Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Thanks

To me, it's easy to be thankful when things are going well. It's a bit more tough when you're going through difficult times....a shrinking economy, loss of a loved one, etc.... Here's what 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says: " give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." That isn't always easy to do, is it?

Psalm 100 says
1.Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Those verses make the importance of thanksgiving pretty obvious. On a personal note, I am thankful for many things, but one thing I'm thankful for in particular this year is that we are going to be celebrating Thanksgiving Day with my Granny Margaret, who is 81 years old. She is still able and wants to cook the Thanksgiving meal for the family. She is awesome, and I thank God that my kids are growing up spending this wonderful holiday with their great-grandmother.
Yesterday, I spent some time with my son's first grade. All the first grade classes had Thanksgiving lunch together. They had all the fixings....turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, and rolls. The only thing missing was pumpkin pie (but hey...first graders prefer cupcakes--LOL)! I enjoyed spending this time with Matthew. Below are some photos I took (The smiling lady below is my son's teacher! So nice!)

“Each day we are given the gift of 86,400 seconds. Have you used one to say ‘thank you'?" William A. Ward

Friday, November 21, 2008

And the Silver goes to.....

Just had to brag on my boy. First of all, look how tall he's getting! Second, these are pictures from the PACT (Palmetto Achievement Comprehensive Test...I think) Superlative program and reception last night at his school. Jonathan took "Silver" for his achievement on this standardized state test. We're so proud of him! Bless his heart, there were only 2 who took "gold," and Jonathan could've been in that category, but for some reason, half his scores were missing. He scored advanced in Math, but they don't know how he did in writing and Reading. Presumably, he bubbled some identifying information incorrectly. Who knows? We're proud of his accomplishments and hard work anyway! Go Jonathan!

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Fun stuff

I borrowed this from my friend, Linda, who got it from Lisa-Anne, who got it from Suzanne. Thanks ladies!

Super easy. Just highlight the things you've done. Mine are in bold.

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland/world

8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea (from the beach)

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked

23.Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24.Built a snow fort

25.Held a lamb

26.Gone skinny dipping

27.Run a Marathon

28.Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29.Seen a total eclipse

30.Watched a sunrise or sunset

31.Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34.Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36.Taught yourself a new language

37.Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39.Gone rock climbing

40.Seen Michelangelo’s David

41.Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43.Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44.Visited Africa

45.Walked on a beach by moonlight

46.Been transported in an ambulance

47.Had your portrait painted

48.Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50.Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51.Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52.Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54.Gone to a drive-in theater

55.Been in a movie

56.Visited the Great Wall of China

57.Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59.Visited Russia

60.Served at a soup kitchen

61.Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching

63.Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70.Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71.Eaten Caviar

72.Pieced a quilt

73.Stood in Times Square

74.Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone

78.Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80.Published a book

81.Visited the Vatican

82.Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84.Had your picture in the newspaper

85.Read the entire Bible

86.Visited the White House

87.Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88.Had chickenpox

89.Saved someone’s life

90.Sat on a jury

91.Met someone famous

92.Joined a book club

93.Lost a loved one

94.Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97.Been involved in a law suit

98.Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee

100. Written your congressman.

Okay...realize that #64 & #65 happened at the same time. LOL! (Just kidding....I actually went "sky diving" in a huge wind tunnel in Florida. To me...it was just as scary! )

And the mountain thing...I didn't climb the whole thing. Anyway...I realize there are a lot of things I've yet to do. Many I can no longer do. But it will be fun to look back at the list a few years from now and see how many more I've highlighted! :) Share your list with me!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thinking about Christmas

