Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Good Read

I started a most excellent book (well, it is so far) called The Deborah Company. It is like the author has captured my thoughts, concerns and meditations and put them into an easy to read format with examples of Godly women. I'm reading it with a highlighter and I've re-read the highlights twice already before I can even move on past page 43.

It was always God's heart to set women free to fulfill their highest potential in Christ. However, it was not His desire that this occur through rebellion or the breakdown of the family unit.

The author, Jane Hamon, also writes:

I wanted to be a mother and a wife, but I also wanted to fulfill the call God placed on my life.

I can relate to her, can you? Like Deborah, we are called to be warriors and worshipers. And, hey that sounds good, right? But, then life comes flying at us and I don't feel very warrior-like being Mama Taxi Cab or trying to figure out what item to make for dinner that everyone will eat! There were other words I highlighted throughout the first chapter in various sections, like humility, persistence, hear and encourage. Upon re-reading these highlights I felt as if the Holy Spirit had me mark those words because He wants to work on those specific areas of my life. I think those are the four qualities I lose first when I'm not seeking after Him like I should be.

I hesitate to question this balance of ministry and family because everyone says (and, I do believe) that our family is our first ministry. HOWEVER, one day my children will not need me the way they do now and I do not want to take a 25-year break from persuing God and the plans He has for me. I sometimes wondered if the desire to do ministry work outside of parenting was a form of being discontent. Now, I recognize that the restlessness is merely the desire inside me to move to the next level, to go deeper into the things He has called me to. If Deborah could be a Godly wife (and mother?), but yet seek after and HEAR the voice of God while being a leader in the land....well, I think God may be trying to tell us ladies something. It can be done without striving and burning ourselves out. And, we can do it without putting our families on the back burners.

I don't want to miss a thing by discrediting myself and forgetting that He has a destiny and a purpose for me besides Soccer Mom. Plus, I have an example to set for the three little Deborahs I have the joy of mothering!

Saturday, June 28, 2008


It's Saturday morning and there are no softball games, no soccer games, no commitments. I slept until 8:30 and made blueberry pancakes. Then, the girls and I grabbed our bags and we headed over to the neighbor's house to pick raspberries. We got a bag full and I made a cherry pie (also from the neighbor's trees) and a blueberry/raspberry crisp. We'll be heading out to my Dad's house an hour away to celebrate his birthday later today. He and his fiance are so laid back, it is always relaxing to visit them.

Now, I need to motivate myself to get back into the routine of going to the gym starting Monday! Other than that, I plan on having very little commitments clogging up our precious summer time. After our talk the other night and my realization, life has been much more peaceful around our house! This is going to be a summer we'll always remember......

Friday, June 27, 2008

Freedom Friday - Good Citizen

Natalie over at P4M has a great post today on teaching our kids about being good citizens. I thought right away of #1 who has spent the first 3 weeks of her summer vacation volunteering. As my oldest daughter, she was roped into assisting 3 of the 4 summer enrichment camps at our elementary school. During the 4th camp, she is at home babysitting her sisters for me so I can still be over at school. She also volunteered at our church VBS and I was really proud of her. Her friends were working in the preschool room and I could tell she felt a little left out because she was an assistant group leader with an adult. She also would have really liked to be in the drama. Instead of complaining, she cheerfully did a wonderful job and didn't whine about not being with her friends. In fact, she really connected with some of the kids in her group and I believe she has a teaching gift.

I was so busy running around coordinating everything that it took me the first week and a half to realize what a servant daughter she was being! This was a good chunk of her summer break and she gave her time and her efforts and expected nothing in return. I am really proud of her and the example she is setting for her younger sisters.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wake Up Call

Yesterday was a very productive day around our house. In a physical, cleaning sense. In a spiritual sense, we were way off base. As I spent the day listening to my kids interacting with one another and me, I just felt angry and discouraged. By the end of the day, after scrap booking, going to the pool and a good "summer" cleaning of the house I realized we were missing prayer (except for the few token ones spoken throughout the day) and the power of the Holy Spirit to help us overcome the anger that continued to rear its ugly head. I realized my kids hearts are still soft and they desire to do the right thing; however, we were not moving forward in this area since they have been home from school for the summer.

