Sunday, October 31, 2010

Our Friends and Fun

Some of our friends on the hay.
The hay maze became a place of rest!

We had so much fun in this corn. I am still finding corn everywhere!
Me and one my very good friends.

Our friends.

Two of our friends. Aren't they adorable?

Two of the boys. They were so excited about their pumpkin seeds.

Two more of our friends.

Last weekend we went to the pumpkin patch with some of the homeschoolers from our church. We had so much fun with our friends, the Hensleys and the Hobbs. We first went to the pumpkin patch and gathered our pumpkins. All the older kids got the little pumpkins and all the little kids got the big pumpkins( we later found out that the small pumpkins were pie pumpkins and were bought from another farm). Following this we "tried" to get into the corn maze, but there was no maze, barely any corn, and snakes. We were glad that we were stopped before we tried to go in. We then went to the "Indian village" which was a few tepees and some fake arrowheads. Almost everybody besides us, the Hobbs, and the Hensleys left after that. It was extremely hot outside at this point and we were dying! Next we decided to get some "food" or so the people there called it. My sisters hot dog was PINK and it bled onto her bun and my barbecue sandwich had about a tablespoon of meat and three pickles. Talk about YUCK! We were grateful, though, for the snacks that my dad(thank you sooooo much!) brought. We then got frozen lemonade which saved us from dying from the heat. We then decided to jump on top of the hay maze instead of going inside of it. It was the best part of the entire trip. The Hobbs were very patient with us and I love them immensely! I cannot wait until we go next year!


Monday, October 25, 2010

The Braces are off!

JT and Kaitlyn - they are quite the pair together!
That is pure happiness right there!
Kaitlyn and Dr. Stephanie....what a blessing!

Kaitlyn's braces are off! Here are a few photos! We highly recommend our orthodontist too if you ever need one! Her name is Stephanie Whitehead and her website is She has truly blessed our lives with her care for our children and her commitment to the Lord!

The Last 2 1/2 Years in Braces...

We absolutely LOVE our orthodontist, Dr. Stephanie Whitehead in Riverchase. What a blessing she has been to our family. She has been part of our lives for the past 4 years. We started with both of the girls going once a year. Then, Madison had to get an appliance to correct her overbite. Then, two and a half years ago, Kaitlyn got her much-anticipated braces put on. She looked forward to that day for months...the newness wore off quickly!

But, now her teeth are aligned, straight and beautiful. As I look at her today, I realize how much she has grown over the past few years. She was 6 inches shorter (only 5 feet tall then) and looked like a little girl. Now, she stands eye to eye with me and looks like a teenager. Today is the day her braces come off....

I'm a little sad in that she is now on the road to being a young lady. At the same time I am so proud of the woman she has become. She is learning to encourage others, speak the truth and pursuing God with all of her heart. I am blessed to be her mom.

Today I'll post a few pictures of her from the past few years before I have to see her without braces for the first time....ah, nostalgia.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Forgiveness is a sweet blessing...

After God laid the previous blog on my heart, I started asking Him to reveal hidden sin in my life. Sins that I had committed long ago but never confessed or asked forgiveness for. I was hoping for something from last week, maybe last month, and even last year. Keep in mind that I'm 40, and well, the memory is not as sharp as it used to be!

So God instantly takes me back to a moment in 8th grade. Seriously. My mind was overwhelmed by the details that emerged. I could still smell the smells of the gym and hear the sounds of the volleyball game. I could remember the noises and the feelings I was having. I recall a boy from my class, Greg, saying something to me that infuriated me. What he said I don't remember, and it doesn't matter in the least.

What did I do? I instantly made up some story about my uncle (I have NO clue where that fits into the equation...only that it was a huge lie). I relayed the story to Greg (and I'm sure added plenty of details to support the lie...which would have been more lies) and then proceeded to call him a name. I shall not repeat what I said, but I was shocked when I heard myself say it in my memory. I was ashamed, embarrassed and found guilty. I sat there with my memory and thanked God for bringing it back to me. That had been at least 28 years ago. But I remembered most of it like it was yesterday.

Now, what do I do with that God? God told me to ask for forgiveness. It wasn't as hard as you might think to reconnect with Greg as we are friends on Facebook. So, I took a deep breath and sent him a detailed message. I didn't know if he would even remember or care...but that was not the purpose. I laid out the event, what I did and took ownership of my sin. What I did had nothing to do with anyone else but me. My flesh sinned...I sinned...I was guilty. I owned what I did and took full responsibility. I confessed and asked for his forgiveness. I waited...

