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

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Settling in?

The weekend before last we went over to the in-laws and just hung out. It was the MLK Jr holiday, there was still some snow on the ground from the "big storm" the week before, and a few lazy days were in order.

 Isn't there just something striking about the bright red in the snow?
 Mismatched gloves - unearthed from the jumble of toys on the floor of the truck.
Poor Canaan got stuck with my "fancy" gloves, which then bled all over his hands. 
They were not made for snowballs or snowmen.
He was not a happy camper!  

What could be better for little boys then to spend time playing with their grandparents, watching movies, playing with toys that use to be daddy's, and eating pretty much anything they could think of? 

(Notice the orange mustache? He doesn't get those very often... but he loves it when he does!)

You have to take a minute to appreciate the orchids in the background. Ellen, my mother-in-law, has the most amazing green thumb. Her  sun porch has been completely taken over by plants, mostly orchids. They are amazing. However, I think my favorite of her plants is her coffee tree. She managed to grow coffee beans in her bathroom, roast them herself, grind them and brew fresh coffee. Can you imagine how good it tastes to drink coffee that you grew yourself?
"Cheesin" boys

 While we were there Ellen asked how we were settling in here at my parents. I realized that I hadn't told her, or anyone else, how we were, or rather how we were not, settling in.

 Let me fill you in. You see, only part of the basement here is finished. Every time Andy deploys we try to finish something new. The "living room" has drywall on it, but it has never been mudded, sanded and painted, and a drop ceiling has never been added. So we thought that would be a good project for us to work on while Andy had this time off. We pushed furniture to the center of the room, removed pictures from the walls, and sadly, saw the dark, slightly moldy spot on the wall where (we thought) water had leaked in under the door a few years ago. Yuck. Andy decided that it would be best to take that piece of drywall off and replace it. Why put all that work into something that was nasty?

Pretty ugly, isn't it?
It gets worse...
After he pulled off the drywall, he noticed that the insulation was wet.

And behind that, the layer of wood - the outside wall - was wet too. Soaking wet. Except for the fact that there was siding to keep it contained, Andy could have pushed a hole through the wall and been outside... all the way up to about shoulder height. Not good news!

 We hired someone to take the siding off, replace the wood, put the siding back on, and seal it properly this time. But then, it snowed. And stayed 32 degrees for days and days. Plus, the guy was a friend of a friend, who worked full time and did this on the side... so could only do it on certain days. (but he was a fabulous price!) Delay, after delay, one thing after another.
 This last week it was finally warmish, and dryish, on a day he was available.
 Let the teardown begin! 
It simply crumbled under his hands. Eventually he removed the boards and installed new ones, but the super wet stuff simply fell off by itself.
 The worst of the leakage was underneath the fireplace/chimney. 
(although there was some over the door also) 
 Kinda gross, isn't it?
I am 100% sure there is a sermon in there... the wet, moldy yuckiness that is hiding underneath the plastic siding we put up to make ourselves look good. We, as humans, as Christians, we wouldn't know anything about that, would we?
 The simple procedure it would take to fix it- but how it would probably hurt, tearing all that siding off.  Having to find all the screws, one by one, to remove the moldy piece of wood. Trying to decide if some of the wood is salvageable, and if so, what do you do with it? Put it back in the same place, trying to meld it with the new? Use it for something else, giving it a new purpose in a different place? Then, you have to put all the screws back in. Once again, pain. 
 Why is it that God can never make us better without pain? 
But, I don't want to look fine, all plastic and pretty on the outside, and yet be falling apart and covered in mold just one layer down. 
 So - tear the plastic off. I trust you God to be careful and not crack it. Find all the screws, rip the disintegrating part out, and give me a new, solid, piece of wood. Quickly, before the rotting spreads to the support beams and I have a real problem. 

Okay, sermon done. Sorry!
Shall we close with a few last pictures of my children enjoying a day of learning how a house is put together? 
Zion thought it was cool to watch...
for a while.
Then just being outside was cooler!

Can't exactly call it a warm snap when Canaan can still find ice this size on the slide...
but at least it is feeling a little bit more like GA around here! 

The outside wall is fixed. Now, back to the original project of mudding, painting and putting in a ceiling. Maybe then we can "settle in"? 
I wouldn't count on it... I don't think these feet know how to settle down!  

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pride, Sense and Little Prarie Women

 My baby sister slid "Little Women" into the Blueray player this afternoon. Parts of it were "too girly" for my boys, but most of it held their attention, especially once I told Canaan that it was during the Civil War. Since we have recently studied that era in American history, he enjoyed seeing the clothing, transportation and way of life from that time.
 I think he also enjoyed seeing four sisters growing up together. That story is familiar to him already, albiet from a different century. One slightly more recent. (although he does love to comment on the fact that I was born in the 1900's!)

 Now that I am living "at home" again the stories of the growing up years flow more freely. We have always read the Little House books, Little Women and the Austen novels and commented on the amazing bond of sisterhood. The four of us couldn't help but compare ourself on occassion to those litarary models.

 Always the oldest sister was the mature, wise homebody. Slightly boring at times, but consistent.

 Second born tends to have the limelight in all the books. Full of adventure and refusing to take no as an answer, she takes the world by force.

 The third often gets ripped off. Poor Beth March dies. Mary Bennett is a total geek. Even Carrie Ingles is, in Kelsey's words, "a wimp". Thankfully, Margaret Dashwood, of Sense and Sensibility, has a little energy and pizzazz or I think Kelsey would have given up on the entire world of literature. And although she dies, Beth March gets in some really fabulous lines during her time.

 And the baby of the family? Well they tend to be just that - the baby. Loved, adored and cherished. Who can resist them?

 I think there were moments in time growing up when the four of us took those roles perhaps a little too much to heart. Emilee may have truly wanted to BE Jo March for awhile. Free spirited and refusing to conform, it was a perfect role for her. I always considered my diabetes a parallel to Mary Ingels' blindness. I was a similar age when it "hit". I think she inspired me to take it with as much grace as she did. Kelsey rebelled wholeheartedly at being the wimpy third. She worked harder then anyone I know to prove herself strong, capable and healthy rather then similar in any way to those other characters. And Mary Faith - she was perfectly willing to go with the flow. Or at least, I think so. We never thought to ask her back then. She was, after all, just the baby.
 Then we grew up, and things changed. We were not the same. We are not the same.
 But that bond, that tie that makes us sisters - it never changes.

 This story, the story of four sisters, it cries out to be written. It seems to have been written over and over, by women through several centuries now. I read one just a few years ago about four sisters, daughters of missionaries in Africa. The bond between sisters continues to be book worthy. So the words stir in my head and ache to find release in my hand. Watching "Little Women" today was invigorating. It made me cry, and hold my little sister for just a moment.

 Then it made me want to start grabbing all these stories that restlessly stir around in my head. Grab them and finally put them on paper where they belong. Where everyone else can see them.  

 I know, I know. I am breaking the rules. Jo March and Laura Ingles were both second daughters. But Emilee doesn't want to write. I do. So we'll just have to see what happens.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The storms that create the oak

 I know that just two weeks ago I was talking about adding "new tracks" to my devotion time, but I must admit that the old favorites still call my name. I have branched out some. Andy and I have been trying to read more together, so we can discuss and share what God is teaching us individually. I am reading "Jesus Freaks" to my boys, stories about people who were willing to die for their faith. (this one has been a little hard for me, simply because I have realized I loved the D.C. Talk song, and this book that grew out of it- 15 years ago. Scary!) But in my individual time I have gone back to my old stand-by. "Streams in the Desert". Simply because it is good, and no matter how many times I have read it, God touches me through it, again and again. I didn't read it last year, reading "Practicing His Prescence" and portions of "My Utmost for His Highest". But I was longing for streams of fresh water again.
This morning's reading talked about storms. Disappointments. Sickness. Friendships that end. Jobs that no longer support the family. Lose, and the repercussions that follow it. Pain, plain and simple.
 The mighty oak tree is made strong by the wind and rain that beat against it. "It is in the midnight battle with elements that the oak wins its rugged fiber and becomes the king of the forest." Are we the same way? Are we letting the storms of life make us, or break us?
 Are we becoming bent over and ugly, or standing up and letting the wind blow the dead leaves off?
  You can read Streams in the Desert online, but it is set up differently there. They are out of order, or at least in a different order then the book I have. Strangely enough, their devotion was about storms today too. "Faith grows amid storms" was the battle cry, and one I couldn't help but respond to.
 Several months ago, when we were waiting, and questioning and thinking that good things were never coming, God gave me a couple verses to hang on to. Romans 5:3-4 and James 1:2 are really quite similar, focusing on what we learn through trials, or, shall we say storms. I wrote them down and have carried them in my purse for months now. The poor little notecard is bent and tattered, and the purple ink is beginning to bleed, but the verses stay true and still give me peace.
 "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." Rom 5:3-4 Living Translation
 "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that your may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:2 NKJV

Last note:
One thing I realized that wasn't mentioned in today's devotional is that after the storm, at least here in modern times, a storm blows all the trash that was laying around into the forefront. Usually into the front yard for everyone to see. We thought the trash was mostly buried, or at least neatly confined in the back yard, inside the fence, perhaps even under the dog house where no one would ever notice it. The howling winds do more then just beat at the door, they rearrange the back yard too. After the storm, when the ground is fresh with rain, and the sun is shining again, can we be wise enough to pick up all that trash while it is blown loose and easy to get to?
 Don't let the trash settle back in and get comfortable in it's new location. Take it to the dump where it belongs and get rid of it once and for all.
 In the end, don't let the storm make you feel weighted down or overwhelmed. Choose to be refreshed and strengthened, and get to work! We are oaks. We rejoice in, and are made strong and beautiful by, the storms.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Our big snow day

We've had some snow around here. The children, and the giant children, have been having a blast around here. I have become a bit of a Facebook momma since Christmas (I got a new IPhone and have been joyfully breaking it in) but I thought it only fair to share some pics of the beautiful white powder.

 Here in Georgia we don't know what to do with snow. We only get a really good snow about once a decade, so when we do get hit, everything just shuts down. With the schools, many roads, and most jobs shut down on Monday, we enjoyed a day of peace and quiet.
 Well, maybe...
Someone was very awestruck when he woke up and saw six inches of snow outside his window.
So, the idea of peace and quiet went out the window.

Off he goes, into the wide blue, or would that be white, yonder.

 Zion thought he was big stuff being pushed by daddy on the big sled.
Mary Faith got in on the action.
This sled has been around for 30 years now. I tried to find the picture of Dad pulling me on it as a baby, but it seems to be MIA. Oh well. Just know that it held up well to Indiana winters, Colorado sledding and now some good GA fun. Second generation!
 Mom tried out the knee board
...and dad gave the Norwegian sled a trial run.
 Mary manages to look like a model, prancing down the runway, even in the snow.

So of course, I had to mimic her!
 Even Andy gave me the "hot stuff" face. Perhaps because it was so cold?
He had every right to be cold -
 He decided he wanted to be buried. Crazy man.

He does look comfy though, doesn't he?

 I had some very happy boys. 

 They LOVED the snow.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Zion's new bike

 Poor Zion. His birthday got completely skipped here in blogland. It almost got skipped in real life, with the craziness of both a move and Christmas, but we managed to sneak in a quick party for him.
 Since I was a failure of a mom and didn't post anything about how much he grew, or what a great year he had, or even any pictures of his birthday party.... I will have to insert a few pictures now, a month later!

 He got a new bike for his birthday. It's an inconvenient time of year to have a birthday, but a bike was desired, and needed. Warmer weather will come eventually, and for now we sneak in quick rides when we can.

His face when he saw it was priceless! 
Proud new owner of a bike
...and some cars too!
Zion had a jungle themed birthday party.
Although, it turned into more of a Panda party.
 We made adorable furry pandas out of miles of yarn.

MILES of yard! 

She was just too cute not to add.
We had a panda cake.
made by my amazing mother in law. Thanks Ellen!
 I am still not quite use to boys...
He devoured the head! ewwww
We even sent the guests home with a panda cookie. 

 Panda's were definitely the theme of the night!

Since then Zion has had a few chances to enjoy his bike. 

His first "wipeout"

It may be cold, but that doesn't mean the fun has to stop!