When I want to get their attention and I don't have time, I yell. But, when I do have the time and I listen to the Holy Spirit I handle it His way. And, we all know His way is so much better! So, as I began to rant at bedtime last night I felt the Holy Spirit convict me that we have not had regular family time in His Word and they need it more then ever. We have been blessed with a summer home together to strengthen one another for the spiritual warfare they will undoubtedly go through when school starts again, along with all the other various activities. So, we sat on the hard floor (because our cushions were wet from steam cleaning) and because of that I started out by telling them sometimes they will be uncomfortable and it is okay. Part of what helps us to develop self-control is being uncomfortable and having a good attitude about it. I then shared my concerns for how the summer has been going and they all agreed they want it to be better. So, we confessed our sins and each one of us prayed (I must tell you because The Husband gets up at 3:10 am for work he was in bed already and we need to adjust this time together to accomodate him in the future). Their sweet prayers for healing my grandmother and our neighbor in her wheelchair made me cry. There is a compassion in them and I need to do my part to see it cultivated. I started to get caught up in the entertainment and chores aspect of summer and neglected this important time of training them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. I settled for status quo and I am so glad the summer isn't over and I have a chance now to do what is right.

So, if you would happen to drive by and see us dancing and singing, we'll be praising the Lord BEFORE we start rocking out with the Disney Channel. No more leftovers for Him. He is going to get our best and our first.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some More (Not) Really Deep Random Thoughts

I've been bitten by the scrap booking bug this week during our elementary enrichment camp. Apparently so have all three of my children because they are really enjoying themselves. Today was "PJ" day as we scrapped about friends and I made them all chocolate chip pancakes so it really felt like a sleep over!

Completely unrelated other than the daughters of a vet being in the scrap booking camp, The Dog has some funky funk in her ears. It is like little scabs on the fur inside and her ears smell bad. I thought it could be ticks, but when I ripped the scabs (I think) off, they were not bugs. She also keeps trying to scratch her snoot. Any diagnosis? Or, have I completely grossed you out? Yes, I will take her to the vet next week after all the school stuff is over and my real summer vacation begins. Unless, she starts bleeding from her ears or snoot or passes out...then, I'll take her sooner.

And, again, completely unrelated is that The Husband is now at a "callback" for our church production. A joke was made by the director that there is an Oh My Word family member in a production each year! Only #2 and #3 need to have a turn now. I must admit when I saw there was only one female role available for someone in her late 20's I was largely disappointed. For #1 mostly and then for me. We both enjoy theater a lot. I, unlike #1, do enjoy helping backstage as much as acting on stage. Her? Not so much. But, as I explained to her, God has perfect timing and He knows what she should (and should not be) doing. She was especially disappointed to discover that for the second year in a row they upped the age limit for the Youth Drama Team. They used to allow 6th graders until #1 was in 6th. Then they pushed it to 7th graders and now that she is a 7th grader they pushed the criteria to 8th grade! I think she is starting to get a complex! Her tearful request to me this weekend was to please try to find a play for her to be in! Not a $180 a week drama actual production. So far, I'm coming up with nothing. Hopefully, if YFC does a fall play it won't interfere drastically with soccer like it has in the past. Again, I'm praying for her to be patient and content in this season, either way. She still continues to be a drama queen at home so she should be fresh for her next audition!! Just kidding, #1....I knew you'd read that!

I am starting to casually give some thought as to whether I will be gainfully employed once school starts. I've toyed with finishing my bachelor's degree (I only have an Associates in Business), but that would cost money, rather then make any and the only reason I would go back was so I could get my teaching certification. And, again, I'm not sure I want to teach anyone other then my own children! I would really like to be a health inspector, so I may look into that avenue. And, yes, I'm totally serious. I think The Husband is afraid for my life though because I would imagine when you threaten to shut a place down it could get some business owners upset. Needless to say, he doesn't encourage that career path for me. Which leaves me perhaps trying to get a job as a recess or lunch aid at school and now that I've actually typed that I'm The perk there would be having off when the kids are off. And, seriously, that would be the ONLY perk, don't you think? I think it would be hard to say good-bye to #3 when she has to go back to class each day because she (and, I, secretly) has begun to dread the thought of all day away from home in BIG GIRL first grade. I have decided to develop a will power of steel and pray for the peace of Christ because I home schooled both of her sisters for first grade for the very reason of not wanting them to be away five full days at the tender age of (sniff) 6-7.

