would be willing to say I have 50 people I influence. I wonder how I'm measuring up??? Just some reflections and musings on my mind...

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

PRAISE And Prayer Request

Tonight in church the youth/assistant pastor preached from Psalm 34 about PRAISING the Lord and PRAISING Him out loud. So pardon me, but I'm going to use this post to PRAISE the Lord!
Dillon's mommy called me today and said three things need to happen over the next few weeks, but the doctors mentioned the word "HOME"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's the PRAISE, and it all goes to our great God.
Here are the three things that are the prayer requests:
1 - Some tests need to be run.
2 - A feeding tube needs to be placed in Dillon's stomach surgically.
3 - T needs to learn how to suction out his mouth and nose secretions, since he won't be able to swallow for a few months. (This one is disappointing.... but David wrote, "I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth." ~ Psalm 34:1)
That verse really struck me, especially the word continually. I thought of my friends J and T and the *trial* they're going through. If anyone has a right not to PRAISE the Lord, I would think they would rank right up there. But J and T, just like the rest of us, need to PRAISE the Lord, regardless of the situation.
It's interesting to note that David used all and continually because I'm very apt to want to PRAISE the Lord when things are going smooth or I can see the future. I think you will agree with me when I say I enjoy PRAISING the Lord even more when I'm in a *refining-by-fire-process* because I know He is working to bring out His best in me. It is harder to do, but my relationship is so sweet with the Lord when He works in my life like that.
So that's my PRAISE and prayer requests. Oh, and one more thing. Would you pray for little Dillon's release to be on the 16th, if it's God's will? That would be his one-month birthday, and a wonderful gift for his parents:-D
Don't forget to PRAISE the Lord and count your blessings out loud!

An Amazing Sight

Yesterday was (obviously) the 4th of July:).... hooray!!!!! I was so pleased to see Old Glory line the main street of my town. It just gives you the patriotic feeling of gratitude of being born into this country! But although I love this country, I do not like the direction it is going: away from God each and every day. So it's holidays like yesterday that are bittersweet.
My dear sister-in-law, niece, nephews and I went down to Philadelphia to get J and T and lead them to a picnic at my sister's home. We had a very nice time and the rain even held off;) Imagine that! Afterwards we went back to the hospital where we stood on top of a 6-story parking garage with 15 other friends and watched the fireworks.
And did we ever see fireworks!!!!
It was a sight I don't think I'll forget for a very long time. As we stood on the roof, all we could see were fireworks shooting off everywhere. No matter what direction we looked in, we saw fireworks. These weren't even *official* fireworks, like Penn's Landing. These were just the citizens of the city of Brotherly Love showing their appreciation for their country in a very visible way. What amazed me even more was the consistency of the fireworks. We stood there for an hour just watching and wondering.
One thought kept running through my mind. How often do the people of America ever agree on one subject? Look no further than the politicians, the courts, the malls, and the workplace. Everyone has their own opinion. But on this one day it seemed as if every firework that went off was saying, "I love America." It was an amazing sight to behold.
"Land of the free.
Sweet home of liberty.
But it came at such a great price.
Our soldiers brave and true,
gave their lives for me and you.
Thank God for the red, white, and blue."
(Sung by the John Marshall Family on "I Am Not Ashamed")
Next year I think I know where I'll go view some fireworks...

Monday, July 3, 2006

Tag... I'm it

I've been tagged, so I'll play along...:D

5 Things in my Refrigerator:

1. 1 1/2 gallons of milk
2. Leftover haddock from my parents' dinner (I didn't get to eat that time;)
3. Pickles, pickles, pickles!
4. Ketchup
5. 4 bell peppers

5 Things in My Closet:

1. Graduation gown from high school
2. A license plate
3. 23 pairs of shoes
4. 20 skirts
5. Tissue paper, gift wrap, ribbon, and gift bags

5 Things in My Purse:

1. Church directory phone list and cell phone list (I'm one of those people that is stubbornly kicking my heals in the dirt and refusing to get a cell phone!)
2. "Apple" stationary and pen
3. snowmen nail shapener
4. "Good Person Test" tracts
5. Ice Tea Mix To Go

5 Things in My Car:

1. A baby diaper bag (not for me:D. My sister gave it to me to give to T)
2. A coupon
3. An umbrella
4. A coffee (or in my case, chai) club card for Hess Gas Station
5. Tons of loose change

Saturday, July 1, 2006

This, That, And A Little More

Happy New Year to you!!! At least, Happy New Year, Part 2. Today is the beginning of the second part of this year. I, for one, can't believe where the time has gone! The calendar seems to just turn the pages on its own. But regardless, here's to a fresh start for the second half of the year, if the first half left your spiritual life some what wanting.
Today my co-worker's (and the main church secretary) daughter got married. I had the opportunity to work with Mrs. L in making appetizers and serving the food and drinks. It's always a blast working with Mrs. L and she makes some awesome food! (Those who know Mrs. L. should be vigorously nodding their head in agreement at that last statement:D) Although the day was long, it was so sweet to witness their vows. As Tiffany said her vows, she began to cry and Jeremy so sweetly and gently wiped away her tears. What a special ceremony! Now my feet are aching after being on them for over 6 hours, but that's ok. It's always so nice to partake in an opportunity to serve.
This week looks pretty clear but there is a chance of activity in it. I smile when I think I have *free time*, and then find out that God has a ministry opportunity awaiting me. So I say *free time* very loosely and am actually surprised when I spend an evening at home. I bet my mom is too. Often she'll say to me at church in jest, "Hi stranger, how are you?" But that's how it feels some times. We just smile understandingly and know we'll catch up eventually.
Have a blessed day in the House of God and don't forget: count your blessings and name them one by one!!!!!

Baby update

Keep on praying for baby Dillon. He has developed pneumonia (not good), doesn't have a gag reflex (not good) and has yet to open his eyes or do much bodily movement (not good). While you are at it, pray for Dillon's mommy... this is starting to wear on her a lot physically, mentally, and emotionally. PRAY, PRAY, PRAY. Being two weeks in a hospital is not fun, but especially not for a new mommy at 21 who doesn't know what's wrong with her son. God's got a purpose; we just can't see the completed painting yet...