"My" Dump Truck

11/20/2008 10:05:00 AM Posted In Edit This 1 Comment »
Some time ago I was struggling pretty hard with some issues going on in my life. I know, I know, typical of me, eh? Anyway, my usual modus operandi was to continue to struggle in my own power and just muddle through the best I could. But that wasn’t working. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders and I just didn’t think I had it in me to continue. I felt I was about to break – body, mind, soul and spirit. I was on my way to work and I felt like turning my car around and going home to hide under the covers. Either that or just turning it into a ditch. So I started to pray. Hard. I knew the only thing that could bring me through this was God, but I was having a hard time praying because I just felt so completely lost. So over and over in my head I just said “God, I do not have the strength to do this anymore.” And there, right in front of me, was a dump truck. Yes, the kind you see on the roads every day carrying their big loads of stuff. And written on the back in large letters, it said, “ The Lord is Our Strength”. Instantaneously, my tears dried, my heart lifted and I have never felt the presence of God more than in that moment. And since then, I will occasionally see “my” dump truck on the road and the amazing part is, it’s usually when I need to be reminded that God’s got my back. I bring this up because I saw “my” dump truck again this morning and following along behind it, I snapped a photo of it with my cell phone. It's not a great picture, but in times of trouble - this is my reminder. If ever the owner of this dump truck were to know what an inspiration and lifesaver his dump truck has been...

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. ~Psalm 28:7
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~Philippians 4:13

Isn't it comforting to know that God loves us and is our strength through the fire...

End of an era...

11/17/2008 04:25:00 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
Rob and I took the kids to McDonalds last week after church and standing in line giving our order, I realized we’ve reached a new era in our parenting lives and I was actually deeply saddened. Neither child ordered a “Happy Meal”. My babies are growing up…

Mama, how do I cope?

It's a Family Tradition...

11/13/2008 11:06:00 AM Posted In Edit This 2 Comments »
Our stretch of the road has not had the best luck in producing "good" neighbors. We’ve had a man arrested for beating his wife, three children and two of their friends in a drunken stupor, we’ve had a brother of a neighbor jerk Sam from his bike by the back of his coat, we’ve had the DEA investigate a few of the houses…I could go on, but you get my point.

SO needless to say I am very leery of any new people moving in, which is usually every 6 months or so. On our side of the street at this particular stretch, we are the only family that doesn’t rent. I’m not implying that people who rent are below those who don’t or anything of the sort. I’m just saying in the last 8 years, I’ve seen many MANY types of folks move in and out of these 6 houses. Some good, some not so good.

Lizzie has befriended a little girl who is just a year older than she. Tabitha recently moved in 4 houses down with her mom and 2 sibilings. Robbie and I are usually very careful about letting either Sam or Lizzie go play at any of the 6 houses. On one occasion while playing with a child of a past tenant, Sam learned that causing a fight while drunk and subsequently getting arrested is automatically 24-hours in the hoosegow (different drunken stupor and different neighbor than the one stated above). Not exactly the sort of thing I want my kids to EVER find out, let alone when they are 11. So Lizzie’s new friend has been asking and asking if Lizzie could play. I still haven’t met the mom so I’d rather they play in our yard or at our house. Sam also has a new friend, Josh, who has moved in a few houses UP the street, also a renter district. We’ve met his mom and talked several times on the phone and they end up at one home or the other, which I’m fine with. And both kids are very polite, very sweet kids. No problems thus far. Both of them seem lonely, though.

Lately I’ve been coming home to not two kids, but four kids roaming around our house. Usually the boys are downstairs on the X-Box 360 and the girls are pestering Robbie or playing in Lizzie’s room. Somehow our house has turned in to the kid-fun house. Its fun actually and I like it. Last night was an all out pillow fight between the girls and Robbie. Josh couldn't come over but Sam was able to go play at his house.

Tabby’s mom doesn’t inquire much as to her whereabouts when she’s with us and I’ve never met her, nor has Robbie so I’ve wondered what type of home-life she has. I’m gathering from snippets of conversations that her parents are divorced, she has two younger siblings and her mom is a maid. The last few nights, she has been there as I’m getting dinner ready and I’ve invited her to eat with us since we have enough and she’s there already. The first night I had Lizzie start to set the table and as I was putting dinner on it, Tabby said “Whoa, we’re eating at the table? We’re sitting down? At the table?” And looked at me like I’d just asked her to remove her arms and sweep the floor with them. When I said, “Well. Yea!?!?” She thought that was the coolest thing she was ever going to be privy to. And she’s now had two consecutive dinners with us – I’m sure she’ll be there tonight, also. And tomorrow.