Okay, change the about those Yankees? Just kidding! I really don't care!

Back to home schooling...if I thought that #3 would benefit from it I would do it in a heartbeat. I know deep down inside, with her learning style and personality she needs to spend first grade in a traditional classroom. Of course, I'm hoping and praying and begging the Lord for her to not have a certain teacher who is the polar opposite of her sweet, funny and wonderful (love her) kindergarten teacher. Because, if that happens, I may just have to re-visit that whole home schooling thing. Or, trust that God knows what and who is best for her.

So, because I'm interested to see if anyone actually read this looooooong post to the end, what should I be when I grow up? I'm looking for some input as to where I should seek employment in the fall....that means even you lurkers that never leave comments! Shall I pursue my talk show dreams? Mayor? Ministry? Finish my degree and stock shelves on the midnight shift at Wal-mart to pay for it? Write a book? Groom alpacas? Please HELP ME!!!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Another Fabulous Weekend

We've just had a house full of girls this weekend! A little trampoline action.....

In honor of Camp Rock, we made some s'mores.....

The "music was in our souls" so we just had to do some dancing during Camp Rock! Even The Husband joined in on air guitar......

#1 missed all the action because she was at our church Jr. High Lock In. After picking her up the next morning The Husband and I went to a wonderful wedding with some of our old neighbors who we haven't seen in about 6 years. Our one neighbor's daughter got married and we got to reconnect with some old friends from the 'hood. We got to see two other families besides the family hosting the wedding and it was so fun to reminisce. It felt almost comforting to see them...they were the kind of neighbors that we would throw food on the grill and tell them to come over with their meat and join us or if they heard us out on our trampoline they would come over and jump, too! The trio below are brother and sisters and we knew them when they were all of our kids many happy memories. One Christmas morning when #1 was about 3 and a half, they put Santa hats on and brought her a play kitchen that they had outgrown and the whole family stayed for breakfast. It dawned on me that we never had neighbors like that before or since then. I learned how to can tomatoes in their kitchens and we attended the back yard funeral of their cat. The men worked on various "fix-up" projects and we spent many summer nights outside with watermelon and fire flies. We were the "youngins" of the bunch and we really watched out for one another. I didn't realize how much I missed them until my eyes filled with tears when I saw them across the church. So, congratulations "Yoda" (as #1 had called the bride, Laura, when she was a toddler)....we love you!

The picture below is of the little sister of the bride (age 20) who was #3's age when we met her! She was just so happy for her big sister she cried throughout the entire wedding and reception. In fact, their big brother cried, too....they were all basket cases! It was very touching to see the genuine love they shared and that's how close they were growing up, too.

So, after a busy day with a youth staff meeting and a search for a "real" horse shoe game set, here we are again with a new set of little girl friends sleeping over even though we start Round #2 of summer enrichment camp at school at 8:30 am tomorrow morning! I really enjoy having a house full of kids! Summer is so great!

Friday, June 20, 2008

I'm Getting in Touch with My Inner Teenie-Bopper

Do you even know what tonight is??

We are having a girlie-girl sleepover complete with pizza, popcorn, s'mores and rice crispie treats because .....are you sitting down? It is the world premier of the latest phenomenon to drain the wallets of parents who have girls between the ages of 6 and 13.....

Disney Channel's Camp Rock featuring the strangely popular Jonas Brothers and some chick who is going to be famous as of 10:00 pm tonight because she starred in a Disney movie with the Jonas Brothers.

#2 and #3 have their Camp Rock pajamas waiting on their beds. Yes, their mother isn't working this summer, but somehow squeaked out $14.99 a piece for PJ's worthy of the WORLD PREMIER! Can we all agree I am the poster child for the Disney Teenie-Bopper Marketing Department??

