Romans 12:1-2

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Counting My Blessings

It's wonderful to continue this blessings meme that Tamara started - it can now be found at Homemaker's Heart.

64. "Aunt" is a blessing. Near the end of school today, the office called my room and said that Aunt was on the phone and wanted to know if she could pick L. up at school. Absolutely! What a treat for him to not have to ride the bus and to get home early! Aunt stayed quite a while and played games with the boys and then joined us to meet Hubby at Wendy's for dinner before we had to do errands and get M. to basketball practice.

It made me reflect on what a blessing it is to have Aunt as an influence on our boys. I'm truly thankful.
Aunt, L and Me

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Daybook - Thanksgiving Weekend

Outside my window…darkness. The dead flowers are gone now thanks to hubby, the grass is brown, it’s definitely feeling more late fall/early winter now.

I am thankful for… God and His character more than His blessings. Sermon today (from Jonah) made me think about this.

I am wearing… black corduroy pants and purple sweater (a rarity that I have something decent on – usually when I write this I’m in sweats).

Some plans for the rest of the week… put up and trim the tree, basketball practice starts, make some Christmas plans, take J. the dog for a trial run at the kennel.

I am hoping… to get our December calendar set soon and to be able to enjoy the moments of the season instead of just going from one activity to the next.

On my mind… what to give as Christmas presents…

Hearing…. the air purifier and Hubby working on the computer behind me, every now and then I can hear a thud coming from the boys upstairs.

I am praying that…… (still) we figure out our car situation to ABQ for Christmas and that we have good travel weather.

From the kitchen….. Brazilian out last night; roast, rice and broccoli tonight and stew tomorrow (if I get things together, I haven’t been very together myself on Mondays lately)

Around the house… a partially decorated mantle, new candles, boxes of Christmas decorations waiting to be used.

One of my favorite things… going to Silver Dollar City with my family

From my picture journal…

I think my eyes are closed in this picture. That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me.
To view more daybooks visit Simple Woman's Daybook.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Silver Dollar City - Christmas Edition

Last Christmas we used some family Christmas money and purchased season tickets to Silver Dollar City. We had full intentions of going more, but we made it there twice as a family (I went once with Aunt also). Our Christmas trip was well worth the tickets.

The Christmas celebration was what actually led to getting the season tickets. I had wanted to go last year, but an early snow storm axed those plans. It was really neat though to enjoy this season as SDC celebrated their 50th anniversary.

After a few pictures yesterday, first on the list was having my 50th anniversary jar repoured with a Christmas scented candle. (When I picked it up today, I found out I was the only person this year to bring back one of the special edition jars to be repoured. They gave me four free Christmas votives too.)

Yesterday and today we enjoyed several shows, rides, shopping, and lights (especially the parade and musical tree). M. enjoyed kettle corn, most of the funnel cake L. couldn't eat because he felt sick, dinner (harvest skillet of ham and vegetables), a caramel apple, and hot chocolate with a giant cookie! (I think the food is M's fav part of SDC!) I did get the Christmas photos I want to use for cards, but, I won't show those here. L. participated in a song with the Homestead singers - he squawked like a chicken on cue during many parts of the song. It was his second time participating in something at SDC!

On the set of the Living Nativity

L. is the only child on this side of the Giant Barn Swing. Hubby is on his left. (seat 4 & 3). Rest assured, you won't catch M or me here!

Kettle corn. Mmmmm....

A family snapshot before the Fa La La Follies

I loved the gingerbread behind this train!

On the way home we decided that waiting an hour and a half to eat dinner at our first choice (Lamberts) wasn't ideal, so we treated the boys to their first experience at a Brazilian restaurant. Now they can't decide if this, Mongolian, or fondue is their favorite. L's eyes lit up every time they brought out a new meat and he was happy to have some foods I never make - like fish, sushi, shrimp and lamb. M was excited to watch football and have all the steak he could eat.