I try to get the family to sit down to dinner as many times as possible during the week which, depending on the week, can range from 0 nights to 7 nights. And lately, I’ve been pushing more for it and staying home due to economic constraints but to see a little girls’ delight at being able to sit down for a family meal was very enlightening. I believe those stories about family bonds being tied over the dinner table. And how it instills values in the kids that stay with them all their lives. And I am more than happy to help the little girl down the street, or the little boy up the street with that, even if it’s only a meal or two. Do families really not do this much anymore? Was she so in awe of the act of sitting down to dinner because her family just doesn't do it? Are they too busy? How sad to think a tradition as simple as a family dinner which could have such an impact on a young life has faded away. How like our rush-rush-gimme-it-now society to push something so influential out.

And to think I took for granted the fact that we ate supper as a family every single night of my childhood through my teens…


11/11/2008 01:18:00 PM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »
(Click on the above so you can read the poem)

Thank you, Dad! For all you've sacrificed. For all you've endured. For the time away from your family. For the hurts and pain that will never be erased from your being. For all the hope you've given us as a country even when we, as a country, turned our backs and protested against all you've done. You are our lifeblood, our reason, and our future. My prayer is that this country continues in the tradition many like you have fought, bled and some died to keep. And that our country will never forget heroes like you.
Thank you to all the Veterans - Uncle Walter, Josh, Drew and all the rest who sacrifice for us everday.
Go thank a Veteran! And if you think about it, don't just do it today. Do it EVERY DAY.

“He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver…”

11/07/2008 01:55:00 PM Edit This 2 Comments »
I love the following story. The first time I heard it I lived in Mississippi and I was having a very hard time with some things going on in my life. If you knew me back then, then I'm sure you can figure out what, or rather who, I was struggling with. I was also struggling with the fact that for the first time in my life I was living totally surrendered to God's will but could NOT for the life of me understand WHY I was going through this MESS when I was living surrendered as I was....and then I read this story. It's been a while since I read it and my wonderful friend Elizabeth e-mailed it to me a few weeks back. I thought it worth sharing, because it's very comforting to me when I get to feeling down and out that He is shining me up...

"Some time ago, a few ladies met in a certain city to read the scriptures, and make them the subject of conversation. While reading the third chapter of Malachi they came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse: “And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”

One lady’s opinion was that is was intended to convey the view of the sanctifying influence of the grace of Christ. Then she proposed to visit a silversmith and report to them what he said on the subject. She went accordingly and without telling the object of her errand, begged to know the process of refining silver, which he fully described to her. “But sir,” she said, “do you sit while the work of refining is going on?” “Oh, yes, madam,” replied the silversmith; “I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured.”

The lady at once saw the beauty, and comfort too, of the expression, “He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” Christ sees it needful to put His children into a furnace; His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for them. Their trials do not come at random, and they are only as intense and last only as long as is necessary for the refining process.

As the lady was preparing to leave the shop, the silversmith concluded by saying that he knows the process of purifying is complete when he can see his own image reflected in the silver. What a beautiful example! When Christ sees His own image in His people, His work of purifying is accomplished."

Have a wonderful weekend, all!

Wordless Wednesday - On the right day even!

11/05/2008 09:46:00 AM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »
Jackie O

Nerd Boy

Friday was duct tape day at school.

11/04/2008 08:27:00 AM Edit This 1 Comment »
Remember this guy?

Didn't realize just how much he'd be missed, until I read and remembered some of the stuff he said...and stood for:

'Here's my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose.'- Ronald Reagan

'The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.' - Ronald Reagan

'The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.' - Ronald Reagan

'Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.' - Ronald Reagan

'I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress.' - Ronald Reagan

'The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination.' - Ronald Reagan

'Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.' - Ronald Reagan

'The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.' - Ronald Reagan

'It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.' - Ronald Reagan

'Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.' - Ronald Reagan

'Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed, there are many rewards; if you disgrace yourself, you can always write a book.' - Ronald Reagan

'No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. '- Ronald Reagan

'If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.' - Ronald Reagan