But, one day we will all laugh about this night because my daughters, too, will see the Jonas Brothers as dorky (no offense, boys, you obviously don't pick out your own clothes, I'm pretty sure that no teenage boy would pick out the clothes/scarves/pirate accessories you wear.). Thankfully, my kids don't have crushes on them....although, I wonder about #3 who said she wishes Zac Efron was her brother so she could hug and kiss him. I gotta watch that #3. LOL!

I Knew I'd Make a Good Talk Show Host!

I also knew I didn't have an accent!! I don't do these quizzes very often, but I've often wondered if my PA Dutch upbringing gave me any funny accent in addition to bizarre phrases that make out-of-town people raise their eyebrows at me when I say them. My poor husband used to get so confused when I'd say things like "Well, I'll just do this awhile". He'd be like, "Awhile what? Finish the sentence!". I honestly had no idea what he was talking about! It always made perfect sense to me (and, some of you are probably thinking the same thing!). He had no idea what it meant to rootsh around in your seat, either!

Well, anyway, this quiz was fun. Thanks Hands Free Heart!

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West


North Central

The Inland North


The Northeast

The South

What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I'm Growing Things We Can Actually Eat!

We finally have a garden this year which I am really excited about! I love the idea of buying seed packets for like $1 and saving probably hundreds of dollars by the time we finish out the summer with our own fruits, veggies and herbs. It's like "CVSing" only not really.

Tonight we had fresh romaine lettuce and some kind of odd hot pepper, both from the garden. I decided that store bought salad dressing was not worthy of my fresh lettuce, so in true "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" (insert Melissa for "Mouse" and "Home Grown Lettuce" for "Cookie") fashion I made some delicious balsamic vinaigrette with fresh basil and oregano from my herb garden. It led to a variety of other "special" things for dinner like bread on the grill with olive oil and spices and I found a bag of shrimp in the freezer for this worthy occasion. I even took a picture of the lettuce, but I'm not actually going to post it because it is just lettuce (although, it looks quite amazing in my Pampered Chef Salad Spinner). I was just a little caught up in it all.....

After The Husband commented my vinaigrette looked like diarrhea (I just LOVE him) we sat down to a feast worthy of Little House on the Prairie except that I didn't actually kill and de-feather the chicken we grilled, nor did I grow the Smiley Fries. But, it definitely made me proud to eat food I grew in my own backyard! The conversation was quite entertaining as well since somehow we began discussing shrimp organs to which #1 has decided to never eat another shrimp again. At the mention of shrimp testicles my grandmother burst out laughing. I'm fairly certain that is the only time she ever heard that particular body part mentioned at the dinner table. And, in case you were wondering......

.....the Diarrhea Vinaigrette was fabulous!!

Tomorrow....broccoli. Perhaps I will decide it is too worthy of being merely steamed in the microwave and I'll have to find some kind of special broccoli soufflé recipe for it. I'll try not to dedicate an entire post to it. You can thank me later.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Week One of Summer Vacation

It was a whirlwind week here, coming off of a whirlwind weekend, coming off of a whirlwind month (are you seeing the pattern?). I realized last night I never mailed the Father's Day cards I bought 2 weeks ago. But, I believe our last week was well spent.

Back in April I applied to our school foundation for a grant to develop a summer enrichment program. It was approved and after much planning and recruiting we just finished 2 of the 4 camps, Olympic Sports and Art Around the World. Things wouldn't have been quite so chaotic except that I actually taught the art camp and purchased all the supplies. Overall things went well, but with any pilot program you see the opportunity to make improvements. One of those would be to make it 4 days instead of 5. Yesterday everyone was wild and we were running out of things to do! The other change I would make is to give the volunteers more than a $15 thank you gift card. These people worked their tails off getting their camps ready and actually running them. Trust me, I found this out with the art camp! Next year, I need to plan on giving them at least $50. If there is a next is sucking up our precious summer vacation! We were at school everyday this week from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm and then running errands to purchase supplies and snacks in between. I realized that was what a full-time job feels like only I didn't actually make any money! What I did see though was well worth the effort. The kids had a blast and they learned a lot. They really are like little sponges.

