Sunday, November 25, 2012

N is for Nature

Nature surrounds us.  Thank God!  I truly love being outdoors.  Addison and I started a morning "adventure walk" mother son outing in Kansas a few years ago.  On Saturday mornings, he and I would embark on a nature walk/jog around our home.  In Kansas we lived near a creek, trails, and many beautiful trees.  Here in Florida, we live by a natural spring, trails, and again many beautiful trees.  We are truly blessed.

The blessing of being one on one with a child is enormous in and of itself.  We truly treasure these moments.  About a week ago, Addison and I went out on an adventure walk with the camera, an index card, and a red pen.  I wanted the camera.  He wanted the cue card and pen.  He is really into writing these days.  He has discovered how to sound out any word and put it in print.  Remarkable.

More remarkable are the things we saw on that morning walk.  His list, I have kept on my desk as sweet reminder of that day.  Below are pictures of flowers that caught my interest, and the list of items he saw/heard:

acorns falling
birds chirping
squirrel jumping
cat stretching
baby caterpilr (caterpillar)
fom (foam)
a prsin  (person)
grapfrot (grapefruit)
ibis

Spelling errors and odd first grader hand-writing.  So precious.  Thank you God for this sweet note on my desk to remind me to post about this today.  Also thank you for the beautiful flowers that are in our neighborhood...

Okay, just got a notice that I have exceeded my 1GB of free picture storage space.  Off to delete some old/non-relevant images.  Not wanting to pay to upgrade?!  Argh.

Back now...trying to update this entry with some photos:

Still not working.



Saturday, November 24, 2012

A is for Authenticity



When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the electricity that surges between them.
-Martin Buber


I love this quote!

We live in a world of processed foods, fake idols, and visual stimuli that are on the television, internet, and video games...a lot of fake "worlds."  I like authenticity.  I like to sit with real people...my family and friends.  Heck, I even like meeting strangers out shopping for real stuff!  I guess the stuff part isn't always what we truly need, but I do enjoy the interaction that results when we walk into a local store and buy from vendors.


Dear God,
Help me to be authenticGive me grace to accept myself & others as you created us to be. Thank you for walking among us.  You sent an authentic version of yourself to our broken world in the form of a baby.  The Christ child, YOU, arrived as a simple blessing for all the world.  
Help us see authenticity around us and rejoiceAmen.

This is the A of T.H.A.N.K.S.



 

Friday, November 23, 2012

H is for Humble


H is for Humble.

Part two of T.H.A.N.K.S.

I woke up early this morning again.  I decided to snuggle on the couch with a cup of tea, a warm blanket, and one of the three books I'm reading..."7, an experimental mutiny against excess" by Jen Hatmaker.  I plowed through a few chapters, and I come out feeling humble.

I live a world of excess.  My closet overflows with clothing, shoes, and my dresser is also full.  I still buy more almost weekly.  We talked yesterday of new televisions, new cars, and this morning many are out shopping for more stuff.  It is "Black Friday."  I used to love waking early with my mom and sister to go out shopping for deals and Christmas items/gifts/decor.  This year we decided to skip it.  Mom has to work.  Jackie and I are tired and our finances are low presently.  However, low is relative.  Many homeless people, struggling families, or people in other countries would look at our bank accounts and possessions and see extreme wealth.

Jen Hatmaker's book "7" has encouraged me to humble myself a little more.  Focus on the true riches of Christ this holiday season, and continue to give a little more and cut back on the stuff that crowds out my time, money, and attention to the true King.  Today, I started a Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter fast.  I will still do emails, my blog, watch TV, and use my cell phone.  However, I hope the free time I spent hours on these other sites will allow for some humbleness to creep in.  I get sucked into the lives of others, wishes/dreams on Pinterest for projects to do/things to buy.  Twitter often gives me useless news/links to blips in our fake/real world?!  Okay, so I'm off the soap box, and on to the day.  I hope to clean out some time and make room to clean house, play, write real letters, craft, cook, etc.

I hope each of you feels humble in some way today.  We often have BIG egos, and it is easy to lose sight of others' needs.  I'm totally guilty.  I get impatient with others who want stuff that I see as trivial. 

Dear Mom, sorry for ruining the picture taking moment yesterday.  I know you like family photos, and they are TRULY special.  A little time out of our day for you is the least we can do after all the YEARS of time you spent humbly serving us.  We love you!  And, thank you Daniel, dad, and Jackie for remaining calm and smiling under the pressure.  We all have our moments!