It was a wonderful weekend - wonderful to spend time together as a family and wonderful to start our Christmas season with the true meaning at the Living Nativity.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fall Wrap Up

Aunt usually always has her camera with her. Because of this we are blessed with photos from many activities. She recently gave me the completed scrapbook from Christmas 2009. It's a treasure of all kinds of Christmas celebrations. Anyway, I also just got the photos from her camera downloaded to my computer (and I didn't blog a lot once I started working - but I'm off today!! Yay!). So...

The official end of summer/beginning of fall for us (nevermind the calendar) was at the lake with friends. This was M. driving the golf cart.

L. and Aunt went to the VA at Halloween to help Grandpa pass out candy.

Aunt also took both boys to be in the Veteran's Parade with Grandpa.

So tomorrow is Thanksgiving. It will be the official end of fall and beginning of winter (again, nevermind the calendar - this is what's in my heart.)

While I was mopping today (one of those things that just doesn't get done much anymore), I had the urge to take down some fall items and move some nativities out of the curio cabinet. I resisted though! I'm very anti-do anything that has to do with Christmas (except gift buying when it's financially to our advantage) before Thanksgiving.

It's already starting out to be a good Thanksgiving. Hubby came home from work a bit after noon and he and I went to lunch and spent the afternoon window shopping. I've made some chex mix, the boys got a free Wii game rental, they're out with Hubby right now and when they return we'll enjoy the end of the end of the evening together. I love my family!

Shutterfly Special for Bloggers

Shutterfly is offering a special to bloggers: 50 free holiday cards (Thanks to KG at elegraph for bringing this to my attention)!

I'm planning on getting a great photo shot at Silver Dollar City this weekend (and if that doesn't work, I'll just take one on the porch Sunday).

Shutterfly's vast selection is amazing - here are two designs that have caught my eye so far (each image is linked to its specific Shutterfly page):

Have fun! If you participate, just be sure to blog about it and link back to Shutterfly's site. Thanks again KG (BTW - some of this wording is hers - I copied and pasted! Wanted to give proper credit.) Happy Thanksgiving!
UPDATE: I got those shots I wanted for the Christmas card this past weekend. I plan to use the layout of the first card shown here and put our family photo first. Then, I'll put a picture of M. with a snowman (stuffed of course!) second and finish with L. and a snowman. There's actually a similar card that uses the same layout, but has blue and green for the colors. I think they'll complement my photos better.
I looked at the Shutterfly site more closely this weekend and loved how each design clearly showed how many photos were needed for each card. I used their search feature also to find exactly what I was looking for. This is the link for Christmas cards at Shutterfly .
Don't stop at can use Shutterfly to personalize thank you cards and birthday invitations among others. I haven't used Shutterfly before, but know that friends have been very satisfied with it. I'm looking forward to getting to know Shutterfly better for Christmas cards this year!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Counting My Blessings - Day 31

63. God, my biggest blessing.

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. (Ephesians 1:3-6, The Message)

I count among my blessings - adoption into God's family, His love, high places of God's blessing, being on His mind, His lavish gift-giving and His love.

This is the final post in Branch of Wisdom's Month of Thanksgiving. However, Tamara announced today that she will continue hosting this meme with Counting My Blessings on Tuesdays. So, there's still time to join!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Counting My Blessings - Day 30

58. M & L's constant creativity and learning. M. had to make a ping pong ball launcher for science. He and Hubby had been working all week on designs and prep work and put it together in the garage Sat. M. spent most of the weekend doing trials. My children are such a blessing and it's such a blessing to have a husband who is involved with them and intentionally guides and teaches them.

59. Extended family. We've been back in my home state for a little over a year now. I have an aunt and uncle and an uncle who will be joining us for Thanksgiving dinner at the VA. I don't ever recall (or it's been since I was tiny) having Thanksgiving dinner with the group who will assemble on Thursday.

