Wednesday, June 29, 2011

God's Word is a Light Unto my Feet...

When I was at the doctor's office a couple of weeks ago, I ran into a woman that I hadn't seen in years. We got to talking about things, and I was explaining to her our situation in moving to Florida. She reminded me that God promises to shine a light to our feet, not a spotlight to show us all the way down the path. I was grateful to her for her words of wisdom, and I am again today.

Do you remember that we found two houses on my trip down to Florida? We put a very low-ball offer in on the first one, and the bank countered back with a price that is still out of our reach. That's okay; we see the hand of God in this. No problem, we'll just put in an offer on the second house. Uh-oh! It already has two offers on it. So we're adding ours to the pot, too, but where does this leave us? John has looked at (and ruled out) most of the other houses in the area that we can afford.

We've also talked about renting a house so I can move down there with the children. Our family would all be together again, and we could take our time looking at houses. We found out yesterday the reason that people don't want to give leases shorter than six months -- they have to pay sales tax if the lease is less than six months. So what are we to do? The house we need now is different than the house we'll need in six months when this baby comes. (Yes, this baby has to have his own room; babies are too loud to stay with us in our bedroom.) I suppose that we could adapt, and maybe that's what we'll need to do.

I'm back to the wise words of my friend: God promises to shine a light for my feet, illuminating my next step or two. He does not promise to shine a spotlight to show me what will happen next year, next month, or even sometimes next week. All I can do is wait and see, and keep walking and trusting Him.

Meanwhile, I am praying hard that our offer will be accepted on the house!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Book Review: A Vision of Lucy by Margaret Brownley


A Vision of Lucy by Margaret Brownley tells the story of Lucy, a young woman who lives in the 1880's and loves photography. No one seems to appreciate her desire to become a professional photographer, although she does have many friends in the small town where she lives with her father and brother. Then a mysterious man rides into her life; David Wolf is full of secrets, but Lucy can't help her attraction to him. Of course, he falls in love with her, too. Of course, there are many hurdles to be crossed before they can marry, but, of course, they manage to get over them.

I have to admit that I was disappointed in this book. Yes, it was a romance, and maybe I expected too much from it. But it was full of cliche after cliche. And it was too much when the author described how Wolf filled out his clothes. It was obvious from the beginning what would happen through the book: there were two other women who loved other men, and guess what! During the course of the book, those men "came to their senses." And the secrets that almost everyone (it seemed) in the town had? Goodness! Has Brownley never been in a small town? Secrets don't last long there! The best part of this book was the honest depiction of Lucy's faith; she prayed a lot yet didn't expect God to perform miracles. Regardless of that, don't bother with this book unless you like predictable plot lines.

I want to thank BookSneeze for my copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Trip to Florida

I drove down to Florida this weekend. I left my children here with Audrey and my mother, and this was the first time that I have been away from my children except for the times when I've been in the hospital having another one. Yes, I missed them, but it was kind of nice to have some time alone with John. The purposes for our trip were to look at a few houses -- to buy or to rent, visit a church, and just look around the area some.

The house hunt went well, except that we were unable to go into any rental houses. But we did look at three houses. One would not do at all, but two are possibilities. One is out of our price range, but it's a foreclosure, so we're hoping the bank will take our low-ball offer. However, if the bank rejects our extremely low offer, we really like the other house, too, and we'll just take that one. We figure that if God wants us to have the bigger, more expensive house, we'll get it with our low offer. If not, well, we won't! Both houses are fairly close together and in a good location -- about 20 minutes from John's work, 20 minutes from the "big" city (which is actually smaller than the small city we live in), and the church we will probably attend.

There is only one Presbyterian (PCA) church in the area, and we were really hoping that we would like it when we visited it yesterday. It's a little different that what we're used to and will require a little adjustment. For the most part, though, we liked it. As far as we can tell from the website and the one service we attended, it is theologically correct. Also, it has a traditional worship style which we like. We look forward to returning. A big bonus is the fact that there are lots and lots of small children, so ours ought to fit in well. As a matter of fact, this church is larger than the one we're attending now.

The information we had been given and our first visit led us to believe that this area would not have much to offer. We were wrong. We were surprised at what all we found, and the area seems to be growing. There is a larger city (still fairly small) about half an hour away (well, I guess an hour from our potential house) that has even more options, so I think we'll have everything we need or want without having to drive too far.