This coming week we are helping at our church VBS and of course, I'm already stressing out about the gas we will use to drive an hour round trip each day. I almost called the coordinator to say we couldn't come when I opened up our credit cards bills this month. Ugh. I have to keep reminding myself that God has it all under control and that being home with the girls this summer is more important then money. I'll never get to spend the summer with them again when they are 12, 8, and 6.

Here are some pics from our summer camps at school. We actually made a recipe (Sweet Sushi) from Family Fun magazine and submitted a letter and pictures for inclusion in a future issue.

This was the "gold medal" that #2 won on the first day:

After the torch lighting ceremony there was a parade of the countries in the Olympics:

We made our own pinatas in art and I almost wondered if I was out of mind for trying this. But, the kids really liked it:

One day in art we discussed France and Marie Antoinette so #1 decided they should put their hair up:
The week after VBS we start Camp-Scrap-a-Lotta and Science Camp - Survivor Edition. Thankfully, I'm not planning any of those! I just show up to make sure the leaders have everything they need and I'll do some occasional crowd control! And, I have to submit receipts and a final analysis to the school district. That should give me something to do that week!

In July, our "real" summer vacation starts!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

She Got Her Happily Ever After.....

My family and I had the awesome privilege of being in my sweet friend, "Susan's" wedding last weekend. I have been praying for several years for her to meet the man that God had for her and this wonderful day to come! Her husband (that sounds so strange!) is a great guy who adores her.

Let's begin with our bachelorette party at the best Moroccan restaurant I've ever been to (okay....technically it was the ONLY Moroccan restaurant I have ever been to). It is called La Kasbah and you should check it out here. You must order the tea and the couscous salad. OH MY WORD! Fabulous. Everything else was great, too. And, the ambiance is pretty cool, too. They actually sell items from Morocco. Here we are:

The next night we had the rehearsal followed by an authentic Indian dinner (again, my taste buds were loving life). Susan is marrying into an Indian heritage that loves the Lord! She wore the "traditional" Indian thinger-ma-bobber that her future in-laws bought for her in India. You can't really see much of it since her giant "bouquet" is covering it!

And, then after The Husband and others practiced long into the night as the worship team for the ceremony, we came back the next day for the wedding. I was a bridesmaid, #3 was the flower girl, #2 handed out programs, #1 sang a song, and The Husband played drums. They really honored each one of us and we were so glad to each have a part in their special day.

Please ignore the hugeness of my arm in this picture. It's just my really giant muscles bulging. Or, not.

#3 wore her shoes and tights for about....hmmmm....let's see.....until the wedding started. So, Susan let her walk down the aisle barefoot. #3's dress was destroyed by the end of the reception. The hem was hanging off of it and chocolate from the fountain was dripped all throughout it. I wouldn't be surprised if she drank out of it like a water fountain. There was also some soda spilled on it, too (before the wedding even started).

#1 sounded great especially since she only heard the song she was singing without the words for the first time at the rehearsal! #2 did great handing out programs, she is hardly in any of the pictures because she was behind the camera most of the day taking these pictures.

Did I mentioned they got married on the day it was about 147 degrees outside? The air conditioning in the church just couldn't keep up and the entire bridal party nearly passed out under the hot stage lights (after we came back from shooting pictures outside at someone's beautiful house). Another bridesmaid and I figured if the flower girl could be barefoot, then so could we! We kicked off our shoes during worship and only when I walked up the stairs to the stage did I realize that it was very obvious that we had no shoes on!

If "Peter" was a girl I know I'd be a bridesmaid in his wedding, too!

And, the best part was that I met this really hott drummer at the wedding! :-)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Are You Still With Me?

I must admit, the few posts I've managed to squeak out lately haven't been very profound or amusing. But, since I use this blog as a virtual journal/scrapbook of sorts for future generations to know how completely whacked their great, great-grandmammy was, I must ask for your patience as I chronicle some of life's moments in the oH mY wORD family.

We made it to the last day of school despite all the crazy PTO/school principle trauma that is just way too detailed to get into. Let's just say that the last day of school couldn't come fast enough. And, I'm praying. Praying that by the time August rolls around we can unite for the common good!