I also have a (3rd maybe?) cousin who works at the same school I do and now goes to my church (along with her family). We were blessed to have her son (and my cousin and the boys' too - I know it gets complicated) spend time at our house yesterday afternoon. Somehow he got elected to fish the ping pong ball out from under the oven. With it came tons of dog hair! Woops. Dog hair is definitely not a blessing (unless it's on the dog!!).

I didn't blog much about it, but last weekend, we were blessed to be visited by two sets of extended family from out of state!

60. Medicine - even though I may disagree with some on when to take it, etc. I am extremely blessed to have access to medicine and medical care. Last night M. dropped a bottle of Mucinex that didn't have a completely closed lid. As we were both working on getting it cleaned up, I was trying to find the blessing of having sticky syrup on my floor and I found several. -we can afford medicine - I am able to clean and care for my children - I have a floor in which to spill medicine (and many other items) and -the care of my home isn't my sole responsibility.

61. A very old van - We have a completely paid for van that has over 187,000 miles on it. That van has carted us around to two long distance moves and countless family vacations and holiday trips. What a blessing and what fun family times we have shared in it!

62, Saving money. Hubby is doing some work on the van right now. Once again, it is a huge blessing for Hubby to be able to do routine maintenance and not-so-routine work on our vehicles. He saves us loads of money.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Counting My Blessings - Day 29

57. Thanksgiving with my Small Group - last week Tamara asked us to post our Thanksgiving traditions. Honestly, ours vary from year to year. It really depends where we end up at Thanksgiving. A couple Thanksgivings ago, just the four of us went to Sea World on Thanksgiving Day and it was fantastic! This year we're having Thanksgiving dinner at the VA Center with Dad (and I'm thankful not to be cooking or cleaning up!)

Every Sunday night when our small group meets we eat dinner first and each time is themed. Someone else organizing this is a huge blessing to me. Tonight's dinner was Thanksgiving.

This group is a huge blessing to me! I really love spending time with this group. I love having others to share the Christian walk with and I enjoy sharing life with these people who have become my friends. I look forward to getting to know everyone better in the new year.

I did tell our group they were going to be on my blog, but I'll keep the names to protect the innocent. Except, Hubby, he's the one in the Alaska shirt.

This post is part of Branch of Wisdom's Month of Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Daybook - November 20

Outside my window…I just opened the blinds – there’s a bright newly up sun, a breeze and three leaves barely hanging on to the tree in the front yard. It’s been a windy week!

I am thankful for… many, many, blessings. Check out my Month of Thanksgiving posts. I’m also thankful to be feeling much better this morning than I did last night.

I am wearing… tshirt and sweatpants and jacket

Some plans for the rest of the week… short week at school, getting my hair cut, Thanksgiving Dinner with Dad and some extended fam and then a trip to Branson for Hubby, the boys and I.

I am hoping… it doesn’t rain in Branson!

On my mind… lots of sad news – local news, coworker, family of friends, and students.

Hearing…. not much – Hubby and L are gone and M is still in bed. J. is laying on her back here in the office so every now and then I hear her stretch.

I am praying that…… we figure out our car situation to ABQ for Christmas and that we have good travel weather.

From the kitchen….. not much at all lately. We went to a friend’s house for dinner Thursday night and we ended up out last night. I have a ham that really needs to be baked!

Around the house… I’m going to give the house a once over and pick up before leaving for my shopping trip.

One of my favorite things… not having papers to grade over the weekend, the Dayspring Outlet Store

From my picture journal…
Here's where I have to admit that sewing is not one of my domestic abilities and that it's Hubby who is sewing M's Scout patches.
To view more daybooks visit Simple Woman's Daybook.

Counting My Blessings - Day 28

53. A new warm coat - I don't buy one very often - first winter coat in about 9 years. I feel very blessed to have one because I know others do without.

54. Care - it seems that since I'm in a classroom full-time now that I pick up every bug that goes around. Hubby was patient in caring for me last night when I was aching all over and having tummy pains.