 
This is the picture that won't be on a Christmas card, but it shows the mood of the moment.  Bryan didn't want to be in the picture, thus I had to appear in the picture.  We added Jackie for balance...both moms/daughters should be in.  Daniel, told us to look "serious...tough"...Addison complied nicely.  Jackson pondered this.  Bryan hid.  We adults, smiled.  We do our best.  Thank God for family!  We love unconditionally thanks to the lessons of our Father.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

T is for Trust








Last Saturday a few friends and some of my family gathered for a Snapfish House Party.  House Party is an online area to sign up for vendor marketed parties that offer free stuff and fellowship!  I was on board immediately after attending a friend's Fisher Price party.  She and we got so many nice things for FREE!  But, that is not what today's post is about.  Just wanted to explain the silly photos above a bit.

A bit of trust goes a long way.  When we are born we trust our moms, dads, and other caregivers to provide for our daily needs.  We are the center of their universe.  At about age 2 children start to become a bit more independent.  Parents learn to trust the child.  Can she dress herself now?  Can he go to the bathroom and wash his hands?  Can she play with other children without being too bossy?  Can he play with his brother without destroying him or our house?

Trust is a parent and child's daily walk.  We trust God as adults, and the children trust us, as parents to lead them in the way they should go.  Trust is huge!  When a relationship is built on trust it is so much stronger than those founded on doubt.  I love my Lord, my spouse, our children, our family, and our friends...I truly TRUST them.  Thank you god for the beginning of this series...T.H.A.N.K.S.  Today I will Trust in YOU!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fall in Different Places

Photo Credit: Donna Black, my cousin who is gifted in the area of photography

Fall in Different Places...
I grew up in Winter Park, Florida, and we recently moved back to Central Florida.  So this fall, is what I remember falls to be like as a child and young adult.  It is cool (at times), and the leaves do change if you look really closely.  However, we do not get the rich colors of fall like states to our north and west.  

In college, Tallahassee, Florida held a little more fall weather with cooler temperatures.  About ten degrees cooler in north FL vs. central FL in the fall and winter months.  After graduation, my husband and I moved to Peachtree City, Georgia.  Fall was even more special in the suburbs of Atlanta.  The leaves really did change, fall, and need to be raked.  The picture above comes from my cousin who lived near us during our early married years.  Our first son was born in the summer of 2006.   This photo marks that special year also.

Our first son just looked at this photo, and thought that it was "some mysterious creature."  I had to explain that it was a photo of a stream with bubbles and leaves.  Interesting how different eyes view things.  To wrap up this blog post quickly since my son is now awake and ready for breakfast...

In 2008 we moved to Overland Park, Kansas.  We spent one fall there and truly saw the four seasons change before our eyes like no other time in my life.  We spent three more years in Olathe, KS before returning this year to Florida in 2012.  Seasons change, our eyes change, and we see things differently each year.  I'm thankful God has opened my eyes to the beauty of each place we have lived in, and He continues to reveal "glimmers of Grace" daily in moments that I capture with my heart and my own camera lens.  Thank you Donna Black for inspiring me to shoot pictures of nature and our children in action!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Our Words...


Our words can help or hurt.  Words can make a person smile or cry.  Most days we have the opportunity to speak to many people.  I am hopeful that we will choose our words wisely.  Speaking quickly is something I used to do.  My husband in our early years of marriage informed me that I interrupt a lot.  I realized this was so true.  Now, I try very hard to be purposeful about listening and careful to respond.  I still falter at times.  We all do.  God's grace is bountiful.

Our words do not have to be bountiful.  Often people want us to be listeners, patient, kind, and loving.  Children have a lot to say.  We should be okay to stop what we are doing and listen to them too.  They have insights and requests that are important.  We adults get annoyed and busy to easily.  It is God's will that we welcome little children into our lives and love them unconditionally.  God loves me this way, and I hope that I will be able to love others in the same vein.

Off to get dressed for my morning run with a neighbor.  We women do love to chat!  I wonder what we'll talk about today?  What will you talk about today?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bread



http://edfernandezdatsme.wordpress.com/2012/08/

Jesus is the Bread of Life.  We celebrate the sacrifice He made for us by breaking bread.  As we break bread this week at Thanksgiving and at any meal...may we come to him first giving THANKS.  We are truly blessed to be parents of two sons.  I could not imagine giving one up on the cross for others.  God did that.  We are beyond blessed by this sacrifice of love.

