Who writes this stuff?

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I am happily married to an amazing military man who spent 9 years enlisted and is now an Officer in the US Army. We have two amazing boys who are not so little any more! They still infuse every moment of every day with creativity and energy, and make my life an adventure.  I was educated at home, and am now teaching our children - second generation homeschoolers! I try every day to become more like Jesus Christ, and to love like HE does. If you want you can try and catch me at bethylovesandy@yahoo.com

My Blog Title Verse

"For the Lord gives wisdom. From His mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:6 NKJV 
The Message translation puts it this way "God gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding."

Verse of the day

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sitting round the campfire

We had a campfire in the backyard while Andy's parents were here last weekend. Our boys love to cook their hotdogs the "real" way. They don't really count unless they are cooked over a fire you know. 
 And of course, if you have a fire, it is a requirement that you have graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows available too. I think there is a law somewhere where that is clearly stated - or perhaps it is only written in the "under age ten" list of rules? Either way, my children are sure of the necessity of S'more. 
  The thing is, Zion is terrified of the fire. 
(not that I am complaining -I would rather him be afraid than a daredevil around it) 
So, he needed a little help from Poppy to get his marshmallow even close to the fire. 
"I'm not too sure about this Poppy!"
  but the final product is soooo worth it. 
Canaan liked his too - mister sticky face. 
Later on Zi was in charge of the camera. 
 He managed to get some really cool shots of Andy blowing bubbles.
I think the boy has "an eye". Or perhaps just really good luck?
Either way, an evening sitting 'round the campfire was greatly enjoyed. Sticky, maybe. Bug spray needed, perhaps. Hot - well, in S Ga that is a given. But fabulous fun - absolutely.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Waste Not, Want Not Wednesday

Wednesday seems to be the day for themed blogs.

 Wordless Wednesday, with a picture (or two) just crying out for attention.

 Word Filled Wednesday, overflowing with the words that give life.

 But I don't like to do what everyone else is doing. Call it the rebel in me. So, I have been mulling over an idea of my own. This morning was the clincher - we finished off a box of cereal and rather then just put it in the trash, or even in the recycling bin, my seven year old automatically asked "Mom, what can we make with this?"
 That is my life and something, I will admit, I am proud of.
 I am not promising a long term commitment. No contracts here. However, I have several Waste Not, Want Not Wednesday ideas.

 If you have something to add, please, add a link and join in. I would love to have your ideas too. There is nothing like taking the beautiful earth we were given as a gift and enjoying it to it's fullest, while carefully saving it for our children, and their children... and on and on.

 We'll start with a very playful and kid friendly one. Not precisely Earth friendly... but still, Waste Not, Want Not. 
 This weekend when my in-laws were visiting we made brownies and finished off a batch of eggs. Since I buy my eggs from a lady down the street, I never know what kind of container they will come in. This week they were in an old Winn Dixie carton. My boys immediately claimed it to color, and cut and generally make a disaster with.
 My MIL, a former art teacher and current gifted teacher remembered a project she had done with her students before, "shrinking" packing peanuts down for homemade jewelry. Thus, our shrinky-dink day was born.
 We decorated with permanent markers (regular crayola's will not work). 

We punched holes in them to make them "beads"...

so we could string them together.

Happy boys!

We later moved to plastic bottles. The bottom of those are already shaped almost like a flower, so when they are colored and shrunk just a little, they are lovely. I went to take pictures of their creations to post here, but they seem to be missing. I can almost assure you that Daddy has something to do with that. He really likes to "clear out" (trash) anything that is not being used at the moment. So, unfortunately I cannot show you pictures of anything they made except for the beads... 
 Just use your imagination. Beautiful, colorful, melted plastic and foam. 
 Waste Not, Want Not
 How do you save the earth, a little piece at a time?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Asking, rather then lying to myself

I was going to post all the pictures from this past weekend with the Grandparents. Share all the moments of levity and celebration.
 But the pictures won't load, and thus, the post is delayed.

 So, instead, I am going to talk about feelings.

 I really don't want to - I was avoiding this post. The reason is simple, really. While I am typing it I know that conviction will set in, and I will have to fully repent, rather then just brush it under the rug like I have been all day long. So I guess this will be my time of confession, shared with all of you, as well as my blog post tonight.

 Do you ever feel tired of being who you are? I know exactly who I am, what my role in the world is. I just wrote about it not long ago. Maybe that was why I felt so attacked today - like I couldn't keep up anymore. You see, my optimism, my ability to find the positive, to hope for the future - today it was running on empty.

 I wanted to be the person who says, "The end of the world is coming, and nothing positive will ever happen again, and you can't count on happiness." Today, I was even feeling that I couldn't count on God. I was just so frustrated, feeling that everything I have asked for, everything my heart has ached for in the last three years - His answer has been "no".
 We are waiting still for an answer for Andy's officer package. The date got pushed back, again, but now they are saying we should hear about his results sometime during the first week of August.
 I am afraid to hope. I am afraid to even ask for what we want. Because everything I have truly truly wanted, the answer has been "no".
 I wanted Anastasia.
 I wanted to be healed, rather then diagnosed.
 I wanted Gladdy. 
 I wanted Andy to get the first Officer package he applied for, way back before he left for the desert a year and a half ago.

 So this time, I decided not to ask. If you just pretend you don't want something, you risk less pain, right?


All you get is denial, and a good bit of guilt for lying to yourself, and to God - and let me tell you something. Neither you, nor God, believe the lies. Makes it pretty pointless!

 I am blessed beyond measure though. My husband came home from working a 13 hour shift, after 4 hours of sleep because of a mis-communication with the schedule maker. (he thought he was working swings, as usual, so stayed up late, then they called him at 7am and said, "why aren't you here") And even though he had every reason to be tired, and grumpy, and see all the negative things in life, he didn't.  He took the time, while scarfing down some food since he had only eaten a peanut butter and banana sandwich ALL DAY LONG, to encourage me.
 Man, was that a reality check.

 I have so much to celebrate. My boys are healthy, and strong, and growing in wisdom and love. My body, although not healed in the way I would like, has medicine that keeps me alive and able to do all the daily things I need. I have friends who love me, family that is beyond compare, and Andy who is willing to tell me to snap out of it, then kiss me and remind me that it will all be okay.
 And even when I forget, or doubt, or grumble and complain, I have my Savior.
 His ways may not be my ways. But truly, His way is beautiful and when I let him lead without fighting, it is a peaceful way.

My memory verse this week has been Romans 5:3-4
 "We can rejoice too, when we run into problems and trials for we know that they are good for us - they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady."

 Patience. Hope. Faith.  - Strong and Steady - That is the part I like. I will work toward that.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

So, what do you think??

If you are a FB reader or an E-mail subscriber (hi mom!), I don't suppose the changes will even show up, but for anyone who visits me on my actual page, What do you think?

 I had a technical difficulty this weekend. The link to the background picture I was using was deleted. Rather then just find another that would sync with the design I already had, I decided to go for something fresh and new. It nearly caused an argument between the hubby and I though. I asked him to help, since he knows me best. "What is the epitome of me? What colors, what style, what theme shouts "Bethany" to the world?"
 He chose books. 

Stacks of them. Artistic displays of them. He found tons of interesting, even beautiful shots of them.
 Truly, I love books. Adore them even. But that is such a narrow view of me. Surely there is more?!
 I ended up kicking him off the project because he never actually reads my blog anyway. How would he know how to design something that he knows nothing about?

 After playing with the new Blogger self design application for awhile, I got this. Simple, green, and cheerful. I think that is a better summation of me then "books". Although I must say I do love that first picture up there...
 Now I just have to figure out how to have multiple pages. I really want a "home" and an "about me" and a "where the military has taken us" page. But I haven't figured that part out yet. Andy just has to work a few more late nights, (and me NOT have a good book within reach) so I can do some work on that!
 After all the work was done, Andy still had to come by and comment. At the top of the page I have blue skies and flowers - blowing where God sends them and working really hard not to stress about where they land (in case you were wondering why I chose dandelions). In the middle is a beautiful stretch of green grass, cool and peaceful. At the bottom is the rich brown soil for it to grow out of. Andy said the dirt needed some worms to stir it up, keep it aerated.
So, here is his contribution to the new design.
Those of you who do not usually link directly to the page, please, drop by and see the new design. 
And stay posted - there is more to come, once I figure a little more out~

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pause for a moment to brag

I know every mommy says this, all the time, but MAN, they sure do grow up fast.
Canaan is officially 4 feet tall now and 58 pounds. He is one solid boy!
Our big event which made me stop and take a pause happened yesterday in the late afternoon. You see, he moved from the white belt to the gold belt in his Tang soo do class. I know, I know, it is just one step... but still.

My friend, Ginny, teaches the class out of her home. Canaan's age group currently has three kids in it, and all three are in a different belt level. I think that makes Canaan work harder, trying to keep up with the two that have been in it longer.

Daddy was able to come along and "cheer" for his boy.
(Doesn't he look enthusiastic? - hiding from the camera... as usual)
And of course, little brother was a big help....

The weather has been horribly hot and humid here - so we were very thankful that it was in the low 90's yesterday. You never think you will be grateful for a temperature in the 90's! Anyway... she didn't make them wear their full uniform for the testing.
First you warm up.
I love his face in this pic - so enthusiastic!
They did some parts of the test as a group.
But each had to do their own "solo act".
Presentation of the new belt and certificate.
The group showing their respect and appreciation.
(Look at his face! I don't think he has gotten that part down yet?!)

Group shot of the teacher, her helper and the three little new belt earners.
The one with the new green belt is the teacher's daughter, and she has learned a lot living with the teacher! Wow!
Canaan is so excited that his uniform is not plain old white any more.
Yeah Canaan!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Word, always the same

I grew up on the NIV and the New King James translations of the Bible. When a verse comes to my head, that is the way it flows, the way it sings in my soul.
But I am open to reading The Word in modern language. Jesus spoke the language of the people, the common man. He wasn't a lawyer, or an orator, or a college professor. He was a carpenter, who might have even used slang, like ya'll, or yep.
With that thought, I have picked up many different translations/versions of The Word. I appreciate The Message, and The Message for Kids. The New American Standard and the Amplified. This year I am reading through the Bible in the Tyndale Living Translation, which I feel sure I have done before... but somehow I missed this verse. I suppose that is why we are suppose to remain in The Word at all times?!

Psalm 4:1 NIV "Answer me when I call to you, O my Righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer."

The Message "When I call, give me answers. God, take my side! Once, in a tight place, you gave me room; Now I'm in trouble again: grace me! Hear me!

New King James "Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! Thou has set me at large when I was in distress: have mercy upon me and hear my prayer."

And now, the one that struck me. The one I read this week, and gave me pause. The Living Bible. "God, you have declared me perfect in your eyes; you have always cared for me in my distress; now hear me as I call again. Haver mercy on me. Hear my prayer."

Looking at it in NIV, it seems we are talking about God's righteousness. In the Message, he is simply begging for God to take his side. But in the New King James and Living Bible it reads so much more definitely that God has declared him as righteous, or perfect. Already forgiven.
I love David.
His faith was simply amazing. He messed up, but then he confessed, repented, mourned, and trusted with complete faith that it was over. The Psalms are full of it, and it is so beautiful to read.
Sin entered the world long ago, and mankind has kept adding to it over the years. Because of that marriages are failing. People steal, kill and purposely hurt each other. Physical bodies are falling apart.
But my God has declared me perfect in His eyes. That is enough for me!
What Words have spoken to you lately?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Patterns all around

This morning I got up at the "break of dawn" (at least around this house) for a doctor's appt. On the way over there I stopped at the local Quick Flash to grab my morning fix of smooth, hot, strangely enough, decaf, goodness. As I pulled into the parking spot at the end of the row I couldn't help but notice that there were six, yes 6, white vehicles in a row.
Then I laughed out loud.

Does anyone else out there notice random stuff like that?
I always notice the numbers. Always.
I always find the pattern. Always. If there isn't one, my brain creates one.

If the gas price is $2.36, that is easy. 2x3=6. But what about when it is $2.45? Well, 2+2=4, then add the 5, and that equals 9, and gas always has that extra little 9 on the end.
Beautiful little math problem, right there for anyone to see.

The other day at the gym the cable wasn't working, but the screen had a code number, listing the problem. While running I figured out how many different ways to get to 6 or 9 (since they are flip flopped, they were the two I picked) or any multiple of them. (12, 18, 27....)
Since there were 20 different digits, that kept me focused for the last quarter mile
Exit numbers. License plates. Bar codes. Always, always making a pattern, or a math problem, or algorithm of some sort.

Andy says I am crazy, but surely there is somebody else out there who plays with numbers in their head.
What do you do to pass the time while driving, or running, or waiting in the doctor's office on those days you forgot to bring a good book?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The silly seekers

We are late sleepers around here. When Andy's working the late shift, I am notorious for staying up entirely too late myself, hoping he will get home before I drift off to dream land. I try to get to sleep by 2, but the boys have learned that mommy isn't going to function before 9 most mornings, so if possible, don't ask her to.
When I woke up this morning, both my boys were sitting on the couch reading magazines.
Lego Brickmaster and Highlights High Five.
Big Brother came over to seek the "silly" with brother.

What fun to laugh together!

Later in the afternoon when they are rolling on the floor wrestling over a toy, or yelling that the other won't share the computer... well, these are the moments that help me remember that they really do love each other. Most of the time.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Samwise Gamgee

We watched Lord of the Rings, Return of the King today - just because. (Truthfully, I need to read the book. I am almost embarrassed to admit that I haven't!)
We had played outside in the morning, before the heat and humidity became unbearable. The boys had worked some puzzles, and later woke daddy up. (He's on late shift again, so sleeping til 12 is the way it works around here...)
But it was 12, and they were bored, and a movie seemed an appropriate idea for a lazy summer afternoon.
Daddy watched some of it with them. I got to sit for portions also. But my boys sat and soaked up every minute.
I am pretty sure that every moment that I watched made me cry. The rallying cry for the men of Rohan to "ride for honor and freedom". The ghost warriors earning their ability to rest in peace after finally fighting as they had promised in life. Arwen stepping out from behind the banner to greet Aragorn, the new king and her true love.
Near the end, when Frodo is hanging off the edge of the precipice and Sam entreats him not to let go, I commented to Andy and the boys that even though the evil of the ring had captured Frodo's mind and heart for a while, his friend had stood by him. We need our friends to back us up.
Andy thought about the movie for a minute and said "Really, Sam is like the Holy Spirit". Throughout the movie, he is the quiet voice encouraging Frodo. He tries to help him make the right choices. He carries his food, and blankets. He uncovers his face so he can breathe again when the spider captures him. He even carries Frodo up the hill to the fire of Mount Doom. But -he can't carry the ring. Nor could he throw the ring away. Frodo had to do it. He had to make that decision himself.
We have an encourager, who travels with us everywhere we go. Trips as simple as the grocery, or as distant as the moon. He gives us advice - what to say, how to respond, reminders to smile rather then scowl and to swallow rather then scream. However, we have to make the decision to follow that advise. We have to "throw the ring".
The longer Frodo carried that ring, the heavier it got. It left marks around his neck, and began to scar his mind. Sin does the same thing to us. Especially a sin we favor. "It's not a big deal"... "No one really notices"... "It doesn't hurt anyone"... "It's not even mentioned in the Bible"...
You know what I am talking about. Those little nudges that the Spirit says "stop", and the marks are your neck are getting bloodied from, but still, you continue to do.
Listen to your sam. Throw away the ring.

I really didn't get on here planning to preach tonight. I just wanted to talk about how much I love my hubby's ability to find the Holy Spirit in an action movie. But, sometimes my fingers just type, and someone else is doing the talking - so, whoever needed to hear this, blessings. Throw the ring in, and feel the release from around your neck.
And remember, not only do you have a friend in your Sam (the Holy Spirit), I promise that you have me too.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Belated pics from the 4th

Our Independence Day celebration was slightly hectic. Andy's unit had a four day weekend, Friday- Monday. Unfortunately Andy drew the "short straw" and had to work Monday, getting everything prepped for the next weeks work to begin on Tuesday. And even though he usually works swing shift, weekend duty always works at 8am...

So we set off a few fireworks with his family in N. GA while it was full daylight, just for the fun of it!
Beautiful... smoke
The question is, how many full grown men does it take to light a $4 firecracker?
Apparently 4.
Andy's Army brother was "home" from TX.
Andy's Mom had both her military boys home for Independence day.
And all three grandkids, plus her brother, niece and nephew.
I think she was a happy woman!
The cheering crowd of fans
Awestruck Zion
Canaan and Aunt Tara
My beautiful niece Anistyn

Stealing a kiss...
We saw some beautiful fireworks while driving down I75, and ended the day exhausted, but happy.
I hope your 4th was full of energy and excitement, family and friends, and ended exhausted, but happy!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Sticky problems

There are some moments when your child is just chattering away, making plans for their future, dreaming big dreams, completely covered in innocence, and you realize that the moment is fleeting. Soon, their innocence will be broken. It will be stolen. That faith they have in mankind, in the goodness of the other's around them - it will disappear.
You feel a tear trying to sneak out, and hear a wobble in your voice when you answer their question. You don't want to think that you can't keep them little.

But right this minute that faith in mankind still exists, and the belief in the goodness of others is the core of who they are. So you celebrate it. You take hold of it with both hands, lift it high as a shield against the evil that you can see and, for the moment, protect their little eyes from anything but simplicity.

Tonight while I was cleaning the dinner dishes Canaan was "inventing" big ideas in his head. Since his daddy is military, he decided to come up with a weapon, to get rid of the bad guys. He decided we needed a bomb that would explode and send honey all over the bad guys. Then they would be too sticky to do anything bad. They would be "like, hey, what happened here?" (direct quote from Canaan)
He is seven years old. He wasn't thinking of death, or even wounds. He just wanted to coat them in honey so they would be too sticky to get into mischief.

Speaking of sticky mischief makers...
Oh, if only the sweetness of honey shared really would solve the world's problems!

A Birthday Wish

I sent a birthday card out this week, full of post-it notes. You see, years ago, before kids, when even the hubby was still a really new thing I bought a card for my sister. She and her, at the time boyfriend, (who later became her husband) came out to visit us in CA. I had the present ready to give to her, and the card picked out, but somehow I never got around to signing it. So I just handed it to her, and laughed. She took it home with her.
The next year, I got it back. Since I am the "recycle queen", she thought it fitting. She wrote me a post-it note, stuck it inside and started a tradition.
We have managed to keep the original envelope, either hand delivering it or stuffing it inside another package. It has gotten "lost" a few times, and missed a year. My birthday is May and her's is July, so technically, it could go twice in one year... but so far no luck with that. I am on my fifth address since we started. She has changed names. We have stayed busy.
Those memories are all written on post-it notes, sent back and forth in one little card.
I've been watching out for this little girl for a long time.
Seven years ago - with 4 week old Canaan. One of my favorite photos EVER!
About six year ago, with her amazing husband, Kevin.
Just a few weeks ago, all my girls. (What's funny is that I am, by far, the shortest of the bunch - I just hadn't taken my heels off yet, and the rest of them had!)
Last of all, Em with the amazing woman who brought her into the world.
Have I mentioned that I love my family?

Happy Birthday Emilee!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Musicians in training

Just because...
Z had the guitar on the "wrong" shoulder at first.
After I switched it, he was a much happier musician.
I am looking forward to the teenage years. Truly I am. I may have to invest in really good earplugs, but what fun!