What did you do this weekend?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Finished Object Friday

Have you noticed that I haven't been participating in Finished Object Friday lately, like for the past two months? There's something funny about my first trimester when I'm pregnant: crocheting makes me (even more) nauseous, and I can't even look at a crochet magazine. (I've got a couple waiting for me to peruse, as soon as this baby lets me.) This weirdness started when I was pregnant with Rachel and has attacked me with this pregnancy as well. With Rachel, I just bit the bullet and kept on crocheting. With this pregnancy, well, I don't know if I'm older and wiser (realizing that taking a couple of months off isn't a big deal), or if I just feel that much worse, but I just stopped crocheting. I've missed it, yes, but not enough to deal with the extra nausea it brings.

Anyway, I had almost finished this blanket when I discovered that I was pregnant. Two weeks ago, I started feeling well enough to start crocheting again, so I picked this up and finished it. The picture doesn't do the blue and white variegation justice, so you'll just have to take my word for it. I have to admit that I'm glad it's done because I'm tired of looking at it.

Laura feels the same way about her sewing when she's pregnant; do you experience anything like this when you're pregnant? Some kind of craft that makes your nausea even worse? Or are we just different?

For more Finished Object Friday, head over to Fresh from the Chari Tree.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Daniel's New Thing

Daniel has started telling me that he doesn't love me anymore. Almost always, this is preceded by my punishing him or not letting him do something he wants to do. My reaction probably makes me the world's worst mother, but honestly, I think it's cute. I mean, what's not to love about my three year old son saying, "I don't wuv you anymore, Mommy." Of course, I don't laugh at him or let him know that I think it's funny. Usually, I just reply that I love him. When he is especially serious about it, I look him straight in the eye and tell him, "It doesn't matter what you do or say, I will always love you." And he usually replies, "But I don't wuv you." And I think, "Tough, kid. It doesn't matter. I discipline you because I love you; if I didn't care about you, I would let you run around like a wild banshee."

Of course, I'm not at all worried about Daniel right now. I do think it's funny, though, that Sarah Beth has never told me that she doesn't love me. I wonder if Rachel will. However, I think my reaction to Daniel-as-a-teenager might be a little different.

Have you had your child tell you that he doesn't love you anymore? How did you react?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sometimes I Wonder

Sometimes, I wonder that, if I let my children watch more television, they might make fewer messes.


Sometimes, I wonder that, if I let my children watch more television, my couches might stay intact.


However, I never wonder if the messes and the destroyed couch are worth it because I love watching their imaginations run wild!


Monday, June 20, 2011

An Answered Prayer

I worked this weekend at a different store than usual. Why? It's a long story, and I won't bore you with it. However, this store tends to be busier than my usual store, and I could tell. We filled quite a few more prescriptions on Saturday than I am used to filling. After lunch when things quieted down a little bit, I heard the technicians discussing our day. They said that it had been slow for a Saturday. I said, "I know the reason!" They looked at me puzzled, and I said, "On my way here this morning, I prayed hard for a slow, easy day, and God had mercy on me." I know that God does not always answer our prayers as we wish He would, but I have to admit that I'm so very glad that He did answer this one according to my desires!

How was your weekend? Any answered prayers?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Spirit of God, Descend Upon my Heart

We sang this hymn last Sunday, and it really spoke to me. The prayers it contains are so practical and so real. "And make me love Thee as I ought to love." Honestly, I cannot do it on my own, even such a thing as loving God; I need His help to love Him appropriately. "Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh" because I forget so often. This whole hymn mirrors the prayers I ought to pray but don't even know that I need to pray. God help me even in such small things as knowing what to pray, what to ask for.


Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move;
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art;
And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
No sudden rending of the veil of clay,
No angel visitant, no opening skies;
But take the dimness of my soul away.

Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh;
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear.
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

Hast Thou not bid me love Thee, God and King?
All, all Thine own, soul, heart and strength and mind.
I see Thy cross; there teach my heart to cling:
O let me seek Thee, and O let me find!

Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,
One holy passion filling all my frame;
The kindling of the heaven descended Dove,
My heart an altar, and Thy love the flame.

word by George Croley

Friday, June 17, 2011

Confessions

The other day when I asked if there was anything you wanted to know about me, Marva asked about my daily schedule, my cleaning schedule, and how I do my grocery shopping. It's time for the first confession: right now I'm not doing anything except laundry. How is that possible? That calls for more confessions, but here goes. (I hope you still like me at the end of this post.)