55. Provision - I have heard lots of sad stories lately of people in need. I am blessed to have all my needs provided and blessed to be able to help others.

56. A day out with Aunt - as soon as I finish blogging and take a shower, Aunt will be here to get me for a trip over to Siloam Springs for the Dayspring Warehouse Outlet Sale!

You'll be blessed by reading A Month of Thanksgiving at Branch of Wisdom. Check it out or even participate, there's still time!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Counting My Blessings - Day 25

51. A new transmission
52. Having my gas pumped

A while back I noticed a funny noise in my car. When Hubby had it checked, they said it was the transmission. My car was still under warranty (the good news). The transmission was on back order (the bad news). I am blessed that my car is now fixed and Hubby took care of getting the car to the dealer, etc. I picked him up at work tonight (another blessing that I still had transportation) and we went to get the car. The place we chose to eat had kids eat free night. Yea! Totally unexpected and another blessing. On the way home Hubby and I both needed to stop for gas. It was windy and cold, but I didn't have to get out of the car at all! Hubby paid, one son went inside to give the cash and another son pumped the gas.

Again, I am blessed beyond measure. Others are counting their blessings too at Branch of Wisdom's Month of Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Counting My Blessings - Day 24

50. I’m blessed that L. loves life! Even if at times it is too loud or rowdy for me, it is so fun to watch him dance around and sing. I just love his silliness.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Counting My Blessings - Day 20

49. Opportunity – L has been excitedly talking about taking a couple of advanced classes next year and M is doing wonderful in all 5 of his 6th grade advanced classes. It’s so neat to hear them talk about what they are learning or who they are helping in class. M. really likes band too and I’m so grateful that my children were blessed with a great music foundation at school in Texas.

Join Tamara at Branch of Wisdom for more blessings.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Counting My Blessings - Day 18

48. Blankets – we tend to keep our house on the cool side in the winter so I’d be freezing at night without them! I love having fleece blankets to curl up with downstairs while we read or upstairs when we watch TV. One night when I put M. in bed, I noticed all his special blankets and pillows. I told him that I knew he loved all of them and I thought that when he’s an adult that he’ll still want lots of soft blankets and special pillows.

L. used this blanket in the office yesterday since he wasn't feeling well. J. decided to use it once she found it abandoned.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Counting My Blessings - Day 17

47. Facebook. Thankfully, I don’t spend an overabundance of time there, but it has been a blessing reconnecting with people. Some of my Dad’s sisters are there and some cousins too. I was especially grateful last week that my cousin in North Carolina found me. I like the glimpse I get into their lives that I wouldn’t otherwise have and I’m thankful for another avenue to share my blog with them so they can find out more about my children who they don’t know very well.

Don't forget to visit Branch of Wisdom for more blessings.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Counting My Blessings - Day 16

46. Our “Dave Ramsey” envelope organizer. With having more income thanks to me working full time, we didn’t want to go crazy or live a different lifestyle. Plus we wanted to pay extra on our big purchases so we started using cash for groceries, gas, entertainment, and eating out. It really helped while Hubby was away on business. Instead of spending money wild going out to eat, I knew exactly how much money I had to use and didn’t overspend. It will really be a blessing the day after Thanksgiving when we have enough cash for a two day trip to Branson.

Click on the button on my side bar to join Tamara at Branch of Wisdom for A Month of Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Counting My Blessings - Day 15

45. Hubby spending time with the boys. I am so thankful that Hubby is an involved Dad. He always has been too. All the times that I’ve left and they’ve been with just him, I’ve never seen it as he is “babysitting them”. The boys are just as much his as they are mine!

On Saturday, Hubby took L to the Home Depot kids workshop, both boys to the library, made dinner with L, made cookies with both and played countless tag (with a ball) and chase games. They love that one on time with their Daddy. He is such a wonderful example for them – his walk with and love of Christ, leadership, care for others, character and work ethic, and being a Godly Husband and Dad.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Daybook - November 6

Outside my window… there was frost on the ground this morning!