I, like many others, have begun thinking about Christmas. Even though I dislike the fact that Thanksgiving is often overlooked, and Christmas gets cranked up earlier and earlier, I have to admit that I have even bought a couple of Christmas presents already. One of my goals this year is to get the kids to think about what Christmas is really about and not get so caught up in the "I wants." I am allowing them to ask for 3 things....and anything else they get will be surprises. Also, I am reading a children's Bible with Matthew that I highly recommend. It's called The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones. In it, Christ is the center of each and every story, even the Old Testament stories. It is recommended for toddlers and early school aged children, but even my 12 year old likes to listen. I think it should be at the top of EVERYONE's reading list.
I have also stumbled upon a great little Christmas planner from Family Fun magazine. Click here to get it and print out your own. It's a cool place to keep gift lists, card lists, and those cute decorating ideas and recipes that you often tear out of magazines.
One of the gifts that my husband and I ordered already was a personalized calendar from Snapfish, complete with photos of our family and birthdays, anniversaries, etc.... We got three copies (one for us and two others for family members) for less than $11 (nearly a $60 value). How did we do it? We used Coke rewards. If you haven't begun using this system, you're missing out. My husband drinks a lot of soda anyway. On each package or bottle of Coke product there's a code. You simply go the reward site and type it in. Then you can redeem your points for free stuff. We've gotten the three calendars, magazine subscriptions, free tickets to local baseball games, free bowling admission, etc.... If you tell your friends and family to save the codes for you (and we've even been known to grab a cap out of the parking lot), it doesn't take long to accumulate points for some good stuff. For even more savings, we take all of our aluminum cans for recycling and use that money for a movie night now and then.
Finally, we're trying to get the kids to think of others. We're doing two Operation Christmas Child boxes, one for a boy, and one for a girl. We're also going to purchase a Christmas dinner from Angel Food Ministries and give to someone in need.
If you have other great ideas for making the Christmas season brighter (and less expensive and commercial), leave me a comment and let me know.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Operation Christmas Child

This is one cause I LOVE to support. Watch the following video and see if it doesn't tug at your heart strings! (Pause my playlist so you can hear.) I plan to go shopping for gifts today!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fall Mountain Trip (day 2)

On our second day in NC, we got up and ate breakfast, drove to Wal-mart and picked up some deodorant for Kim (she forgot to pack it and would not use Ed's manly smelling stuff!), and then packed up our things to head home. Before we left Chimney Rock though, we stopped and took some photos on the river, and we visited the neatest place called Chimney Rock Gemstone Mine. We basically bought a bucket of dirt and flume mined. The kids had a blast (I loved it too). We got some great stones, which Matthew has been showing to everyone he comes in contact with (almost). After leaving there, we stopped at an apple orchard in Hendersonville. We had so much fun picking our own. We bought half a bushel of Jonagold apples. They are really good. Here are some photos that highlight our final day of the trip.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fall Mountain Trip

Wow! What a weekend! And what a workout my camera got! We decided rather last minute to head up to Chimney Rock and Hendersonville, NC. It is only 3 1/2 to 4 hours from our house, but the area is amazing in the fall! I hadn't been up that way in years, and the fall color was breath taking!

On the first day, we arrived early in the afternoon, and the park closed at 6 PM. So we explored Chimney Rock Park first. We took the 1.5 mile hike to stand below Hickory Nut Falls. The hike there wasn't bad, but the hike back included climbing a multitude of stairs straight up...and let me tell you. I could tell how out of shape I was! My legs were like rubber! It was gorgeous though. These are some of the photos I took the first day. I'll share more from Sunday's excursions tomorrow.
This last photo is one of my personal favorites! (Oh, and you absolutely MUST click on the photo above where Matthew is climbing on the rock beside the green sign. READ the sign! LOL!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's time

to move on. The election is over. Even though my candidate of choice did not win the presidency, I still plan to pray for Obama and our nation. God can use anybody He wants. Okay...just for a little fun, even though the voting has ended, I thought I'd add this little quiz. Should you have been allowed to vote? Check this out.

You Should Be Allowed to Vote

You got 12/15 questions correct.

Generally speaking, you're very well informed.

If you vote this election, you'll know exactly who (and what) you'll be voting for.

You're likely to have strong opinions, and you have the facts to back them up.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get out today and VOTE (even in the rain)

I hope you won't let anything hinder you from voting today! Your vote DOES count!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Birthday, sweetheart!

Happy Birthday, Ed. I love you! I hope your day is utterly extraordinary--just like you!

Halloween night went pretty well. I took Matthew and a neighborhood friend trick-or-treating. Jonathan hung out with his best friend down the street. Ed passed out candy until we got home. All in all, we had fun. Below are some photos to highlight the night.

Finally, check out this cutey that visited our back porch this weekend. Such a beauty, and so friendly...but it's the neighbors' cat. My boys loved him.