I have a lady who does a deep clean on my house every month or two or three, whenever she can fit me into her schedule. I just have to keep it neat and clean in between times. So I do clean toilets and showers...usually. However, since I've been feeling so badly lately, and since our house is now on the market, I'm hoping that she can fit me in every two or three weeks. Speaking of which, she's due, and I need to give her a call....

The last time I went grocery shopping I think was in April, and I wanted to be sick right there in the middle of aisle eight. Yes, I remember exactly which aisle it was. Somehow, I managed to finish the shopping, but I asked John if he would do it for me. He agreed, and he's pretty good at doing the shopping. Meanwhile, my budget has gone out the window, and we're just buying the things we need every week. I'm not doing any stocking up for two reasons: 1. we don't want to move a bunch of stockpiled goods, and 2. I can't stand to look at the sales papers. (They make me feel ill.) Yes, even this weekend when John came home from Florida, he did the grocery shopping. Hopefully, I can take it back over soon - maybe first thing in the morning when I feel my best? I don't know yet.

As for my daily schedule, it just depends on what we're doing. The kids are taking swimming lessons three mornings a week, and I still have my help coming a couple of times a week. When she's here, sometimes I just rest and sometimes I'll run an errand or two. It just depends.

Marva, does that answer your questions? Are we still friends?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blueberry Pickin'

We went blueberry pickin' with some friends yesterday morning. I didn't want to pick too many since we're moving soon (hopefully!), and I know they won't travel well. But I really wanted to do this since fresh blueberries are wonderful, as are blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes, and of course, Mrs. Darling's Blueberry Coffee Cake. (I think I even have some ricotta cheese in the fridge.)

Sarah Beth was a big help filling our buckets.

Daniel, however, was not. Every single blueberry he picked ended up in his mouth. Even the ones that our friends put in his bucket, he ate.

One of our little friends enjoyed feeding Rachel some blueberries. If Rachel were walking, she wouldn't have to be in the stroller. When I told her this, she just smiled at me like she didn't care.

I just think this is a cute picture. Look at both little girls with mouths full of blueberries.

Have you been berry pickin' this summer?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Swimming Lessons

Laura and I have engaged some family friends of ours to give our children swimming lessons. Both of the girls are teenagers, and I think this is giving them some experience while we all have a good time.

Here is the whole group.

Sarah Beth and Daniel waiting for their turn and enjoying playing in the water.

Sarah Beth laughing at Laura's oldest's antics. I firmly believe in positive peer pressure, and it is a very good thing for Sarah Beth.

Daniel about to blow bubbles. Yea! They're both putting their faces in the water.

Rachel patiently waiting her turn. After the lesson, Laura and I can get in with the younger children and play, too.

Sarah Beth's turn. She's about to go into the pool and do something (I don't remember what.)

We have such a good time at these lessons, and the children are learning something very important: how to swim. I don't care if they never really do much in the water, but I want them to be able to swim if they should fall in.

How are you spending your summer days?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

First OB Appointment


I had my first OB appointment yesterday at fourteen weeks. While my doctor was absolutely fine with my waiting so long to be seen, the nurse apparently thought I was nuts. On the way to the exam room, she asked me if I had known I was pregnant. Um, yeah. I also had an ultrasound which showed one healthy baby measuring at 14 weeks and four days. That pushed up my due date from December 13 (which I had calculated) to December 8. Yea! I lost eight days already off my pregnancy! Everything looks fine, and I am so happy that my doctor doesn't want to treat me as a high risk pregnancy just because I passed that magical age. However, she did feel the need to offer me an amniocentesis, etc. just in case.... I had already thought about it and talked with John, and I told her, "No. Even if something is 'wrong' with the baby, I am still going to have it." I'm glad that that was that, and she put no more pressure on me.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Promised Picture

Well, here is the pregnancy picture I promised you last week. I'm only fourteen weeks, but I feel like I'm much bigger than that. John and I both think that I look more like I'm five or six months. (Yes, I'm sure about the timing.) I have my first OB appointment this morning along with an ultrasound, so I'm looking forward to seeing my baby for the first time. I wish John could be here, too, but he's back down in Florida at his new job.

I'm sorry for all of the book reviews lately. I don't want this blog to turn into a "book review" blog. As much as I enjoy reading, I stay away from blogs that only talk about books. Of course, I enjoy reading an occasional post about a good book; that's how I find new books to read.

While I'm thinking about it, is there anything in particular you would like for me to write about? Any question you'd like to ask?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Anchor Holds

I've gotten away from sharing hymns on Sundays, and I don't really know why. I hope to continue this series more frequently. If nothing else, I enjoy reading them as I post them! Here's another one that I haven't sung in a long time.