I truly enjoy our family table blessings.  We give thanks.  Children too.  We get some surprising and reluctant prayers at times...however, I am so grateful that we have a father at our table who talks to THE FATHER.  My husband is leading by example, and our children watch us.  Addison and I enjoyed a mother-son morning adventure walk-run yesterday.  He was so cute along the way.  He packed Legos in his cargo pants, wielded a plastic ninja sword (prepared for anything), and took an index card drawn with a "map."  He lost the map along the way, but he smiled toward the end of the walk saying, "I'm glad I lost the map.  It would not have taken me this way.  Thanks mom for showing me the way."

We are constantly showing others the way.  What way do we show them?  I pray that we show them that we appreciate life, and that we know the Father.  God is the ultimate gift, and when we have Him...we are truly FULL.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gratitude

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
-Melody Beattie


This quote is beautifully written.  I love her words.  Gratitude does make us more full in heart, mind, and Spirit.  

God wants us to worship Him, follow His commands, and share the Love of Christ with others.  When we have the Spirit of Christ in our hearts we have enough.  He turns our hearts into vessels that can be filled again and again by experiences in each day we live.  

We live in a BIG world with a BIG God.  I hope that in the days ahead we pause to see His blessings for what they areMy gratitude is constantly tested as I look at all the "stuff" of life and want more.  We have plenty.  We are blessed.  Thank you God for reminding me to be content.  

YOU are enough.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Being the Right Person




Success_detail
http://deseretbook.com/Success-Marriage-5x5-Plaque-P-Graham-Dunn/i/5084217

This quote struck me this morning as I browsed on Pinterest. Wilfred Arlen Petersen was the author of the quote.  My friend informed me of this through a comment on Pinterest.  She had this said at their marriage.  How fitting.

I wrote about marriage yesterday, and today it felt fitting to follow up.

Marriage is a huge venture, and it is one that God blesses.  This weekend we will attend the wedding of a good friend.  I look forward to watching her and her family celebrate this special occasion.  She and her fiance are excited.  People will be driving and flying in for the special event.  A marriage will happen.  A life journey will begin.  I pray for this couple and for my own marriage this morning...

Dear God,
Help us to BE the right person for our spouse.  We fall in love, and we need to continue falling in love.
The days and years can be long.  Seemingly short at other times.  Help us to perfect ourselves according to Your measure.

You created my spouse and me.  Help us to stay close to You.  Give us strength, courage, faith, and love.  Help us forgive when we forget your will and go astray.  Encourage us with your Word, with prayer, and with fellow Believers.

We are made in Your image.  Help us to be everything you planned and hoped we could be.
One day at a time, may we look to You.
Thank you for your love, our world, and for marriage.
Amen.

  

Monday, November 12, 2012

God Given...


I am thankful to have shared a wonderful weekend away with Daniel this past weekend.  We traveled back to the Bahamas via ship instead of plane.  Ten years ago we were married, and we honeymooned in the Bahamas.  It is a beautiful place, and a wonderful place to celebrate God's creation of natural things and human beings.  We are still in love, and we are strengthened by God in loving, serving, and forgiving one another.
I say things and do things I should not, and both God and Daniel are patient and loving with me.  I am a natural born sinner, selfish to the core.  I am working on that daily with God's help.  We bow down to Him who makes us humble.  I pray that our boys will find their God chosen soul mate one day as we have found ours.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Free

 I have watched and listened to families choose joy amidst the sorrow.  Presently, our family is in a season of peace.  Do you daily choose joy?  We are free to choose our mood, our actions, and our path each day.
I pray for others daily, thank God for his grace and peace.  Please join me. 


“Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.” Ephesians 1:9-10 MSG


 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Giving and Growing


This John Deere power wheels was given to us by our sweet neighbors in Kansas, Manya and Tim.  They found it road side...ready for the trash.  They gave it to us.  Daniel bought a new gear box and new tires for it, and it has now made it through two more kid drivers.  Addison our older son drove it in Kansas when he was 4-5 years old.  Now, Bryan, age 3 is taking the driver's seat.  We threatened to sell the vehicle last week, but the boys quickly took it from the back of the garage untouched to charging mode and on the road!  They are using it again which is great!  Now, our younger son has grown into it.  He can reach the pedals to drive independently.   How fun!

He personally made it even more fun to watch by loading pumpkins carefully into the rear cargo area.  He then drove around the block and visited neighbors making them smile.  Neighbors whose children have grown, and he brought smiles to many including himself!  God is so amazing.  He turns trash into treasure.

We must treasure these little moments as we give thanks to those who give and watch as children and we grow.  God does that.  He gives us the hearts that want to give and the bodies that continue to grow.  Like it or not, we all age a little every day and night.


