Friday, April 25, 2008

Taking a Break....

Wow. This is going to be my last post for a season. I've been getting a sense for awhile that I've been escaping to "bloggy land" and neglecting the things I should be doing. And, I'm not talking about housework. I am in a stage of just really wanting to spend time doing what my Father directs me to do. And, Father said to me take a break. Write some letters that should have been written years ago. Meet my mom or dad for breakfast. Pray without ceasing. Take better spiritual care of my family. Seek Him first. You know, BEFORE I turn on my computer for the day.

He is restoring this "first love" passion in me and I want to drink in every drop. I'm believing for more miracles, more salvations and for the things He has spoken over me to begin to come to pass. Not so I can feel good about myself, but so that people can KNOW Him. Not just know about Him, really KNOW Him. Their lives changed, transformed so that Christ gets the glory and the effect is contagious.....

I may post an occasional story or picture, but if you don't hear from me for awhile it is only because I'm trying to be more faithful with what He has called me to. For now, that's not blogging.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Some Random, Not Too Deep Happenings this Week

I'm in a list mood lately, probably because for some reason I've said YES to everything I've been asked to do which has kept me running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I just figured I'm not "working" so I can do everything else! I'm not worn out, yet....but I plan to "schedule" some down time. But anyway, here's this week in review (the highlight reel):

1. #2 has to get 12 teeth pulled (not all at the same time). She has a small mouth and big teeth! Normally our family dentist does not do this, but he scheduled her with another dentist in the office. She was going to get some laughing gas and get 2 teeth pulled at a time. So, her and I both had butterflies in our stomachs when we walked in. We went into the cubicle that they were going to do this and sat down. While we were waiting for the new dentist #2 pointed to a poster on the wall behind me and asked who they were. It was the 3 Stooges. That sort of unnerved me a bit. I didn't know how I felt about a 3 Stooges Fan giving my daughter nitrous oxide and pulling at her teeth. Then, I glanced next to Larry, Moe and Curly and saw a cute little sign with a smiling tooth that said established 2003.


As is, only 5 years ago we became a dentist? We, as in, he? I have this general unspoken law that my children only go to medical/dental professionals that have been practicing since the last century (1900's) and who preferably, have grandchildren. What was with this new, 3 Stooges loving wet-behind-the-ears-dentist.....for a slight second, I worried he would over "gas" her and there would be complications like the girl who went in for a breast augmentation in Boca Raton and died from a reaction to the anaesthesia. I prayed away the fear and waited on the edge of my seat. He walked in as bald as Curly and with braces. oh my word. I don't know if it was my preconceived ideas, but he seemed sort of rattled, like maybe he has never actually pulled real teeth before. Nah, that was probably my imagination. We made it through. Now, we just have to do it like 5 more times in the next year.

2. Funny stories at The Possibility Place. I met my former neighbor yesterday to get the kids together since they had a half day. She has a little boy who is #3's age and a 2 year old. I can start an entire blog dedicated to what her 2-year old daughter does in a day. She is a wild child and the cutest little thing I've ever seen (next to my own children, of course). Her mom entertained me with stories of how she has her "lovies", 2 Purell hand sanitizers that go with her every where. Not a stuffed animal or blankie. A pink and blue container of "hanitizer", as she calls them. She sleeps with them and asks to take them everywhere she goes (her mom made her leave them in the car during our play date). She also confided they are not having any more kids because they are afraid Reagan would do something terrible. For instance, she ripped the legs off their hermit crab and rolled it down the stairs. I kissed and hugged my kids a thousand times after this and rejoiced for the Lord giving me the kids He knew I could handle!

3, Lastly, and then I must get going to help with Spring pictures at the middle school, I was elected co-president of next year's elementary PTO. Notice the "co-president". I was a little surprised that a lady I did not know was chosen. Okay, surprised and slightly disappointed/intimidated/freaked out. They have always had co-presidents, but I was hoping it was someone I knew and even more importantly, someone on fire for Jesus!! What has me worried is when I ask my Moms in Touch friends if they know her, they paste a cheesy smile on their faces and say "no, but I hear she is nice". Then, they tell me they'll be praying for me. Huh? I'm trying to not have the excitement drained right out of me!

Thus concludes my list of highlights for the last couple days. I could wow you and awe you with stories of balancing my checkbook and vacuuming, but I don't want to overdo it! Plus, I didn't do either of those things!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Some Random Reflections

I know most people have probably seen this video before (if you haven't, please stay with it until the end), but I watch it over and over again to remember how much He loves me. And, I came to the following conclusions this morning..........

To whom much has been forgiven there is much love.

I want to wash Him with my tears and pour out everything I have.

Today is a new start. Another beginning.

He would be disappointed if I didn't dream big this morning.

The things I spend 75% of my time thinking about mean NOTHING in light of eternity.

He trusts me. With my family. With my "things". With my community. I don't want Him to be disappointed and I don't want to take His trust for granted.

He'll open the doors that no man/woman can open. When He's ready.

Even when I don't understand, He's still a loving and perfect God. And, I choose to believe.

He'll never ask me to go through any valley or desert alone. He's also there to shout with me on the mountain tops!

Did any of these statements or video speak to you personally? Just curious......

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What a Way to Start the Season

I say this because last night was the first softball game of the season for #2 and #3 and they happen to play on the same team. When we arrived at the field and were waiting for them to start the game, there was a mom and dad sitting on the other side of the bleachers and the man sounded irritated and was using profane language. Loudly! I turned around to acknowledge I heard them and they quieted down. He had this cold, almost expressionless look on his face. And, right after the 1st inning this man marched over to one of our coaches yelling and carrying on while his wife tried to hold him back. I couldn’t believe it! These kids are 6-8 years old and we could not figure out what this guy’s problem was! About a half hour later one of the coaches yelled over to my friend sitting next to me to call the police because the man was now physically fighting with the guy that was sitting in front of him (who was that coach's husband!). The wife of this crazed man literally jumped on top of him yelling and cursing for him to knock it off. It took 3 guys and the wife to break up the fight. Meanwhile, here are all these kids at their first softball game with brothers and sisters in the stands. To be honest, I was really mad and completely disgusted. This guy had been banned at basketball games for the same reason and had gone off on a coach at practice because she had taken his daughter home from school, helped her with homework and fed her dinner before practice and they had been a few minutes late. He had stood on the baseball field cussing at her that he would never let his daughter come to her house again. I was trying to figure out why there wasn't some kind of restraining order already in place.

As he talked to the police, his wife came over and stood behind the bleachers talking to their teenage son. She was going on and on about how uncalled for his behavior was, again all the while throwing the “f” word around. I turned around and said to her what was uncalled for was the language they had been using during the entire game and I asked her to please stop. I then told her that I really felt for her in her situation, but please remember there are kids all around. She apologized half heartedly and then started to make small talk with me for the rest of the game. It was during that time that I went from irritated to feeling what it must be like in this woman's shoes. Everyone was worked up and she was trying to act normal, but it was almost ridiculous to be talking about the new Hershey Kisses that are coming out and how the weather was starting to get chilly! I told #1 that I wanted to pray for her and she looked at me like "Huh?". She was really freaked out about the whole thing and I think she was worried the lady would try to beat me up!! She said she didn't think it was a good idea to ask to pray for her. I then mentioned it to The Husband who had the same reaction at first, but then warmed to the idea after I told him no one has probably shown these people anything other than judgment and scorn.

In the meantime, there was a mom there from my Moms In Touch group who expressed her awe at me saying something to the lady about her bad language. I told her it wasn't a big deal and that I really wanted to pray for this lady and she said she'd come with me. It was so good to have someone else care about these people! So, I waited until the game was over. The lady seemed defensive at first, but then as I prayed she seemed to soften. She said she was going to divorce him and I prayed for her to use Godly wisdom and to trust in Jesus with all her heart. I prayed for peace, protection and comfort for the family. As I finished, my MIT friend came over and said she would be praying, too, and that we would pray for her at our mom's group. I really don't know what will happen, but I have tried to not be fearful and worry about what will happen next. And, I'm also praying for a miraculous healing in this family and that they will have an awesome testimony to share about the love of Christ that transformed their lives.

On a positive note, #2 scored the first run of the game and #3, who is the youngest on the team, hung in there. The snack bar was her motivation to last the entire 2 hours of very little action and not knowing exactly what she was doing. The coaches haven't worked much on fundamentals, but I think it will just take some time. The coaches kept yelling at her to "cover 2nd" and she had no idea what that meant! And, one time she tagged a runner, but she didn't have the ball!! That was kind of funny.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Wow! I Think I Could Sleep for 14 Hours!

I crashed today. I needed to just lay down in my bed this afternoon and just listen to the rain as I dozed. This weekend kicked off with a Couples Dinner at church that I helped with (you can see some pictures in the previous post). Most of Saturday was taken up by a surprise bridal shower for Susan that I and two other bridesmaids planned and successfully executed with help from Susan's family.

It was fun, but I was pretty exhausted and still had to go home and throw some food together for a youth staff potluck at church today. What I also didn't expect today was for God to get ahold of my heart and release me from the anxiety attacks I seem to struggle against every few days. I can't say that I've spent all day free from the thoughts bombarding me, but I can say that when the thoughts hit I gave them over to Jesus and rested in His perfect peace. Part of this was a revelation that there are just some people in life who are not going to like me. no. matter. what. And, the other part of it was not fretting and trying to constantly figure out our finances (and lack there of) and all the other things I try to take control of. These issues have left me irritable and discouraged and I really felt better after being prayed over. In fact, some prophetic words that I'd never heard before were spoken over me and I need to marinate in them a little longer. Something having to do with the balm of Gilead?? I think??? See...I need to study that one!

We rounded out the end of our weekend by having some girls from #1's science class come over and finish their water shed project that is due tomorrow. I fed them all dinner and ice cream (thank you, Lord, for the leftover lasagna from the Couple's Dinner!). Here they are with their finished project...they worked on it all by themselves (except for cutting the chicken wire...that was a little too dangerous for them):

They had fun and I, of course, really enjoyed having young people over at our house. I figure that #1 is going to grow up with these girls and I want our house to be a safe place for them to come and hang out.

Now, it is time to get on the ball and plan another shower (this time for a beautiful mommy expecting Baby #5) and apply for a grant to do a summer enrichment program at our elementary school. And, PTO elections are this week....will I be next year's president? That's still a scary thought!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I Want the World to Know I Burn for You

And, again, I find myself meditating on another Toby Mac lyric. I headed over to the gym after everyone was in bed tonight and this song may as well be my anthem right now (I can't get it out of my head):

So, why don't You move me like You used to?
I want the world to know I burn for You.

This song is an awesome reminder that I don't have to live my life the same way I did yesterday. He restores me, He lifts me up and I don't have to stay "stuck" in my ruts. My latest rut is insecurity and it is not from God. It differs from conviction in the sense of there being no basis for the consuming thoughts that hover at the back of my mind....Should I have said that? Should I have done something? Did I do enough? Am I overdoing it? It isn't until I realize what is happening and stop to pray that I take every thought captive to Christ and realize this irrational scrutiny is not from God. I know a correction when it comes from my loving Father. It is quick and it is specific. It isn't just this vague feeling of heaviness that I can't quite put my finger on .......

So, when I heard this song tonight and realized that it is my heart's cry, it really opened my eyes to the truth. The truth is the heaviness and the insecurity I feel is from the one who wants to hold me back from pursuing all my Father has for me. I'm praying dangerous prayers and quite honestly, I'm not much of a risk taker. I'm the first born, "play it safe" kind of person. But, playing it safe doesn't see people healed and set free and living sold out, on fire for our God, who is real. Not some Oprah-new-age little "g" god. By the way, we really need to pray for Oprah.

I guess if I need to have a point it is this: I want to walk through every new door God opens, without hesitation and without the baggage of insecurity to drag with me. I'm ready. I seriously want the world to know "I'd rather burn for Him than fade away". And, I hope it's contagious.

Celebrating #1's Birthday with 33 of Her Closest Friends

First, we played a little dodge ball and Duck, Duck, Goose (per their request):

Then they swam for an hour:

Then we had a chocolate extravaganza, complete with chocolate fountain (that didn't want to work) that the kids adored:

Then, I took leave of my senses and let them design a person from each of their groups with peanut butter and goldfish crackers:

All went well until the rowdy group of boys started putting peanut butter in each other's hair and throwing goldfish crackers around the room. One mom came to take her son out after the party and had to wash his hair in the bathroom sink. I apologized no less than 2,302 times.

When everything was over it looked like there had been a food fight in the room we were in. The Husband solemnly swept up a 6 pound pile of debris, but the kids had a blast! #1 said everyone was talking about how much fun they had the next day at school. And, the few moms I talked to said the peanut butter was the highlight of the party.

Note to self: NEVER use peanut butter as a facial decoration again!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Friends Are Just So Great!

I enjoyed a, maybe relaxing isn't the word....intensely, hilarious night playing my favorite card game EVER (NERTz) with some pretty awesome people last night. The Husband was on an overnight 4-wheeling trip with #1 and some friends. He absolutely can't stand playing this card game so I knew it was a good night to play until our eyeballs started burning. Or, our brains started exploding, whichever came first.

Yes, it was wild and chaotic and complete craziness!

What you can't tell from the pictures is that this game moves at the speed of light. There were cards flying all over the place. Literally.

#2 made it until about 1:15 am and then finally gave it up:

"Peter", whom I'm proud to say was my young padawan, basically beat the snot out of all of us. He made it extremely entertaining so we didn't mind losing to him!

The last of my wonderful guests left after
2:30 am.

As soon as I fell asleep at 2:45 am, I awoke to #3 throwing up in my bathroom at 3am.

Needless to say, I'm in sort of a semi-comatose state today. But, it was worth it!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Another Question

Could it be that the very thing that we avoid like the plague is the VERY thing God has created us to do?
For so long I avoided interacting with teenagers mostly because of my own insecurities. What could I possibly offer them? I was older and I never wanted to try and be one of those parents who think they are hip and cool, but whose kids are humiliated every time mom opens her mouth.

I avoided our youth building basically the first 9 years I attended our church. As far as I was concerned, it may as well have been on another planet. Forget that ever so quiet voice in the back of my mind prompting me to check it out. It wasn't until after I befriended some teens and young adults through a separate ministry that I ventured up to a youth service. Even then, I stood there convinced that no one wanted me there. What I didn't realize at the time was that my insecurity was just pride! I was out of my comfort zone and in a place where I felt truly unconnected.

Well, once #1 became an official member of the "youth" I ventured up more frequently....but, more as a parent than a burning desire to minister to anyone (again, I couldn't imagine why anyone so young and cool would want me to speak to them). I still remained on the fringes, on the back wall, hesitant to reach out for fear of rejection. My husband officially joined the youth staff, but I did not.

But, like an ice cube on a sidewalk in June my resolve to remain unattached and unaffected is melting away. The truth is I WAS moved, I did want to pour into these kids. At the same time I felt a strong connection building with the rest of the youth staff, their love for the kids left me in tears most nights. And, then BAM!...the Lord spoke in a still quiet way, that the reason I can't seem to resist is because He has placed this very desire inside me. Everything that was keeping me away from being used by Him in youth ministry was false and insignificant. It was a combination of me and the devil making excuse after excuse as to why I was not cut out for it. But, one day recently, I woke up with a love for this younger generation and a burden for them to be released in what God has called them to do and I realized (just as He always does) He overcame all the objections!! And, I'm not even sure I was aware of the process.

I am looking forward to this new freedom in my life and I plan to take very seriously the calling He has placed on my heart.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


What would my neighborhood, government, schools and businesses look like, if we as a community, allowed God to completely and utterly transform our lives to be more like Jesus?

I keep asking myself this question. Over and over again. What is my part in this? What is your part in this? Is it possible in my lifetime? What will it cost? My reputation? My comfort?

Each question leads to more questions! But, I know that God isn't mad about my questions. He isn't sitting in heaven rolling His eyes as I mull over these things trying to figure out where I fit into His marvelous plans. I believe it is VERY MUCH HIS WILL for ALL people to be walking in His purposes, His peace and His truth. I guess what I'm trying to say is....don't be afraid to ask God questions!

I believe this transformation has already begun, if only in the hearts of His people. Kris Vallotton said something in December that I just can't seem to shake off:

If the crime rate hasn't dropped and people are still getting abortions and divorces and people are still addicted to pornography then the church is not doing what it is supposed to do to TRANSFORM the community around them.

And, I don't think he is referring to just a few pastors or the church building in itself.

Aren't we "the church"? I pray we are open to receive His wisdom, compassion and strength to be a part of a mighty transformation that sets the captives free. Of course, people still can choose to remain in bondage, but I want to be able to say I prayed and at least tried to reach out to them.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

If I Wrote to Dear Abby, It Would look Something Like This

Dear Abby,

I have a problem. A family member spent some time with my kids this weekend when I was getting ready for our school talent show. I could tell something has been bugging my 8 year old daughter, she was acting all out of sorts the last few days. Finally, yesterday, while snuggling on the couch with me, she blurted out that this family member said she hated President Bush and it is all his fault that the gas prices are so high. #2 was obviously upset for two reasons. First of all, we honor and pray for our president and second of all, she has been taught we only hate sin and the devil, not people.

My dilemma is whether I address this with my family member or just let sleeping dogs lie. I talked to my daughter about how this was wrong for this family member to say this and it just isn't true. The president is not to blame for high gas prices, it is much more complicated than that and points more to the weakened US dollar and the housing market negatively impacting our economy. And, I sort of lost her on that part. I'm just wondering if I should say anything to my family member about it and tell her how I feel...not so much for my sake, but so she realizes that it upset my daughter.

Please leave me a comment.


Oh My Word

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

Our much anticipated Talent Show was spectacular....well, at least that is what I heard from the audience! I, of course, saw about 7 mistakes mostly due to the kids not being able to sing with the music because of our lack of monitors. But, only someone who has every word and note of music memorized, such as myself, noticed such a thing!

Below is a picture of me backstage with #3's kindergarten teacher who did stand up comedy with a second grader. She is a hoot and totally humored me by wearing the wig!

Below is #2 with her group. The boy pictured here bought me and each of the girls in his group a bouquet of flowers! He is such a sweetie!

Below is #3 and her group at curtain call. She's right in the middle. Adorable.

Here is the end of the show and the entire cast. They were all going crazy because we dropped confetti on them during their final bow. And, when I say "dropped" I should say showered because it was everywhere! I'm guessing there will still be remnants left behind even until #3 is in fourth grade!

I received a beautiful basket with these roses, chocolates and more than 20 handmade cards from the kids. I also received very nice emails from the parents and I think that this one stuck out the most....You did an awesome job, not just of organizing the show, but of building the kids confidence and making them feel great!

Mission accomplished.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

I Forgot to Say No "Tag Backs"

Classic Mama tagged me back from my meme and wants to know my favorite 7 movies. I'm not sure if this is really accurate because I'm tired and might accidentally forget one! They are in no order.

1. The Rookie - love this movie...if you ever feel like you are too old or too anything to go for your dreams, then this is your movie!

2. What A Girl Wants - I cry at the ending every time and the music is fun in this Chick Flick. Amanda needs to cover her belly and gain a few pounds, though.

3. Top Gun - classic Tom Cruise before he weirded out and did vampire movies. And, the song Take My Breath Away....yeah, I still like that song. I had the entire soundtrack memorized the summer before my junior year of high school.

4. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - Disney's version and NOT the low-budget BBC version. Fabulous soundtrack and effects. And, the part where Peter drives his sword through the ice gives me goosebumps every time. He transforms into a hero in that moment (despite what Susan screams at him) and there is so much symbolism in this movie I can just watch it over and over again.

5. The Sound of Music - I never get bored watching this movie...Julie Andrews is captivating.

6. Hitch - I'm not sure I've seen a Wil Smith movie I haven't liked, but this one is my favorite! The dancing at the end of the movie is like the icing on the cake.

7. Shrek - it's just so funny for kids and grown ups! I was so anti-Shrek when the movie first came out, and oh my word, the humor can be gross, but you can watch each movie three times and realize you missed something subtle, yet hysterical, the first 2 times you saw it! I like the gingerbread man.

Honorable mentions - Steel Magnolias, Rain Man, Star Wars, and both Toy Story movies.

There's the top seven criteria was based on if I still would sit down and watch these movies today. And, again next week. And, again after that! Yes, I definitely would!

Anyone else can consider themselves tagged!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Tonight's the Night

No, not the Rod Stewart song (although, now it is running through my head...."tonight's the night, I'll do anything that you want me to....". I'll stop there).

Tonight is the Talent Show I've been rambling on about at our elementary school and I am excited! There is so much to pull together today, but I feel the grace of God for all of it! I've had the opportunity to share with some of them that I cover just about everything I do in prayer. Moms are coming over today to help prepare food in my kitchen, where on my big dry erase board, in children's handwriting it says:

You will fulfill Your purpose in me. Your love, oh Lord, endures forever. The Lord will fill you with joy and you will rejoice.

I don't know if that is an actual scripture or something that #2 came up with (the resident pastor-in-training at our house) but I love it! It encourages me when I look at it and I hope it encourages people who come over to our house, too!

So, yes, I'm a little nervous. But, it is a whole lot easier being behind the scenes then getting out on stage. When I was in Pollyanna at our church production I don't think I ate for about 3 days before opening night! Which actually was a good thing because one of my costumes was an old JUNIORS size dress. Juniors! To think I actually fit into it......after a few alterations.......

I can't wait to post the talent show details with some pictures!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

More Memming

Mama2dibs tagged me for a meme (again, the crazy "meme" word!). So, if you already know me...bear with me. And if you don' are a few random facts about me.

Here are the rules of the game;
1) Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog
2) Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3) Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4) Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. My most embarrassing story ever includes a stray hair and my OB/GYN. That's all I'm tellin'

2. I actually like Hannah Montana / Miley Cyrus music. I liked the 3-D concert movie as much as my girls did.

3. I was a bartender at my part-time job when my husband met me and invited me to his church. And, I was a good bartender. I think that's why I like making coffee drinks and Italian Cream's as close to mixing a drink as I'll ever get nowadays.

4. I have a thousand nicknames for The Husband and my girls. Some of those include Sugar, Pooky, Sweetums, Honey, Beautiful, Mon Petite Poo Chu-Chu, Love, Ducky, Sunshine, Peanut, Pumpkin, Baby, Boo, Darlin', Gorgeous, Sweet Girl, Daughter, Peep, and Chickee.

5. I nearly cut off my right index finger on a ban saw in 7th grade shop class. I needed 3 stitches. Coincidentally, #1 starts "tech ed" tomorrow, which is just another name for shop class. I'll be calling my doctor to request some anti-anxiety medication for the next marking period. Just kidding! I will be praying and trying hard not to flashback!

6. My favorite book of the Bible is Acts. I love it, everything about the early church just spurs me on! When I received Jesus as my Savior, a lady came up to me at the alter and asked if I would help teach with her in children's church. The very first Bible story I studied (and, I remember it like yesterday) was Saul's conversion. Powerful stuff.