Though the angry surges roll
On my tempest driven soul,
I am peaceful, for I know,
Wildly though the winds may blow,
I’ve an anchor safe and sure,
That can evermore endure.

Refrain

And it holds, my anchor holds:
Blow your wildest, then, O gale,
On my bark so small and frail;
By His grace I shall not fail,
For my anchor holds, my anchor holds.

Mighty tides about me sweep,
Perils lurk within the deep,
Angry clouds o’ershade the sky,
And the tempest rises high;
Still I stand the tempest’s shock,
For my anchor grips the rock.

Refrain

I can feel the anchor fast
As I meet each sudden blast,
And the cable, though unseen,
Bears the heavy strain between;
Through the storm I safely ride,
Till the turning of the tide.

Refrain

Troubles almost ’whelm the soul;
Griefs like billows o’er me roll;
Tempters seek to lure astray;
Storms obscure the light of day:
But in Christ I can be bold,
I’ve an anchor that shall hold.

Refrain

words by William C. Martin

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Booking It: June Edition


I didn't get much read off my original reading list this month, so I think I need to be more intentional in my reading. And I didn't read as much as last month, but that's a good thing! It means that I'm feeling better and able to do more around the house. But I have missed all of the reading. Anyway, here are the books I did read this month:
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. I wasn't exactly sure what I had gotten when I received my copy of this book. I mean, what kind of mystery has an eleven year old girl as the heroine? But this book was amazing! It takes place in 1950's England, a few years after World War II. When Flavia discovers a dying man in the cucumber garden, she thinks, "I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn't. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life." Flavia's father is arrested and charged with the man's murder, so she sets out to discover who really did it and why. The attention to detail in this book struck me again and again; I really felt like I was in England in the 1950's. And Flavia is an astonishing little girl, one that you can't help but like despite her love for poisons and such. This book is definitely worth reading.
  • I read The Ale Boy's Feast by Jeffrey Overstreet, and you can read my review here. It's the fourth (and last) in a series, and while I haven't read the previous books, I really enjoyed this one.
  • You can read my review of MacArthur by Mitchell Yockelsson and Stephen Mansfield here. Obviously, this book is a biography about the great hero of the World War II Pacific Theater, and it's an informative read.
  • You can read my review of The Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf here which is a romantic retelling of the story of Esther. It's a fun read.
  • I also reviewed The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan yesterday as a part of Booking It, and you can read my review here.
Currently, I am reading:
  • Culture Making by Andy Crouch which show us how we (you and I, not some nebulous "we") can change our own cultures.
  • Other People's Houses by Lore Segal which tells the story of one Jewish child who rode the Children's Transport from Austria to Great Britain before the start of World War II.
  • Jeremy: the Tale of an Honest Bunny by Jan Karon. This is the first "chapter" book I've read with my children, and so far we're enjoying it.
I'll be sure and review these books next month...assuming I've finished them. To see what others have been reading, head over to Life as Mom: Booking It.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Booking it: A Pilgrim's Progress


I grew up reading and rereading The Little Pilgrim's Progress by Helen Taylor which, as I recall, is a fairly accurate rendition of The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan for children. So I'm familiar with the story, and it actually holds a special place in my heart. I've read Pilgrim's Progress before, but it's a classic, a Christian classic, so it's always worth another reading. I was pleased to add it to my reading list for this year when I saw that Jessica at Life as Mom had it on her "required" list.

I really, really enjoyed reading this book again. The truth it contains is timeless, and there is so much to be learned from it. I know that some people may be put off by the Old English that it was written in, but I enjoyed that part, too. Instead of reading through a passage, the difference in language made me slow down and really read, so I didn't miss anything (or much anyway).

I was put off a little bit by the long conversations between the characters, but when I thought about it some more, I saw the necessity. Bunyan uses these talks to teach his readers truth. Without these conversations, the story just becomes a journey from here to there without expounding on the whys and wherefores of the journey. I have to admit that a little more action would have been nice! On the other hand, in my real spiritual journey, those long stretches of quiet are awfully nice!!

When I finished Pilgrim's Progress, I started to reread the portion about Christiana...except that it wasn't a reread. I had thought that I had read it before, but I actually hadn't. So I was excited to dive into a new part of this book. Christiana's journey isn't as dangerous and exciting as Christian's; God takes care of widows and orphans. And Christiana's guide Great-heart fights her battles for her as any good man should do. It was fun watching her boys grow into men although it did seem to happen quickly. One minute they all seemed to be young boys, and the next minute they were getting married! I guess that's how it happens in real life, too, isn't it?

