Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Signed:Members of the Secret Service"

That was the sign we found on our door when we came home from Georgia and found someone (obviously the members of the secret service) or someones had come over and did a "while you were out" landscaping in the front of our house! Oh MY!!! It is absolutely gorgeous! These "members of the secret service" dug out, rototilled(?), weeded, hoed, and to top that off they put mulch down!! It has been years since we have had mulch down. Wow!! Another blessing that God did for us. He used those members of the secret service to bless us. Our first call was to our parents, and neither of them admitted to it, although they were honored that we thought it was them. So to anyone of you who may be Member of the Secret Service....THANK YOU!!!!! We were totally SHOCKED and AWED by what you did for us, whomever you may be. We were humbled by your acts of service.

Our family vacation- side events

We found other fun things for the kids to do before and after our time at the church parks, lots of swimming at the hotels, lots of make your own waffles at the free breakfasts.

We did one outing to a park that had ropes courses that had 3 levels. Beginner at 12 ft off the ground with minimal difficulty, intermediate at 24 ft off the ground with moderate difficulty (I did this one) like walking across a broken planked bridge or walking across a 2x4 piece of lumber with nothing to hold on to (you do have a harness on) and then the advanced at 40 ft in the air with challenging obstacles (crossing a 20ft span with giant rope loops about 2 feet apart that you have to swing in to get to the next one to get to the next platform). All the boys and daddy went through all the levels. My youngest son just amazed me at how he perservered. He struggled with several of the obstacles, but he didn't cry or get frustrated he just worked at it until he got across. He even did it without his pointer finger on his right hand ( he smashed that in a door the day before we left). I was so proud of him. My littlest daughter was too small to do that one so we took turns in doing the big ropes course and letting her do her tot size ropes course. Which she mastered cautiously the first time daddy took her. Then she cruised through it another 3 times. We then split and had girl time and boy time. The boys did more ropes course and the girls did some window shopping and took a scenic train ride. We met for dinner and watched a very unique lazer light show with fireworks. It was one of the most awesome shows I have seen. That was our big day out.

We also saw one movie as a family "Journey to the center of the earth" in 3D. That was a fun movie. My youngest daughter is still young and was ready to leave after 30 minutes. But she made it to the end with potty breaks and free refill of popcorn breaks.

During the trip, we were also able to visit with one of my best friends in high school and her family, and also visit with another guy (and his family)who went to my high school ( he went to the church we visited.....small world). It was great to swap names around with who kept in touch with who. It has been 19 years since I last saw him...yikes. But their family was absolute fantastic and had us over for brunch after church. It was a wonderful visit.

One of our breaks on the ride home, we stopped in a funland, for lack of a better description. The boys played lazer tag (little girl was too young), and the girls went for a go cart ride (and we crashed!! It wasn't supposed to be bumper cars! OOPS! At least I drove too fast and lost control on a go cart and not with the truck on the road! AAHHHH!!!!).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Our family vacation- the main event

This year we had an unusual trip planned for our family vacation. It was not a beach trip. It was not a camping trip, nor a trip to the amusement park. This summer we left for a trip to Georgia to visit North Point Community Church. My husband was recently there at a conference they call "Drive". It was in regards to children's ministries. To make a long story shorter, our church is looking into using their curriculum for our children's ministry. My husband wanted me to have a first hand look at how it is delivered and received. Also to have our children experience it as well. That was our main purpose for this trip. We have been striving to put Christ first, to be Christ centered in our lives, in our marriage, in our parenting, in everything we do. So even in our planning of this trip we were making our main purpose Christ centered. Many people skip church during vacation (I know we have), but we were making that our purpose, our mission. We had many strange reactions when people asked "What's in Georgia?", and then we proceeded to tell them our purpose.

When we started out with our eyes on the Lord and our purpose for the Lord, our entire trip had a different feel. Our eyes were opened to all the blessings the Lord layed out before us. We were amazed at how many blessings there were! How God protected us, gave us a better hotel than planned with cheaper rates with free breakfasts. The traffic that is notorious, we breezed right through. Things that you knew could have only been God. Time and time again, our eyes saw God at work just to bless us. Now if that doesn't just make the trip the best in the world. WOW!

Our kids were better behaved stuck in the car for 12 hours, than they are when they have the whole house to escape from each other. Now that was a miracle in itself. We gained so much wisdom from this trip. My husband and I were listening to a sermon from Andy Stanley on the way home, and noticed our 12 year old had put his book down and was listening. Then a few minutes later our 10 year old says "Mom, can you turn it up, I can't hear it". I was blessed beyond words. Not many 10 year old boys are asking for you to turn up the volume to hear a sermon. To top it off, our 10 year old asked us questions about some parts he didn't understand. What a valuable, priceless teaching moment. Our God is so GOOD. I am just overwhelmed for what God did for us, how he showered us with His love and allowed us to see it. Praise God!!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Is it worth it?

Sometimes I just wonder..... Is it really worth it? I end up asking myself this same question everytime we get ready to go away. Is this vacation really worth all this hassle of getting ready?Packing for 4 kids, my husband, myself, the dog and the bunny. Now the pets do not go with us, but they still need to get packed up to go to their care takers. Plus getting the truck cleaned out, oil changed, tires rotated and balanced and filled with gas. Not to mention grocery shopping so you can have snacks on the road and maybe some drinks and fruit and some food for those who are STARVED first thing in the morning and can't wait to eat. Then there is the dollar store to get those travel games and fun prizes to be pulled out when the kids get bored. Then the video store to get movies so the older kids can watch while the younger ones nap. And we can't forget the post office to stop the mail so it isn't overflowing out your mailbox. Then we need to go to the bank and make sure all funds are transferred into the right account so we don't bounce anything while we are away spending away. Whew!
Ok now it is time to pack the truck just right so you know where everything is. Making sure to pack the snack and games accessible and the pillows in the seats to sleep on and the non essential stuff on the bottom. All this to find out we don't have enough room and need to pull out the cartop carrier and repack the truck again. Once the truck is repacked, it is time to load the kids up but after they use the potty. And we're off. OOps! No we aren't, we forgot to turn down the air conditioning and make sure all the doors are locked and the right lights are on and the oven is off. Ok now we are off and pulling out of the driveway. "Mommy, I need to go potty." It never fails, even after they have used the bathroom right before they loaded up in the truck. So I say to myself "Is it worth it?" My answer is always "You better believe it".

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Spending Time like Money

We have been known to not be very careful with our money in the past. If we wanted to run to the beach for the night and ride the rides and get a treat, let's go. If we wanted to go out to dinner because I just didn't feel like cooking, sure let's do it. Or if it was time to get a new book, off to the book store we would go. This summer my husband and I decided we are going to hunker down and be smart with our money. Do things that are more family oriented without spending money. We had already planned a getaway to the beach, and a family vacation to Georgia. We decided not to take those off the schedule, but to be more careful of what we did the other times.

This has led to many date nights with mom and a child or dad and a child. These times have been absolutely priceless. I have questioned my kids about all kinds of things and given them the comfort and freedom to express themselves. Even asking the tough questions "How is mom doing being your mom? What things bother you about how mommy parents you? What things am I doing well?" We do these dates throughout the year, but not as consistently as this summer.

On one of my dates with Josh he has noticed the difference of spending more alone time with his mom and dad. Even planning it on the calender "Mom, there is nothing going on next sunday afternoon, can we have a date then?" and then he puts it in ink on the calender. Well during one of these dates he was very observant and said to me "Mom, we are spending time like we used to spend money." How precious is that. I love the fact that my kids are noticing the difference and enjoying it. It reminds me how kids know more of what is going on than we give them credit for.

Monday, July 14, 2008


There are sometimes in life when I just need my girlfriends. I just went to the Women of Faith conference in D.C.. What an awesome time of bonding with my girlfriends. I look back at the weekend and just start to chuckle, remembering how a simple wave from another girlfriend in the other car had my car rolling in laughter the rest of the trip. It is just pure fun and enjoyment to laugh your hiney's off. To have those inside jokes where only you know what the others are saying. I need those times when I can laugh, and cry without any abandonment. Just to be me. It's the freedom in Christ that I am able to be who God created me to be. And to actually be that, not what I think I should be or what others think I should be. What an awesome gift God gave us when He gave us girlfriends. Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE my husband and kids, and all my family. But there are just sometimes when you need a girlfriend. To all my girlfriends out there; I love you and treasure what you mean to me.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Has your spouse ever had an idea that they want to do and you are like "What?". You think they are off their rocker and totally lost their marbles. I am fortunate enough to experience those moments frequently. My husband is a big thinker, visionary guy. Which I absolutely love. It makes life very interesting.

Two weeks ago, my husband had another one of these "aha" moments when I was at work. He wanted to create a way of allowing the children to encourage one another when they have done something good, good attitude, selfless acts, gratefulness, etc. Wanting to build each other up as well as allowing us (mom and dad) to be able to show recognition to the children as well. His "aha" was to paint an entire wall with magnetic chalkboard paint. This way we can put our verse of the week on it, and the kids can write encouraging notes to each other, or anything that points us toward Christ. Of course this was his vision (I don't see inside his brain) and he decided to go to the hardware store pick up the paint and supplies with all 4 kids, come home paint the wall, and make a crazy video of it all before I come home from work. Talk about a crazy surprise!!!! Hi honey I'm home! What in the world is this???!!!!! Now luckily, I am not a freak out when it comes to this kind of stuff. It actuall is very cool to have a floor to ceiling entire wall chalkboard in your dining room. The kids have loved it. If I can figure out how to get the pics or video on here I will add it, so you all can see the craziness. Oh and the kids got to do graffiti all over the wall with markers and crayons, before he painted it. Life is never dull here.