Monday, January 30, 2012

The "Magic" of His Grace

You know those days in the family when little words are offensive and little actions are offensive and you didn't mean to but you did and things are just not "jive-n".  

After a whirlwind of afternoon activity which included Bible Studies, and doctor visits, and basketball practice, and basketball games, and drop offs and pick ups, etc. etc. etc., we finally all sat down together for dinner at 7:30 (where the rice was crunchy...I can't make rice!!!).  We tried to talk and share, but people were edgy and comments were not, what I like to call, "soft."

I secretly prayed as I chomped on my rice...

"Lord, would you just give us a good dousing of your grace?"

And somehow (magically) it happened.  Rebecca started to clear the table.  She helped me unload a full dishwasher and loaded the "dirties" that were in the sink.  A clean kitchen counter began to appear.  Our conversation was light and sprinkled with laughter.  Daddy scooted over by Caroline to look over her math. They laughed together.  Homework got done and there was even time for watching T.V. and "puzzle-ing" and another piece of an amazing chocolate cake (compliments of Mrs. Settle!)

GRACE....springing up like daffodils in the cold of the winter.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Things that make you go....."Ahhhhhhhh."

Between basketball games, birthday parties, HUNTING, and spend the nights, our family has been parting ways alot!  I was so excited when we finally happened upon a Friday Night with just us four.

We decided to have a "Make-Your-Own-Pizza" night. 

And we watched the Disney flick, African Cats.  
It was a great reminder of how our God has orchestrated every single detail of this amazing world.

And tomorrow we get to sleep until we wake up.... with no alarm and no place to be.  Ahhhhhhhh.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gratitude Today


Sunshine...Oh sweet sunshine!

A fun day with third graders


Mommas who bring lunch.

Writing contests

Payday Treat... an Iced Vanilla Coffee

A surprise "Drop By."  Mia's Laughter.... Ella's smile.  Friendship.


Caleb...anxious to wave and say "hey" at the end of every school day.

Rebecca's 6-point game.  The Joy.

New things

The privilege of abiding

A husband who perseveres.

A text..."Samuel...out of surgery.  Awake and doing well."

Day three of "watering-free" eyes....yippee!

Reading my purse, by my Bible, in the kitchen, by the bed!

Valentine decor:)

My sweet next door neighbor

A very quiet house.


"Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay."  Habakkuk 2:3

Sunday, January 22, 2012

At My Church...

1.  All the teenagers sit on the front choice.

2.  Everybody sings.  Everybody.  Loud and with heart.

3.  Moms and Dads bring their babies, toddlers, kids, etc. to "Big Church" because worship is for whole families....and sometimes they cry, and sometimes they laugh, and sometimes they see their daddy on stage praying and they yell, "Hey Daddy!"

4.  When the preacher refers to a Bible verse while teaching, you hear pages turning all over the congregation.

5.  Old people tap their feet to the beat of the drums, and young men sing hymns.

6.  Some people wear jeans and some people dress "to the nines"... and some babies wear smocked dresses with big bows (my girls did until they just put their foot down and said "NO!") and some don't....and it doesn't really matter.

7.  If you are late, the men in the back smile, welcome you, and help you find a seat, which is a good thing for us....because we are often...well you know, late!  (But, of course,  it's not my fault.) 

8.  The pastor is my brother in Christ, a sinner, saved by grace.

9.  You can lift your hands, clap, maybe even move to the beat, if you feel so led while singing praises to Him.

10.  People notice if I am not there.

11.  I have been hurt, wounded, wronged.... and I have hurt, wounded, and wronged others.  And we forgive, although sometimes it is hard.
12.  We bear one anothers' burdens.

13.  We fellowship and drink coffee (and sometimes spill it on the sanctuary floor).

14.  We have differing views, sometimes share unwanted opinions,  and are learning to let God work on us in His time.... in His way.

15.  We love because He first loved us.

And I know that we are just one small part of His "Big" Church....  and I am thankful that He has chosen to put us right where we are.


Everyday becomes incredible when you let God do the impossible in you at least twice.
Ann Voskamp

This morning I am basking in the joy of a whole morning full of Pinterest and catching up on all my favorite blogs.  Both girls spent the night out with friends, so, last night,  Andy and I had an "at-home date" complete with deer steak fajitas and 2 recorded episodes of "Downton Abbey"... Don't tell anyone that he is as addicted as I am.  