I didn't have to wait long as I saw a message from Greg in my inbox. He DID remember the event, and he forgave me freely. We both rejoiced in God's goodness and forgiveness of us as sinners. Relief...sweet forgiveness! What a blessing and gift from the Lord to His children.

I'm still asking God to bring those past sins to my mind...what does He keep doing? Taking me back to high school! That's funny as I don't remember much of my life from those days. But, He does. So, I'll be writing another message today and asking for forgiveness. No excuses. No blaming. Just taking my own sins and making them known. Humbling myself for His glory!

Take some time today and ask God to show you places where you need to repent, confess, ask for forgiveness and make amends. What a blessing you will receive in the process!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Confession, Repentance, Amends....

I grew up in an era where parents were perfect, or were supposed to be at least. Or pretended to me. Or were not but were not supposed to admit it publicly and certainly not in church. I remember distinctly knowing that an adult had lied but had no way of resolving that in my brain. It was simply covered over and never spoken of again.

Perhaps a parent didn't fulfill a promise or something was said in anger or haste...but no apology was ever given. Parents were not wrong. They were adults, and children needed to learn their place in life, and correction was not part of that.

While respect was taught with a great deal of fear based reverence, there are some things that I didn't learn along the way....the art of saying "I'm sorry" as an adult and making things right. JT and I struggled the first few years of marriage with just admitting being wrong and asking each other for forgiveness. We didn't want that for our children...a sense of pride needed to be broken in all of us so that we stood holy and blameless before our holy Father (and each other). So, we developed the following guidelines using Scripture...

1. Admit when you are wrong. James 5:16 says to confess our sins to one another. Agree that you have done wrong. In our house we raise our hands and say, "I was wrong. It was my fault. I admit it, and I'm responsible." Once I did this in a restaurant in Colorado to my husband. I said it loudly and openly. People clapped...why? We need to see that none of us are perfect and take responsibility for our sins!

2. Confess your sins! 1 John 1:9 says that God is faithful and just to forgive our sins when we confess them. Oftentimes we are tempted to say to others, "If I hurt you" or "Well my motives were....." We tend to excuse our wrongdoings or diminish the hurt in order to protect ourselves. Submit your will to the Father and confess your sins completely!

3. Ask for forgiveness! Colossians 3:13 reminds us that we need to forgive just as Christ forgave us. Be willing to ask for forgiveness and to give it freely! Part of forgiveness is being sure that you acknowledge what you did and confess it first!!!

4. Make amends! What if you stole money from someone? Does asking for forgiveness settle the debt? What if you were unfaithful to your spouse? Does asking for forgiveness make the trust come back? Romans 4:19 commands us to live in peace with others. Making amends is probably the least practiced of all the aspects of apologizing. If you sinned against another person and there is ANYTHING you can do to make amends for your wrongdoing, do it (as long as it aligns with Scripture). Redo a job done poorly, pay back your debt, apologize to others involved in the situation, etc.

We may not have been aware of how to seek forgiveness while we were growing up, but that is NO excuse for not teaching God's Word about forgiveness to our children! May we model the love of Christ through accepting our wrongdoings, confessing our sins, asking for forgiveness and making amends daily!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

New Chore Chart

Our new chore chart arrived in the mail on Wednesday, and well, we were all a little excited. Maybe too excited...okay, we were giddy (and in a very geeky, over the top way)! But, it is Our chore chart, and we have worked hard over the past 3 months to get jobs appropriated and done. This house doesn't run itself, and after a summer with our fabulous interns, we realized that we weren't doing our children any favors by not allowing them to be more responsible for the everyday chores.

Yes, my children were already helping with things around the house, but we didn't necessarily have assignments. And, JT and I found ourselves unloading the dishwasher, cooking all the meals and folding most of the clothes if the kids a lot of schoolwork to do or perhaps a project to do. Now, we realize that they need to be able to be a part of the family by doing the administrative side of the family too. So, now everyone has assignments.

And, this handy dandy chore chart allows us to change responsibilities weekly without printing off a new chart. Just move the people icons around, and we are done. Plus, we went ahead and got little placards for Zeke which will make his homecoming even sweeter...Speaking of our son.

We do have a referral for our son from Uganda. He is 4 years old and is absolutely adorable. We are waiting on a court date down. His name will be Ezekiel Duke. JT and I both like the name Ezekiel and think of the obedience of the prophet in proclaiming His love for His people. Duke is a family name from JT's side of the family. We'll call him Zeke.

Now, off to change those chores for next week....yes, I'm smiling and drooling a little too.