Found this sweet scripture quote and photo on Pinterest.  The link is here: http://www.contentedsparrow.com/2012/09/live-always-with-him-printable.html

"Megan", the author of that blog, has a printable of it if you wish to print it and hang it up!  I may just do that!
I love the morning time, and I'm thankful to begin the day with worship.  I hope you feel His presence today through giving and growth!  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Dull Women


I really liked this quote that I found on Pinterest: "Dull women have immaculate homes." 
It is so true.  Most women do not have immaculate homes, and if they do they are likely old, young, or possibly a bit dull!  Our house is full of messes big and small.  I actually am proud of it at times because I recognize that we are living life.  We have two young boys, and they are having fun most of the time!  We entered our neighbor's home last night for an impromptu visit.  They have nearly one year old triplets.  Wow!  Watching that household work at dinner time was precious.  They have a system.  Their mom is organized, and their dad pitches in too.  Their house is clean but not immaculate.  She apologized for little bits of scattered things.  I smiled and told her not to worry.  Come over to our house.  She insisted that mine is clean.  It isn't!  I told her to come over more often.  We often strive to be perfect versus real.  Here's to hoping that my friends and family walk through our door and see that we are keeping it real at our house, and that we are anything but dull.

To the dull mind all nature is leaden. To the illumined mind the whole world burns and sparkles with light. --Ralph Waldo Emerson


Here's to hoping our homes and minds are anything but dull!  Let the weekend begin!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Roots. 5 Minute Friday

"Roots" is today's topic.

I read about a concept called "Five Minute Fridays" on a blog that I follow:Always Alleluia
It is a great idea inspired by: http://lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday/
Write for 5 minutes, unfiltered, each Friday on a selected topic.  Then you link up to another blogger by encouraging them in the comments.  So here I go!

My roots go deep.  My grandparents and parents raised me (and my sister) to be hard working, honest, and have faith in God.  Thankfully, my husband was raised the same way.  Our children thus have deep roots also.

2 Kings 19:30
A remnant of the family of Judah yet again will sink down roots and raise up fruit.

Families were in the Bible.  Those that trust God bear fruit, then and now.  I'm thankful that our kids are able to talk about God freely at home, ask tough questions, and pray with us at each meal and before bed.  I want to be more prayerful at random moments too.  I watched in awe yesterday as a mother prayed next to us in the preschool parking lot.  She was sitting in the front seat with head bowed, and her hands were in the prayer position.  Her children were in the back seat.  She spent time with them, and with her Father.  I told her when we walked up how precious that was.  I didn't know if it was a routine or desperation.  She answered, "my daughter asked me to pray."  Her daughter is only 4 years old.  Her son about 18 months I'm guessing.  This is a mom who answered the call.

Dear God,
Help me to sink down my roots to day and raise up fruit.  Our two boys need you.  When I fill my roots with your Holy Spirit, I can overflow that joy and peace to them.  Thank you for keeping me calm in moments of stress.  Forgive me for when I lose my patience and speak loudly to our children.  They need a calm voice, forgiveness, and love just as we do.  Thank you for your Son.  He walked on this earth, he was Your Fruit.  We are blessed, and we need to be a thankful people.  Amen.


p.s. This was my parenting moment yesterday afternoon.  I made our boys Smores (good mom), I walked away (bad mom), and this was the result above.  Addison was enjoying the mess (not so much eating it), and Bryan was upset (he does not like to be messy).  Bryan ended up in the bathroom for a bath.  Addison ended up in the sink/disposal side, with me talking sternly to him.  Thank you God for reminding to pause, take a picture, and reflect on these wild parenting moments.  You give us the strength to do one moment and one day at a time!

Sharing this post with the amazing Five Minute Friday community
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Candy is Dandy

Today we start a new month...November 2012 is upon us.
The boys are kicking off the start of this day with a candy breakfast!  Candy is dandy!
We are thankful for all the blessings we have...
especially our family,
our health,
our wonderful new neighborhood,
and the jobs we have.

I joined an online group that is going to "GIVE" daily this month.  If you're interested here is the link.
http://30daygivingchallenge.org/




Today, what will you give?  I'm still pondering what I will give.  Below are some more Halloween photos of our boys...





Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Keep It Simple

I found this Joshua Becker on Twitter, and I really enjoy his blog/web-site.  He has great insights into becoming a "minimalist."  Having less becomes freeing so to speak.  I need to work on this, and I liked this link especially.  Perhaps you'll find it of interest too.