Today I am:

ENJOYING a rainy Saturday morning with my sweetheart.
WISHING my girlies would stay little, but thankful for the little ladies they are becoming.
READING this book that is changing my life concerning prayer!
EATING a fried egg on a toasted piece of jalapeno bread. 
PRAYING for the Cutliffs and the Dances who are caring for their boys who are anticipating or have just had surgery.
BASKING in a clean house!
ANTICIPATING some time to quilt!  Hopefully!
SHOPPING with this treat (all thanks to one of my student's moms!)
VOTING for the one that I would like to call my President.
LOOKING FORWARD TO singing with the Praise Team tomorrow in church.
GRATEFUL for a husband who delights to read God's Word.
TRUSTING my Father to provide in these times that really try the soul.
RESTING in His perfect plans (Jeremiah 29:11)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Describe Mrs. Lamb

My class has just begun this dandy book.  Shockingly (haha).... it is one of my favorites!  Somewhere along chapter, oh say, ONE!, we get a description of Mr. Corse, the teacher. 

"He was a slim, pale young man.  He was gentle and patient, and never whipped little boys because they forgot to spell a word."

And then I say something like this to my class:

"Oh!  Just like me!"

To which they all groan:

"No, Mrs. Lamb, not like you at all."

And then I promptly give them an assignment to write a descriptive paragraph about me.... and draw an illustration.  I realize that I am not "slim, pale, and young" like Mr. Corse.  And as every class will tell you, I am also not so good in the "patient" department.  But I did forbid them to describe me as "rosy and plump."  While writing, one of my students came up to ask me how to spell BEAUTIFUL.  (That student is now my favorite.)

Here are some bits and pieces of their paragraphs (with my thoughts in parenthesis!):

My teacher is very lovely and dresses good too.  Also she has good shoes.  (These things are important.)  Her laugh is very funny, but lovely.  (Funny, but lovely.  I'll take that.)  Also her earrings are lovely and she is nice.  (Nice use of the adjective "lovely".)

My teacher, Mrs. Lamb, is loud.  She doesn't yell, she's just loud.  (The louder you are, the better they understand.)  She loves to eat candy and her favorite candy is Now and Laters.  (A fact that every one of my classes seem to know even if I don't tell them.)

 My teacher is kind of loud, but she is kind and loving.  She lets us sit on her stool and her chair.  (Well not if I am planning to sit on them.)

My teacher is funny....sometimes.  (Sometimes?)

My teacher is nice and loud.  (Is that "nice and loud"?  or "nice AND loud"?)  She sometimes cries at the end of books.  She loves us and doesn't want to get us in trouble.  ( cute!)

My teacher is the most wonderful person I have ever met.  Well, besides Fluffles, my puppy.  (Wow.  Thanks!)  Her eyes get all teared up while she is reading stories.   But most of all she loves us like a family.  (That made my eyes "get all teared up.")

My teacher sometimes yells.  She gives us candy all the time.  She is so nice.  (Apparently "nice" trumps "yelling" when there is candy involved.)  When we read books, she really likes hearing about them.

My teacher is creative.  She makes boring things sound fun.  (Tricky.)  Her favorite thing to do is sit in her chair and tell us stories.  She laughs beautifully.

My teacher cannot get through some books without crying.  My teacher does not yell, she just talks loudly.  (Thanks for the clarification.)

My teacher is kind, sometimes loud, loving, and crafty.  When I say she is loving, I mean she loves my class very, very much.  (Awww.....I do!)  Sometimes she can hardly get through the end of stories because she is crying.  She is gentle, sometimes patient, and usually happy.  
She makes us laugh alot.  She loves to write and she likes to have everything NEAT.  (Amen brother!)  She is graceful.  (Graceful....awwww.)

My teachers favorite thing to do is have us go down on the floor and tell her about our weekend.  She is the best AND ONLY third grade teacher I will ever have and that is why I like her so much!  (The only one she'll ever have...sweet.)

My teacher is really LOUD.

I think it is safe to say that "I am loud" and "I often cry at the end of books."  I also think it is safe to say that I have definitely chosen the right career to feel loved, enjoyed, and appreciated....even if it was an assignment! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Birthday Getaway

This is my brother's wife.... my sweet sis-in-law who is fun and silly, has a great sense of style, and is truly a beautiful person inside and out. My brother was blessed to win her heart.  This weekend we celebrated our birthdays (which are both after Christmas just ten days apart) "Atlanta" style.  
When we arrived at the Twelve Hotel we unloaded our bags, sat down for an early evening snack, and enjoyed the stores in Atlantic Station.  West much fun.  And "Cool Aunt Viki" insisted on a cropped sweater for Caroline at H&M(a dud she has been dreaming of).