If you haven't read these two books, I recommend them. The story is interesting, and the theology is amazing. You should learn a lot by reading these books.

To see what others have to say about these books, head over to Life as Mom: Booking It with Pilgrim's Progress.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Book Review: The Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf


The Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf is a retelling of the story of Esther. Most of my readers are probably already familiar with this story, but in case you aren't, here is a summary. The king of Persia put away his first wife Vashti and needed a replacement for her. Young women from all over the empire were rounded up and brought to him as a possible new wife. Out of all of these women, Esther, a Jew, is chosen. God uses her in her new position to keep her people from being utterly destroyed in a pogrom.

I enjoyed this book. The love story between Ahasuerus and Esther is touching and believable. The relationship between Esther and Mordecai is also well done. It was fun looking into the thoughts and feelings that Esther had as she was brought unwillingly into the king's harem. While there are some historical inaccuracies, the author deals with them in a note at the end of the book. I think she should have done so at the beginning, however, so that I would know they were coming. All in all, this is a great book, and I recommend it.

I want to thank BookSneeze for my Kindle-copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday's Tip: How to Make a Heart-Shaped Cake


When Sarah Beth saw a picture of a heart-shaped cake in Ann Byrn's The Cake Mix Doctor, I was nervous. When she said that she wanted one for her birthday, I almost panicked. How in the world do you make a cake in the shape of a heart...without buying an expensive cake pan? I took a couple of deep breaths, looked at the directions, and realized that it really wasn't a big deal at all. Interested? Keep reading. (I'm sorry I don't have more pictures; I forgot to take them as I went along, but you'll get the idea.)

First, you make a regular cake mix batter. Then you pour it into a square pan and a round pan. I used an 8x8 square dish and a regular cake pan. After the cakes cool and are out of the pans, you cut the round cake in half. Then you add the halves to the square cake, kind of like mouse ears.

Then you make icing. If you're a good mother, you let your children lick the spoon and beater (while you lick the bowl...but only if you're pregnant!).


Then you ice the cake with your frosting, and you have a heart-shaped cake!

Believe me, if I can do it, you can, too.

What fun cakes have you made for your children?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig

There's no place like home; there's no place like home; there's no place like home.

You get the idea. We've been out of town, and we are so glad to be home. Since John had this week off between jobs, we decided to visit his mother. We spent Monday putting the finishing touches on the house for showing and getting ready to leave. We drove all day on Tuesday from Georgia to Louisiana. It's a long drive, but we had a couple of nice stops. We met one of John's college friends for lunch who ironically was headed to our hometown for the week. We, also, visited with a couple who were John's neighbors when he grew up in Mobile. We hadn't seen them since before we were married, and this time we showed up with three children (and one on the way) in tow. We have been faithful with Christmas cards and birth announcements.

We spent Wednesday and Thursday with John's family: his mother Anna and her husband Carl, and John's brother Greg and his wife Renee. We had some yummy seafood for supper Wednesday night because we can't get good seafood here (and John is somewhat of a seafood snob). Then Carl cooked crawfish etoufee (spelling?) for us Thursday night, and that was a nice treat. (Remind me to tell you about the time that John first cooked for me.) Other than that, we just sat around and visited which was a nice way to catch up. Greg and Renee have a horse farm, so we enjoyed being around the horses. Sarah Beth and Daniel don't remember when we had a (much smaller) horse farm, so it was nice to show them kind of what it was like. (We forgot the camera, so I'm sorry that there aren't any pictures.)

Then we spent all day Friday driving home. This time we didn't stop to visit anyone, so the trip only took thirteen hours. Only.

Saturday, we were all cranky. Every single one of us was tired and didn't feel well except Sarah Beth. She was just as sweet and chipper as ever. Thankfully, no one wanted to come see the house because it was a wreck. That's my goal for today: putting the house back together from our trip (and catching up on your blogs). (While we were gone, though, three people came to look at it!)

John left yesterday after church for Florida, and he starts his new job today. We're going to miss him, but there's just not anywhere in that small town for us to live. Please pray that our house sells quickly so that our family can be reunited soon. Of course, John will be traveling back home on the weekends, but we'll miss him while he's gone.

I didn't mean for this post to be so long. Sorry! I haven't forgotten about Sarah Beth's heart-shaped birthday cake, and I hope (hope!) to post some pictures tomorrow.

What were you up to last week?