Project 365 – Day 28 (Here & There)

I woke up feeling very down and discouraged this morning (which seems sad since it’s the Lord’s Day and should be filled with rejoicing). I went to bed at a decent hour so it wasn’t a sleep-deprivation reaction. I think I was disappointed at how little I had accomplished on Saturday, weary with thoughts of a busy day, and overwhelmed that Monday was rapidly approaching and with it, a week full of homeschooling and life’s activities.

After a hot shower (which, alone, practically makes life bearable) I was pleased to see Tim in the bedroom, reading his book. I walked over to him, sat down, and probably looked as lifeless as I felt. Without me saying anything, Tim took my hand and said, “Shall we pray for the day?” I tried to ask him later how he knew that was just what I needed and he didn’t have a concrete answer. It was an action, I think, that comes out of a sensitivity to his role as spiritual leader of our family. He knows how to cheer me up with words – I’ve often asked for a ‘Tim Pep Talk’ – and he is a great listener but the thing that had real power to change my attitude and situation was not words or a listening ear but PRAYER! Tim recognized that and met my unspoken request with authority and leadership.

What a blessing!

Did I immediately feel cheerful and bouncy? No. Did my “To Do” list magically disappear? No. Did my heart tune in to God’s purpose for the day? Yes. Did the Lord renew my spirit and give me a peace about the day? Absolutely.

We went on to have a great Sunday. It was full of people and Bible study and little ones. Sunday School was excellent. Tim led us through the second half of I Corinthians 6. I worked in the preschool room during the church service. Daniel came in and helped me – another blessing. Having him there brings an extra energy to the hour. He plays with the children, separates trouble makers, passes out snacks, and is just all around a tremendous helper. I am always glad to have him assist me in the class.

Sarah in SS

Sarah had a blast in her class.

After church, Tim and the children did all the lunch preparation so I could tackle the Christmas decorations. The Lord answered my prayers for a joyful spirit and I cheerfully (and speedily) got everything put away. Joshua hauled all the bins out the garage, helped me move the couch away from the wall, and then loaded Christmas containers into place. He also put away the folding table that was cluttering up the living room. Tim found spots for the smaller ornament boxes. The work on the garage continues.

We watched Savannah Smiles during lunch – an old movie, made in the early 1980′s. It’s a sweet story with a poignant ending that had us all in tears.

savannah smiles

What caught us all completely off guard was Sarah. After the movie was over and we were cleaning up, I saw Sarah on Cream Puff crying. Thinking she had pinched her finger or hurt herself, I went over to find out what was wrong. Finally she told me, in strangled words, “The movie!” What a sweetie pie! She was sad about the ending when the men have to say goodbye to the little girl and end up going back to prison. Personally, I wasn’t aware that she was cognizant enough of the movie’s plot to have such a tender reaction. Tim hugged her tight and gave her his “happy ending” version which cheered us all up.

tim and sarah

Tim managed to get a smile out of Sarah.

Tim and I decided to preview the Love and Respect dvd for the evening’s Bible study. It worked out perfectly – I cleaned the kitchen and made pizza dough while Tim took notes on this week’s marriage session. We’ve been rather unsatisfied with the discussion questions in the workbook (although it does have some great supplemental scripture passages which I think are worth reading) so we thought we would write some of our own. Tim was planning to work in the nursery during the video time so it was an opportunity for him to watch the DVD and keep up with the material.

We had a potluck and ‘business’ meeting before Small Group. I made 6 full size pizzas (if I was Emily in FL I would have pictures of all of this – I really need to be better about grabbing my camera) and the rest of the group brought desserts and side dishes. Unfortunately several members of our group were unable to attend so we had a smaller group. Not so unfortunately, that meant we ended up lots of leftover pizza. Hooray! I was even able to send a whole unbaked pizza home with Holly. My family is ALWAYS thrilled with leftover pizza. Of course, with a 13 year old boy in the house, leftovers don’t survive quite as long as they used to. Ha!


Give this starving boy some pizza!

I continue to be convicted in the area of respecting my husband. Tonight we discussed the idea of men needing unconditional respect just as women need unconditional love. You would never tell your wife, “I will love you as soon as you are worthy of it.” And yet do we tell men, “I will respect you once you show yourself worthy.”??

Ephesians 5:33

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

It has been fascinating going through the series with other couples. After viewing the DVD, we split up into groups (men in one room and women in the other) and talk about what we watched and what we are learning. I think all of the wives are truly surprised to hear how important respect is to our husbands and how much they crave and need it. Tonight we made a list of 5 ways our husband/wife could show respect/love to us. The whole series is certainly creating a lot of discussion in our home. So far the men have all heartily agreed with the points Dr. Eggerich makes. Now to put what we are learning into practice and get off the Crazy Cycle!

I have to share one last set of pictures (that are completely unrelated to today’s blog). I think each of the children have, at one point or another, fallen asleep while reading/holding a book. I don’t know how many I have captured on film (would take some serious searching to find them). It always brings a rush of tender feelings to see the children as it reminds me so much of my father. He is, literally, never without a book so there have been many times when we’ve caught him holding his book upright with his eyes shut. I would love for my children to be like my father and to enjoy reading as much as he does so it tickles me to catch moments like this.

sarah sleeping

rachel reading

Sarah was asleep but Rachel read on. Time for bed, girlie!


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Project 365 – Day 27 (Misc Sat)

Rachel went with me to the women’s breakfast at our church this morning. She was a delightful companion and I was pleased to have her join me. The breakfast was delicious and the fellowship lovely. Two women spoke, one of which was my friend, Holly. She did an excellent job!! I was so proud of her and encouraged by what she had to say.

Sarah and Daniel enjoyed having their friends over and squeezed in as much fun as they possibly could. Sarah was so tired she slept through Rachel and Elise both getting up and going downstairs to watch a movie. She was the last one awake this morning. Daniel told me he and Adam got only about seven hours of sleep.

sarah and elise

The girls took the scooters outside on the basketball court. Sarah loves her new scooter.
daniel and adam

The boys played outside, upstairs, in the garage and, finally, on the computer. We’ve been so blessed with good friends!!

Joshua had a meeting with the middle school leaders at church this morning. They want him to be involved in student leadership and asked him to join them in working on the winter retreat. What an honor!

As part of Joshua’s Special Day we played one of our new games, Puerto Rico. I was totally confused at first but Joshua and Tim worked hard to figure out the rules and we ended up having a great time.

Joshua and the box
Joshua sets up the gametim

We need a fourth player. Maybe we can convince Daniel or Rachel to play next time. The game is interesting as your change roles each round. You can be the trader and everyone trades in their goods. The next time you can choose to be a builder and everyone builds a plantation or warehouse. It was interesting. Tim promised Joshua that there were hidden complexities they hadn’t discovered yet that would add to the competitive nature of the game (oh great). Where are the Burts and the PMGE’s?? We have all these new games and our favorite gaming families are out of the country. Argh!!

In the latter part of the afternoon Tim worked in the garage. He put on Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (for the kiddos) and did some organizing. He is trying to work through the chaos and disorder in small steps and get his tools all gathered and organized. It’s a bit overwhelming at times.

Daniel and Sarah

Daniel and Sarah help put away movies.

Daniel chose to play Turn the Tide for his Special Day. We played a few rounds but Daniel and I both lost rather badly and we voted to switch games. Ha! You can do that when it’s your Special Day. Joshua and Tim like Turn the Tide – it’s not one of my favorites. I can’t seem to get the algorithms fixed in my mind so I continually play the cards poorly. I’m sure I just need to give it a few more chances.

Sarah and Rachel went off to take a bath and we grabbed David to join us for a game of Castle Keep. Sadly (for the rest of us), David trounced us and walked away with the castle victory. I like a game that a 5 year old, 9 year old and 13 year old can all enjoy (not to mention Mom and Dad – ages unspecified).

Sarah and Rachel came down for blueberry smoothies and some Voyage of the Dawn Treader reading. Tim read 2 chapters aloud while I braided hair and put away Christmas decorations.

pink girls

Sweet girls in pink!

Tomorrow we have Sunday school, church, preschool class duty, and then a potluck and Bible study in the evening. At some point I need to squeeze in some school planning and general housework. Whew. I’m trying not to feel tired already. Lol.


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Project 365 – Day 26 (Fri – S)

This is how Sarah and I started out our day.

sarah and mommy

Sarah (age 4 1/2) came downstairs, all snuggly and still sleepy. How could I resist? I am trying to be more sensitive in the moments when the children reach out to me (for a book or a hug or a discussion) and be purposeful in giving them my attention and time. It’s difficult. I am usually busy – either with my own chores and work or my relaxation (phone calls, computer time, etc.). It takes effort and a determined, cheerful spirit to stop what I am doing and reach back to the children. I think about the verse in Malachi 4:

He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers;

My desire is that my heart would be turned toward my children and that they would grow up knowing that my love for them is deep. I especially struggle making time for the children when I am in the midst of working FOR the family (cleaning, preparing meals, washing laundry, and on and on). There is a part of me that cries, “Don’t bother me now, I’m busy serving you.” And yet, which would they prefer? A mother who sweeps the floor, folds their laundry, picks up toys, or a mother who sits down and reads a book, who tickles them as they run about?

I love the image implied in the phrase, ‘turning your heart to your child.’ There is a deliberate choice and action involved and a response returned. If I have my child’s heart I can teach them about the Lord; when I share with them, they will listen. If I have my child’s heart I can correct and discipline them and they will respond, knowing I love them and want the best for them. If I have my child’s heart I can walk along side them and help them to discern God’s plan for their life. If I have my child’s heart I can become their friend.

So, that means I need to put aside the keyboard or put down my book and listen to the children. I need to keep them close to me when I’m working in the kitchen or around the house and include them in my activities. I need to remember these years when the children are home with us are precious and fleeting. I need to remember the words in Deuteronomy 6 and take every opportunity to teach them about the Lord.

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Sarah has been been waiting for today to arrive ever since last weekend when Rachel had her big sleepover and Sarah was promised one for this weekend. Almost every day she has asked me if this was the day Elise would come over. Her eagerness was so sweet and full of hope it was hard not to be excited with her. Today we had our homeschooling co-op. Sarah loves her little kindergarten class. She has some wonderful teachers and even gets to join David for one period in a “big kids class.”

snack time

Snack time!

After co-op it was FINALLY time for Elise to come over. We had a lovely dinner with Elise and family (thanks for providing everything, Jennifer!!) and then went to church for a showing of Facing the Giants. The kids brought blankets and sleeping bags and set up spots on the floor in the front of the gym. Joshua was kind and carried in some comfy folding chairs for the moms. The movie was excellent and we all had a good time. The church made popcorn and served it in the entryway along with water bottles and juice. Sarah and Elise stuck together for the movie time, posing for pictures when necessary. Lol!

sarah and elise

Now the children are all settled into their rooms and ready for bed. We’ll see if the girls get any sleep. Surely 4 year olds won’t stay up until midnight like the big girls did last weekend.


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Project 365 – Day 25 (Thurs-DW)

David has begun the Birthday Countdown. He turns 6 in the middle of February. My goodness!! I tell him almost every day that I really don’t think he should be allowed to leave the 5′s behind, that being 5 suits him very well and that he should re-consider. So far he isn’t interested in my ‘stay five forever’ plan.


Look at that face – would YOU let him grow up and turn 6? Surely that silly-pie should stay 5.

Daniel told David he should have a Family Only Birthday Party. I’m not sure why he felt his interference was needed, but perhaps he was looking to avoid a houseful of rambunctious 5 and 6 year olds (and I must say I can’t blame him, in fact I might go so far as to join him–ha). Or maybe Daniel is hoping we’ll have a fun family outing. One year we went to Odyssey One for Daniel’s birthday. We had just moved here and weren’t involved in any activities and were not yet well-connected in our church (i.e., the list of birthday invitees was non-existent). We had a wonderful time celebrating Daniel and exploring the adventure center.

Just about every other day David changes his mind about his upcoming birthday – in fact he doesn’t seem to remember what he had decided the day before. It’s rather funny.

“Mom,” he said to me yesterday, “I need to tell you who I want to invite to my birthday party.”

I interrupt his litany of names. “David, I thought you were going to have a family party this year.”

“Oh, that’s right,” he shakes his head. “Let’s see, I think I want to do something fun for my party. What are you going to buy me?”

He definitely makes us laugh. Rachel and I were watching some little home video snippets (from my digital camera) last night and at one point Rachel said that I should video-record David all the time because he’s so hilarious.

playing a game


David didn’t get his Special Day with Tim today, so he decided to use some of his evening time playing Age of Empires. He certainly knows how to ham it up for the camera.

Rachel went upstairs to David’s room with the instructions to take pictures of David with some of his favorite toys. This is one of the pictures she took.

lots of toys

We had a visitor join us for dinner tonight. I love some of the blessings that having guests brings, in particular the opportunity to try out new recipes and the excuse to tidy up the house. Of course, that does raise some questions such as: “Why would you clean up for company and not your own family?”, or “Shouldn’t you try new, creative menus for those whom you love best?” Hmmm. Since the children are called on to do most of the cleaning, they would probably shout “No! Leave the house messy!” I’m not sure they are completely unbiased in this regard. Tim really prefers a ‘tried and true’ menu so he wouldn’t necessarily vote in favor of new, “interesting” recipes (read: could contain strange vegetables and spices). Joshua, being a hungry 13 year old, votes in favor of food and lots of it; if Mom need some creativity in order to be interested in cooking more, he will go along happily.

Here Tim and Carl try to figure out the secret ingredient in the creamed spinach.



Nutmeg was the hidden spice in the spinach.

David sat next to Carl and found himself suddenly shy, but still ready to smile for the camera.

david and carl

Thanks for joining us, Carl. As always, it was lovely to have you.

Tim has a pile-up of Special Days to do this weekend. I believe, so far, only Rachel has had her Special Day – lucky girl, I wonder how she managed to sneak hers in? Joshua, Daniel, and now David have all been moved to Saturday. How fun – that means we’ll be playing lots of games this weekend. Joshua wants to try out one of our new, complicated ones. I don’t know what Daniel and David will choose. David likes to have one on one time with Tim so he’ll do his best to find a time when everyone else is busy.

Maybe they’ll work on the plans for David’s birthday party. Lol!


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Link to Daniel’s Post

Sorry about the error report on yesterday’s blog. I changed the time stamp after I had already posted the blog so the link ended up pointing to a blog that wasn’t there. A ghost blog.

Click on this direct link to the Project 365 – Day 24.


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