A Birthday Treat!

A late night view from the balcony of our room....
city lights! 

And a morning view of the other direction.  IKEA... here we come!
We slept in and enjoyed coffee and biscotti in our room.  Then we were off to IKEA for some all day shopping fun.  We had a scrumptious lunch and piddled in some shops (Anthropolgie...ahhh) and then joined my brother and nephew at their basketball game.  
I came squeaking back in my driveway somewhere around 10ish to happy girls and a hug from my honey.  

It's so nice to get away. 


Remember this...

Well, I guess it was all worth it!

For Caroline's birthday we did not have a party.  She got a new room.  It's kind of an "Eleventh Birthday" tradition in our house.  We did, however, spend a day in Greenville shopping for some new decor.  
Caroline brought her friend, Emma, along for decorating tips!

And last night, Caroline had her first overnight guests in her new room.  

We celebrated with Oreo milkshakes...

...and "curler" ponytails!

 And, of course, no slumber party is complete without a polka dotted manicure!

 I'd say it was a pretty nice way to celebrate a birthday!
I am so glad you were born, Sweet Caroline!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Raining Grace

It was pouring rain.  We were sitting in the local yogurt shop when she saw him.... an elderly man loading his groceries in his trunk and getting soaked.  She verbalized how she wanted to run out and help him.  I said no.  He was about 12 cars back in the parking lot.  She sat staring.  I just went on with my yogurt and chattered on with her sister.  Finally she said, "He made it.  He just pulled out."  I had forgotten about him.

Then we went to the grocery store next door.  I was bustling around the produce grabbing what was on my list and more.  She pulled my buggy over so the elderly lady would have room to get through.  She noticed, I didn't.  And then she said, "I think God wants me to minister to old people.  I love old people.  I get them."

I should have let her go to him.... and help him load his groceries.  I should have gone with her.

Oh, the things our children teach us. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Don't ya just love it when a plan comes together!  We took a spontaneous trip down to Columbia this weekend for a 24 hour visit with some dear ol' friends.  We ate pizza, enjoyed too many homemade chocolate chip cookies, stayed up way too late, went to basketball games, shopping, and out to lunch.  We laughed and reminisced and laughed and reminisced and laughed.  And then we had to come home.  There was lots of begging for "just one more night" and even some tears from the little guy when his mommy took him from my arms.  (Be still my heart.)  Parting IS such sweet sorrow.  It was a weekend of making, yet another dose of, sweet memories.  I look forward to our next visit where we can reminisce and laugh about those too!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

True Love

On day one of 2012, he made a scrumptious New Year's Day feast.... and cleaned it up.

On day two of 2012, he brought me breakfast in bed.

On day three of 2012, he made the bed.  (He never makes the bed.)

If this is any indication of "the new" that this year brings....  it's gonna be a great one! 

Don't be misled.  I was already madly in love. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Belated Birthday Treat

He insisted on it....breakfast in bed.  I woke to the smell of my favorite "Christmas Coffee".... amazed that he really got up before me on his day off and it wasn't because he was going hunting.  I propped up in the bed and turned on the Today Show.... a luxury.  The meal came in mini-courses.  First arrived the piping hot coffee in my current favorite mug with an apple pastry toasted in the oven.  As I snuggled back down under the covers and enjoyed the "New Year Resolutions" the Today Show felt necessary to share, my sweet husband arrived with yet another tasty treat.... maple sausage links (and not the kind you heat up in the microwave.)  I savored every bite of three of those yummies.   I finished my scrumptious feast with scrambled eggs made just the way I like them with only salt and pepper.  He knows.  

And he cleaned up the kitchen.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year

For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice.  
And to make an end is to make a beginning.  T.S. Eliot

I must admit I say goodbye to 2011 with mixed emotions.  It was a year full of so much GROWTH.  But with growth, comes pruning.  Or better said, pruning produces growth.  God chose to do some significant pruning.  He got rid of some "old stuff"... stuff I was clinging to.... stuff that felt safe.  And He showed me, in a very real and tangible way, that HE is indeed enough.  A difficult, but amazing lesson to learn.  I hope it sticks.  
It is not really fun learning it.

 I decided to pick a WORD for 2012.  


I am looking forward to all the "new" that this year holds.  

 "Behold the former things have come to pass, now I declare NEW things!"  Isaiah 42:9

Happy NEW Year, Everyone!