7. I do not like to fly. I am white knuckled pretty much the entire time which is why I haven't hopped on any planes for missions trips to Asia. Or, Texas. I'll pretty much do the 2-hour direct Florida route every 3-5 years and that's about it. The first time I was ever on a plane was when I worked for a resort in the Bahamas and I had to fly on a 20-minute flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Freeport. That was the first of over 100 trips and there are a few flight stories I could curl your hair with, like when the door seal popped open while we were in the air and the masks dropped. I just happened to be in the seat closest to the door. Yeah. I really hate to fly.

Okay...I guess I'll pretty much tag 7 people and see what happens!

1. On Fire
2. Livin' Life
3. Classic Mama and Not So Classic
4. Beautiful Grace
5. Like I Was Saying
6. The Gang's All Here
7. Anyone else who wants to do this, consider yourself tagged!

What If.....

This thought hit me out of no where this morning...

What if there was a limit to God's grace, mercy and forgiveness?

Whoa. Imagine if God said "Three strikes and you're out". I realized I'd take sin a whole lot more seriously. Really. If I thought there was a limit that would keep me out of Heaven, my day would look a little different. After that confession, remorse wrapped tight around my heart and almost took my breath away as I realized that, if that is in fact true, I have subconsciously taken advantage of His endless grace. How that must grieve the heart of God! I can't say I deliberately sin knowing that God forgives me. I just haven't been as careful and Christ-focused as I could have, should have, would have been if I thought there was a limit to His mercy. Does that make sense?

That revelation has laid heavy on my heart this morning. In fact, I was already to post funny pictures from the night we celebrated #1's birthday. But, I just couldn't. It seemed like such fluff compared to my heart's cry. How can I have walked with the Lord for 14 years and not realized such a simple thing? It's like my eyes have been opened to the fact that I have focused on things that don't matter and missed so many opportunities to do the right thing. I am grateful for His forgiveness and always have been. But, I know I would live my life different, I know it, if I thought that I was coming to the end of my "grace period". And, yes, I would be obeying out of fear if this were the scenario. That doesn't make me feel any better.

I feel smaller and maybe that is how God intended it to be right now. Going into a Talent Show that has people singing my praises, God knows what I need to hear to keep me grounded in Him. I am completely okay with the humility process, it is so much better because He gives GRACE to the humble and resists the proud. But, seriously, this revelation has rocked my world. I want to be at a place where I can admit that my life would look no different if there was a limit on His grace and forgiveness. I will not take what He did for me on the cross for granted. I'm so sorry, Lord....

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Don't Be Nervous, They are Just the MOST IMPORTANT Tests You'll Take ALL YEAR!!!

I'm praying that my two older girls won't need some sort of therapy by the time the week is up.

We're talking PSSA's, folks.

The teachers began talking about them in September and for the last few weeks they have been reviewing for them. They really haven't been learning anything new. Just reviewing for the test that can make or break a school district. This is my interpretation of what the teachers have been telling the kids....

Make sure you go to bed early, eat a good breakfast and for the LOVE OF PSSAs, DON'T WORRY! Don't be NERVOUS, but please for the sake of my job security, do the best that you can. In fact, please do better than your best, but for heaven's sake, do not worry, there is nothing to worry about.......

They have come home everyday for the last 2 weeks chanting that "We should not be nervous, but I hope I do well. What if I don't do well? I'm not worried. What are we going to eat for breakfast? Why does it take so long to see our test scores? I'm scared. Even the teachers look scared".

I worry that all the schools are producing are anxious kids who are good test takers (they've been working on Study Island all year, as most of you are familiar with). Yet, there has got to be checks and balances in the school districts. I've learned not to utter the words No Child Left Behind in the presence of anyone who works in a school district. They start to shake and their eyes get all squinty and before long they are off looking for a bottle of Excedrin, mumbling incoherently under their breath.

I'm anxious to see some sort of improvements made to this program to decrease the anxiety level. Maybe surprise testing? One day, a group will show up at a particular school and say, "Ok, let's see what you know!". Seriously, it will be interesting to see if this problem gets better (or worse) with our next president.