Below are #2 and #3 with their teachers from this last year. These women were answers to prayer and I am so glad we went "public"! #2 even received a special Citizenship Award (I'd post pictures, but I'm too tired to go into Photo Shop to remove all traces of our school's name on the podium). One student from each class is chosen and I was so happy when I found out it was #2! She has such a servant's heart and a good attitude (unless she is tired and then you better look out....she gets that from her dad....LOL). In fact, today was our first day of our summer enrichment program at school and during the Olympic Sports Camp she fell while running the dash. She got up and kept on running, which earned her a gold medal for the day! A teacher and a parent in charge of the group used her as an example of falling and getting back up again in life with a good attitude. She had shown good sportsmanship and cheered for everyone all morning, whether they were on her team or not. Ok...I'm done bragging. There is no shame in it, because I'll bet when I manage to get a few things right God is bragging about me to the angels!

Is it just me or is there a slight resemblance between student and teacher? You know how they say people start to look like their dogs after awhile? Could the same be true with teachers??

Overall, it was a very good year. My kids weren't the only ones who learned a lot. I learned that people are hungry for a real relationship with a real God. I'm praying for increased courage and wisdom so I can help them go after it.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Congratulations Class of 2020!

I can hardly believe I am the mom of official 7th, 3rd, and 1st graders! I realized I will turn 50 the year my youngest graduates. Wow. I'd say that sounds a long way off, but I used to think 40 was a long way off and now it's less then 2 years away. But, nothing as earth shattering as having a possible "empty nest" will happen when I turn 40. Thank you, Lord. Here is my wonderful #3 at her graduation:

That evening we celebrated in style at the Grand (overpriced) Buffet.

I am one proud mama!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

As Soon As God Decides to Give Me 25 Hours in a Day.....

....I'll be posting all about....

  • #3's kindergarten graduation
  • Narnia's Prince Caspian and how it spoke such volumes to me about my relationship with my loving Father
  • the best Moroccan Restaurant EVER
  • Susan's beautiful wedding
  • how absolutely delightful the water felt at the pool today with my family (did I mention once or 87 times how much I ADORE summer??!)
But, tomorrow I begin overseeing 2 of the 4 PTO Summer Enrichment Camps we received a nice little grant for. And, I'm actually teaching one of them (Art From Around the World). Which means I won't be having much time to catch up on my blogging. Until like July. Well, I hope it's sooner than that because I miss the blogosphere like crazy!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I Have a Dream

In the midst of the PTO/mean office lady/offended principle turmoil I am experiencing as the new co-president of our PTO, I have reached a conclusion. I want to be used to help bring peace to a handful of people who have allowed the enemy to steal it from them. And, to do that requires a bit of sacrifice, a lot of diplomacy with a fair amount of "suck it up, Melissa" thrown in for good measure. And, prayer. Lots of prayer!

And, one day when it is all over (because it WILL be all over), I want people to be able to say that I was a "class act". For them to see the joy, patience, self control, and forgiveness that only the Holy Spirit can give me. And, for them to want all that, too.

To God be the glory. How in the world He trusts me with some of this stuff (even my own children!) is beyond my comprehension. I don't want to let Him down. But, I know I can't do it alone. One of the many wonderful things about God is the way He gives us everything we need for whatever it is He calls us to do. I just need to remember that on a daily basis!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Ocean Isle Beach - Part 2

My SIL hired a professional photographer to come to the beach house and take pictures, so the whole family piled on the white shirts and dark jeans. The professional pics won't be available to see for another week or so, but we took these with our camera:

These are all the kids and they couldn't wait to do a "silly" picture:

That is our lovely house behind us:

By this point #3 was bored and starving and decided she was done being cute:

And, here is some time we spent on the beach. #2 and #3 had never gotten anything more than their ankles wet in the ocean before this trip. We finally got them out waist high and #2 actually did a little boogie boarding (although, that isn't her in the picture with #1 below), until we were swimming amidst. sting. rays. I needn't tell you that my youngest children have decided they will never go into the ocean. ever. again.

The Husband captured this beautiful sunrise: