Friday, February 27, 2009

Season Over

Alas, the swim season is over and marks the end of KE's high school swimming career, such a bitter/sweet meet it was this morning. Even though both girls did a great job in the pool this morning neither one qualified to go back tomorrow for finals. God has blessed them with talent and a great year to reflect back on.

When God closes one door he always opens another, well the other door is "Track Season" starts on Monday. So they're lacing up their running shoes and will soon be running and jumping.

Did you see on the news where First Lady Obama gave Laura Bush a journal telling her this isn't the end but only the beginning? I thought that was so cool. I am thinking about giving KE one for graduation.

What doors has God opened for you when another was closed?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thank you for all the "Good Lucks"

Sorry it took me so long to update you on the Swim Conference Finals, I finally got the pictures down loaded. The pictures are a little blurry but that's what happens when you bounce your camera off payment.

KJ placed 3rd in the 50 free setting a new school record and she qualified for state in the 100 free with a new school record as well.

KE set a new school record in the 200 IM placing 9th and sixth in the 100 breast stroke.

Both girls have worked really hard this year.

Tomorrow is the first day of state competition-preliminaries. It will be a bitter/sweet meet, KE is a senior so this will be her last high school state competition.

Good luck girls and "Kick Fish Fins".

Monday, February 23, 2009

Why is it so hard?

Ecclesiastes 1:18
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief."

What's this, I thought the Bible was supposed to be encouraging? Why is God telling me the more wisdom and knowledge I have the worse life will be? I don't need more sorrow or grief in my life right now, after all I have two teenage girls in the house. If more sorrow and grief comes with more wisdom and knowledge - I'll stay ignorant.

Then I went to the bottom of the page for a clearer understanding of the verse and in a nut shell this is what God is telling me:

Only in God does life have meaning and true pleasure. Without him nothing satisfies, but with him we find satisfaction and enjoyment. True pleasure comes only when we acknowledge and revere God. One of the tools God gives us to acknowledge him and to communicate with him is through the Living Word. We need to spend time in the Word everyday. Sounds like a pretty simple task or is it?

I co-lead our Women's Group at church with a wonderful person, I will call her D. D has sharpened me and been such a blessing to me in so many ways that I couldn't even begin to count. I thank God for bringing her and her family to our church. She is such an inspiration. You can visit her blog here.

Ok, back to the story, right now we have challenged the women of the church to spend time in the "Word" everyday for 30 days. We put together suggested reading for those who like a little more structure and/or guidance, leading a short meeting after church to see how everyone is doing, and just plain encouraging them.

Five days into the challenge I get the following email from D:'s the Bible reading going?

Crap, how does she always know when I start acting like a wondering sheep that needs to be brought back to the herd. How 's the Bible reading going? What kind of a question is that? I'm one of the leaders and I'm supposed to be setting an example for the women. Now she went and asked how it was going.

How do I tell my close friend and co-leader that I've picked up the Bible twice during this challenge so far and we are on day 5?

So I responded with the following email:

I support the challenge 100% but yet the flesh wasn't as willing. I was so excited about the enthusiasm of the women in regards to the challenge,but after the meeting I went home did our Sunday thing and then went out of town to celebrate a family birthday and it ended there. I prayed about it that night but again - a brick wall. Pretty much the same story with Monday, I did listen to KGBI and they quoted some scripture, does that count? No, I imagine not. Why is this so hard?

Tuesday I started to listen to Matthew in the car, how refreshing. I still didn't have a pull to dig into the Gospels. For the past week or so I keep hearing little snippets from Ecclesiastes which is weird because it's not one of those books that usually comes to mind for me. It seems no matter where I turn - there it is. I even put it on my own blog several months ago. So Tuesday night I started reading from the book of Ecclesiastes. Last night I was playing around on my Ipod and found free pod casts that could be down loaded. I thought to myself, I wonder if they have any pod casts of the Bible? You'll never guess, the last six pod casts that were posted were Ecclesiastes chapters 1-6, individually. Ok God, I get it, I hear what you are saying, I'll start studying Ecclesiastes. So with all my technical wisdom - I gave my Ipod to kj and asked her to down load them for me.

I'm struggling with this book, it's not one I've studied before, but what God is showing me is that with out Him EVERYTHING is meaningless. I am so thankful God gave you this idea and I hope that the other women are having a "light bulb", or as in my case a "duh" moment as well.

There you have it-authenticity (or maybe just too honest).

This is part of the encouraging email I received back from D:

....Why is this so hard you ask? To that I answer...never underestimate the power of the enemy. He really doesn't have to work that hard, does he? But he sure is influential! Ecclesiastes is a great book! There are so many beautiful words and turns of phrases. The message there is amazing! Sometimes it literally takes my breath away! Stick with it. You'll be glad you did. One of the things that makes God so amazing is the fact that He gives us choices. He knows what's best for us, but He doesn't force us into anything In The Message version of the Bible it's called "the unforced rhythms of grace." It's up to you to choose to spend time in the Word or not. You won't be punished for not doing it, but you'll be blessed beyond your wildest imagination if you do.

Thank you D for being a friend.

Matthew 19:26
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man that is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

So when life appears to be impossible or meaningless ask yourself, "Have I included God?"

Not Me Monday

Welcome back to Not Me! Monday! This is a great way to start the week.

This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

God does have a since of humor :-)

I DID NOT shave my legs for a doctor I see once a year and let my husband fend for himself for the winter season.

I DID NOT go clothes shopping and get depressed because I HAVE NOT gained weight.

I DID NOT have a tooth filled this last week and I surely WASN'T nervous at all. After all - I'm an adult.

I DID NOT help out on the phones at work this last week and I certainly DID NOT transfer people to cyber-space.

I AM NOT sitting at the computer putting my "Not Me" list together when I should be folding laundry or paying bills. That's so NOT me.

I'll stop here, you don't need to know all of the stupid things I DON'T DO. After all what might you think of me? :-)

Have a great week.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thanking God For Family Time

These pictures were taken in June of 2008 when we went on a mission trip to Jamaica.

As I was getting ready to write this post I realized that my two teenagers are never in the same picture together. What's with that!

So this is my way of getting back, I'll post silly pictures of them. You will notice that I am taking author's privileges and not posting my snorkeling picture.

My oldest graduates in June and will be leaving for college in the fall. As I read so many other blogs about young families it reminds me time and time again how my girls have grown and that our little family of four is growing and sprouting wings - as it should.

God blessed us with a great night last night, it all started with dinner. Our goal, regardless of how busy we are, is to eat dinner as a family every night. We hit that goal about 90% of the time which I think is great.

The wonderful husband I have made dinner as he usually does. He likes to try new things once in a while, last night was one of those nights. We had bread less chicken cordon bleu (which was great), frozen string beans (not so great, but we could live with them), and instant sweet potatoes. Yes I am hearing you now, some of you are saying ok sweet potatoes are good, but I, along with my family, are with the other half......GROSS! Some things are just not meant to be mashed or instant, they tasted like mashed potatoes with honey in them.

It was quite comical. KJ's portion never made it to the table, and the rest of us gave them a good sporting try but the facial expressions said it all. We had a great laugh about the meal, thankful we had food to eat and made a mental note NOT to have that meal again.

Dishes were cleaned up and we adjourned to the living room to watch American Idol, yes as a family. KE, my 17 year old, actually did her homework in the same room as us AND interacted. That was a wonderful hour that God blessed us with. My entire family together in the same room agreeing to watch the same program - and yes we were still laughing about those sweet potatoes. We talked, gave our opinion about the singing, played with the dogs, and everything else that just goes on when the family is in the same room.

At 8:00 the show was over and so was my family time. My husband and KE went to run an errand. KJ and I started to watch our weekly Ghost Hunters, until I feel asleep in the chair, and then at 9:30 she went to bed.

I thank God for all those precious moments. After KE moves out and life progresses, I will look back on those times together with fond memories, a smile in my heart, and a tear in my eye.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Welcome to another addition on "Not Me!" Monday.

I DID NOT pig out on a big mac and fries in honor of my daughter when her boyfriend broke up with her leaving her a weeping mess. I am NOT an emotional eater.

I DID NOT let my 15 year old drive to a friends house and she DID NOT proceed to lock me out of the car with the engine running after we got there. I DID NOT have to call my husband, (who wasn't on a walk) to come unlock the car for me. Thank goodness I did (did't) wear the slippers I thought about wearing.

I DID NOT wear a pair of my husbands socks because I was too lazy to dig through the basket for a pair of my own. After all I ALWAYS sort/fold and put away all of the socks and underware as soon as they come out of the dryer.

I WAS NOT sitting in church and go to put my mic on my ear and realized I had tucked it into my paints when I went to the bathroom. I didn't try to just sit there and pull it out with out anyone noticing. The mic was not caught up so bad that I had to go to the bathroom before I sang to figure things out.

Gee, glad I didn't do all that.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Conference - Going to finals

Sorry guys, time for a little mommy brag time on her little blessings.

For those of you who don't know me and my family, my girls have been swimming for 11 years. I guess I gave birth to fish :-)

Due to a snow storm on Friday our conference swim meet was rescheduled, preliminaries today and finals on Monday.

This conference includes eight high schools. To qualify for finals you must place in the top six positions in your event. Those six swimmers will come back on Monday (Finals) and swim for medals.

There are about 20 swimmers per event (four heats).

My oldest daughter (who graduates this year) placed in the top six in the 100 yard breast stroke, pictured above.

My second daughter (sophomore) placed in the top six in both the 50 Free Style and the 100 Free Style.

Both girls are on two relay teams that will also compete in the finals.

I am so thankful that God chose me to be their mother.

Girls - good luck at finals and better luck at state.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Broken Heart

The thing I hate most about parenting is when my child's heart is broken and there's not a darn thing I can do about it. I feel so helpless.
You carry your child for 40 weeks, at this point it is just between you, God, and your blessed child. No one one can share the moment with you when you feel your her move for the first time. You can just hug yourself and know that she is with you 24/7. After she was born I felt lost the first night, kind of empty knowing she was not in my tummy anymore, now I have to share her - what a blessing of motherhood.
When they learn to walk, they stumble and you're right there to pick them up and get them back on their feet again. When they start to learn to ride their bike and they fall , you're right there to pick them up give them a kiss, put a band aid on their boo boo and put them right back on that bike again.
When they start school you comfort the tears of fear. There is no better feeling then to have your child look up to you after a hug with a tear stained face and say see you after school. Then I leave crying.
Most of the time we can help to heal our children's pain with love, hugs, and maybe even a cookie. But today is different, this is a pain I can't make go away for my daughter - the break up of her first love. I have tears as I write this post knowing I can't make her feel any better. This is part of life - stupid boys anyway....just kidding.
After 14 months of dating the relationship was brought to an end last night, I'm hoping they will remain friends but who knows with teenagers. I am trying to be objective about the whole thing after all I am only hearing one side of the story. But it doesn't make it any easier when your daughter wakes you up at 12:30 a.m. to tell you she can't stop crying.
This was not a relationship that was going to lead to marriage. After all, she is only 15 and my husband and I knew this would not last forever. We were dreading this day actually. They couldn't go out on a date - just the two of them. They mainly watched movies and hung out at each others house, supported each other during their sporting events and talk/text for hours at a time. However, with all this in mind it doesn't stop the feelings of a 15 year old girl and her first love.
I'm sure today will be very hard for her at school. It makes me cry every time she texts me and tells me she can't stop crying. Don't think I am being cruel for making her go to school, she never asked to stay home.
I ask for prayers of strength and courage for her.
I also pray she will be able to stay focused at the swim conference that is being held tomorrow and Saturday. She is seeded to place very well and she wants to do better then she is seeded, but it will take a lot of prayer and focus to get her back into the right frame of mind. This conference is important to her because it will determine placement for state competition.
Between swim competition and Valentines day on Saturday - timing stinks....... life........
To Katie - just remember:
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
I love you Katie ! ! !

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Unconditional Acceptance

Sorry if you have seen this story before circulating in various emails. I thought it was a good reminder of unconditional acceptance.

Accept one another, then just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Romans 15:7

I am a mother of three (ages 14, 12, 3) and have recently completed my college degree.

The last class I had to take was Sociology. The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with.

Her last project of the term was call "Smile". The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions.

I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway. So, I thought this would be a piece of cake, literally.

Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald's on a crisp March morning. It was just our way of sharing some special playtime with our son.

We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away, and then even my husband did.

I did not move an overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved. As I turned around I smelled a horrible "dirty body" smell, and there standing behind me were two homeless men.

As I looked down at the short gentleman, closest to me, he was "smiling". His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of God's Light as he searched for acceptance. He said, "Good Day" as he counted the few coins he had been clutching.

The second man was fumbling with his hands as he stood behind his friend. I realized the second man was mentally challenged and the blue eyed gentleman was his salvation. I held my tears as I stood there with them.

The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted. He said, "Coffee is all Miss" because that was all they could afford. (If they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. he just wanted to be warm).

Then I really felt it - the compulsion was so great I almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes. I smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give me two more breakfast meals on a separate tray. I then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. I put the tray on the table and laid my hand on the blue eyed gentleman's cold hand.

He looked up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said "thank you".

I leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, "I didn't do this for you. God is here working through me to give you hope."

That day showed me the pure Light of God's sweet love.

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Matthew 25:40

Monday, February 9, 2009

"Not Me!" Mondays

Welcome back to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

God does have a since of humor :-)

I DID NOT get up at 3:40 a.m. to try and figure out which smoke/carbon monoxide detector was running low on battery. It DID NOT take me 45 minutes to figure it out only to find out that once the battery is removed the things continues to beep. Why is it those things wait until the wee hours of the morning to run low????? (This whole time, my dog was under the covers with my husband shaking like a tree in a tornado.)

I DID NOT leave said detectors on the counter with out batteries deciding to wait until the weekend to deal with them. After all that would be very irresponsible. Ok, I did leave the carbon monoxide detector running by the girls bedrooms. I guess I'm not totally irresponsible.

I DID NOT proceed to over sleep and then take my make up with me to finish getting ready at work.

I DID NOT use this situation to write a devotion, see Sundays blog.

I DID NOT have three high school swim meets to attend this week and a husband out of town along with something else scheduled for the other days/nights. I DID NOT neglect my blog for this reason. After all, all I was doing from 11:00 pm - 6:00 am was chasing beeps or sleeping.

I DID NOT drop my camera at the 3rd swim meet and watch it bounce twice on the concrete stands. My camera IS (NOT) working great and DOES NOT have to be taken to the camera shop to be repaired. I DID NOT screw up my camera right before conference/state competition.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Beeps in the night

It's 3:30 in the morning, I'm awakened by something, the dog is trembling - what's going on? Then I heard it, the stupid battery low beep from either the smoke detector or the carbon monoxide detector. Why does it wait until the middle of the night to go off? Okay, it's a little annoying but I think I can sleep through this. It beeps again, the dog is trembling even more. I though he was going to have a little puppy heart attack.

My husband gets up, takes the batteries out of the carbon monoxide detector- no more beeps. We settle back into bed, the dog is still trembling but hey I can ignore that and go back to sleep. A few minutes later...yup you guessed it...BEEP. I listened to it beep two more times and finally decided to get up.

Now I'm standing in the bathroom hold the carbon monoxide detector starring at it waiting to see if it will beep. It beeps, how is that, there are no batteries in it? With all the wisdom I could mustard up at 3:30 in the morning I shoved the thing in my dresser drawer - take that.

I walk out into the hall and BEEP, it's the smoke detector down stairs, good grief. I precede to go down stairs hauling a chair with me so I can reach the stupid thing. I unplug it, take the battery out and place the thing on the counter only to hear BEEP. Now it's the one upstairs, I go down stairs get my chair and haul it upstairs and dismantle the smoke detector and set it on the counter with it's counter part only to hear the BEEP again- it was maddening.

By now it's 4:05 am, I am not my best at that hour for problem solving - how can this thing be going off with out power? The thought had ran through my mind to put it out in the garage. I'm looking at the indicator lights on the detector and notice some writing in the same color, it said "Push to Hush". Oh man, could it really be that easy? Yup, I pushed it, it beeped (I wasn't smart enough to move the detector away from my head before I pushed it, but my hearing is coming back) and you got it - NO MORE BEEPS. Praise God.....

How many time has God tried to get our attention only to have us roll over and go back to sleep?

In 1 Samuel 3:2-10 God is trying to get Samuel's attention:

2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple [a] of the LORD, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the LORD called Samuel.
Samuel answered, "Here I am." 5 And he ran to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me."
But Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down." So he went and lay down.

6 Again the LORD called, "Samuel!" And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me."
"My son," Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down."

7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD : The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.

8 The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me."
Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, "Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, 'Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.' " So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!"
Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."

How do we know when God is trying to get our attention? Sometimes it's just a nagging feeling that won't go away. Sometimes He uses subtle and not so subtle situations in our lives. We need to be prepared to hear God and respond when He gets our attention, just like Samuel.

The enemy uses business to his advantage-we tend to think the busier we are the more successful we are. In reality when we keep ourselves too busy we don't take time to praise God, spend time reading/meditating on His Word or just being quite so we can hear when God is calling. It's time we prioritize our time and put God first.

What are your beeps in the night that you are trying to ignore?

Is God trying to get your attention and you're just rolling over and going back to sleep?

Are you looking for the "Push to Hush" button?

When God calls on us we need to be ready to here Him and say
"Speak, for your servant is listening."

We are never alone.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Random Pic Saturday

It's Saturday, that means time for a Random pic challenge. This week's theme is go to your 10th picture folder and choose the 5th to last pic, so here is it!

I love all the colors of fall. The picture doesn't show the true beauty of this tree. I can't wait until the leaves come back this spring.

Now head over to this mommy's blog and play along!

Monday, February 2, 2009

"Not Me!" Monday

Welcome back to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

God does have a since of humor :-)

I DID NOT go to the breakroom with a container of crackers expecting to make a glass of iced tea.

I DID NOT go to my book club with out my book.

I DID NOT make my husband turn around and drive two miles back to my car to make sure I locked it.

I DID NOT run into Walmart thinking I go get by with out a cart.

I DID NOT find a spelling error on a comment and then post another comment appoligizing for my spelling error.

You really just have to laugh at life.