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/the-10-most-important-things-to-simplify-in-your-life/

The Ten Most Important Things to Simplify (above, click link)

"In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity."-- H.W. Longfellow

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Weekend

Our pre-Halloween weekend kicked off with a neighborhood Spooky Breakfast, fall festival at Addison's elementary school, and Florida State's homecoming game on TV vs. Duke.  Sunday we woke up in the dark to go to the Mid-Florida Championship football game with Addison's Tiny-Mite Lake Brantely Patriot football team at the Citrus Bowl.  The Kumquat Bowl was fun...they lost, but they were up against some stiff competition.  My parents joined us for a chilly fall football game.  The first day we have worn coats in Florida since moving here.  By noon, it was warmer, and we enjoyed an end of the year football team party at a canal front home.  It was a beautiful fall day...warm enough to swim and soak in the sun outdoors.  We finished the weekend with a neighborhood hay ride and trip to the "Gingerbread House" as the back of the neighborhood that annually decorates and holds an open house.  It was a spooky good time!  Below you find a few photos of our weekend's adventures.  It was a busy weekend, but we are looking forward to the real Halloween on Wednesday evening. 

Audrey Hepburn, Fireman, and Lego Brick















The Stamer's House Halloween 2012



 People don't change. Only their costumes do.
-Gene Moorse



Sunday, October 28, 2012

Knitting


Knitting is not my thing.  I tried.  I was terrible at it.  However, my mother in law, was an excellent knitter.  Susan knew how to knit quickly, accurately, and made some special gifts for her family.  We have place mats, scarves, sweaters, and blankets.  They are family treasures now that she has passed away.  No one in our current family knits.  However, we snuggle with her blankets, and we know her great love for us was stitched into each piece.  God is like her. 


 Psalm 139:13
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. 


God knows how to knit.  I do not.  I realize He is the Supreme Artist.  He alone knew how to make me, you, and those that surround us.  May we realize our own beauty and the beauty in others today.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Alive

"How beautiful it is to be alive."  -Henry Septimus Sutton

Henry Septimus Sutton was born on 10th February 1825 in Nottingham, the seventh child in a family of seven sons and three daughters. His father, Richard Sutton (1789-1856) was a bookseller and printer, and the proprietor of the NottinghamReview. Henry, who spent his childhood among his father’s books, was educated at a private school in Nottingham and then at Leicester Grammar School. On leaving school he was articled to a surgeon, but eventually abandoned the medical profession for literature and journalism, writing first for his father’s paper.  From--http://www.readysteadybook.com/Article.aspx?page=henrysutton

This writer was born long ago, but this simple quote is wonderful.  It is a beautiful thing to be alive, and we need to rejoice in this gift daily.  God had a plan and purpose for each day we live.  When asked, "how are you?"  My father in law will often say, "happy to be here."  As a two time cancer survivor he recognizes the gift of life more than most.  This weekend he celebrates his third daughter's birthday.  He has four grown children and has seen all four get married and have families of their own.  I feel very blessed to have him, and all the other grandparents in our lives.  I never had the chance to get to know my father's parents, but I gather from others that they were beautiful people during their lives.  My mother's parents died when I was in my early 20s.  I am thankful that they spent many winters in Florida with us and taught me about their past through stories of the depression, World War II, and many walks in the snow.

There is no snow today in Florida.  But we have hurricane fringe winds from the coast, and we will celebrate the fall with a Spooky Halloween breakfast at our neighbor's house and a fall festival at Addison's elementary school.  Later this afternoon we will watch the Florida State Seminoles take on the Duke Blue Devils for Homecoming.  It is a truly a BEAUTIFUL day to be alive for us!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Giving at Any Age

http://seminolemagazine.com/2012/10/25/how-can-you-give-at-any-age

I wrote the above article for the Seminole Magazine.  I found it important to encourage others (and myself) to give this day and always.  It is my hope, that our children will learn to give also.  We live in a greedy world.  It is much easier to focus on self than sacrifice.  However, God teaches that "a plain and simple life is a full life." Proverbs 13:7 (the Message)

If we simplify our belongings to give to others we find true joy.  Some of my favorite belongings were gifts to me from someone else or handed down from one family member to another.  Furniture, jewelry, photographs, and Bibles are some of my most special "treasures."  What do you treasure?  Where does your heart lie?  Our true riches are in Christ.  Heaven awaits those who Believe in Him.  We will join Him and His company of Angels.  I believe that many of the family members and friends that I have known, and who know Him, are preparing a place for me and my family that is still here on Earth.  We live in a bright world with many things.  Let us be thankful for the "things" and give some away!