I am thankful for… Hubby being home safely and for L’s finger not being broken.

I am wearing… OKWU sweatshirt, sweatpants

Some plans for the rest of the week… Hubby’s family (2 sets) come Thurs. and Fri., Harlem Globetrotter game on Saturday.

I am hoping… to be able to teach 2nd grade again next year – especially since I’m starting to figure it out. I love all 19 of my kids!

On my mind… L. getting hurt so much lately, M. being "1st chair" in band, making plans for family next weekend and thinking ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Hearing…. the air purifier we moved in the office – we were smelling the dog, L checking Fantasy Football.

I am praying that…… for healing for a friend’s daughter and for the best for a student.

From the kitchen... Hubby made the chili tonight. He and the boys are making chocolate chip cookies now.

Around the house… some things I’m finally finding time to cut out that I laminated five weeks or more ago, magazines on the stairs waiting for me to sort through them and put them away to use in my classroom.

One of my favorite things… Saturday, cookies and milk, eating with my family.

From my picture journal…

I just love this picture of L. perched on top of the cat house. He was watching Cedarmont Kids. Age 1 1/2

A Thanksgiving Memory

To view more daybooks visit Simple Woman's Daybook.

Counting My Blessings - Day 14

44. Saturday - We have had a whole Saturday, totally ours. No sports to rush to and no other commitments. Because of this I have had the blessing of: sleeping in, sitting in my rocker reading Scripture, walking J. in the park with M., going to the library, not hurrying while out grocery shopping, and sitting on the bed in long conversation with Hubby. I'm getting ready to make chili using my Mom's recipe. I love Saturdays!

Don't forget to join Tamara at Branch of Wisdom to read more blessings.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Counting My Blessings - Day 12

43. Youth Sports Programs - We've done soccer, basketball, and football at our house and it is a blessing to had such excellent programs offered in our community. (I'm especially fond of the Upward programs). We enjoy going to games and are grateful for the exercise and life lessons M. & L. have learned.

This season was M's first of tackle football and this post is to honor a special occasion. M's team plays a play-off game tonight! Yay, team!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Counting My Blessings - Day 11

42. Others Who Help - It was much harder for me to count blessings today. Yesterday, I spent time at the Dr.'s w/L. because we thought he had broken his finger (I know they don't do much for that - long story). I have been really sick today.

It has been a blessing for me to have others help me out when I don't feel well. The other teachers on my team have supported and helped me all year and yesterday when I had to leave early for L., they each took some of my students. Besides my team, the other teachers in my hallway have all checked on me from time to time offering advice and encouragement. The people at my school are a blessing!

Then of course there's Aunt. She'd be at the top of the "others who help" list. She went out of her way yesterday to bring an Ibuprofen to L. while we waited in radiology. Within an hour she'll be here probably sewing up something for M. and listening to both of the boys chatter about their day and sports and more. Thank you God for such a wonderful sister.
Check out other blessings at Branch of Wisdom.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Counting My Blessings - Day 10

41. Clothes – seems simple, something children would always name in a list of what they are thankful for. But really I am thankful for them. Even when I have mounds and mounds of laundry to do, I’m still thankful. Even though we’re not extravagant in the clothing area and I try to give away lots, we still have beyond what is a necessity. Thank you God, for blessing us with clothes to wear.

Soccer Clothes

Matthew 6: 28-29; 33-34 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these….But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Counting My Blessings - Day 9

40. The park – one of the reasons we chose this house was the wonderful park nearby. I can be on the path that leads to it in a short walk – past about 6 houses, around two corners. The boys have played there, I’ve walked there with hubby, or Aunt or alone (with J), we’ve played there as a family, ridden bikes, taken visiting family there and played disc golf. What a blessing it is!