Saturday, June 30, 2012

Home Dedication

We strongly felt God leading us to dedication our new home to Him through a time of prayer with our family and friends.  We understood it might be awkward for our nearest and dearest to wander throughout our house praying over each room, but we felt even more strongly that we needed to be obedient to our Lord. 

My brother and Laura, the Whistlers, the Blankenships, the Martinents, and my second mom Donna Cox were able to join us.  Two dear friends fell under the weather at the last minute, the Tanners and the Patenaudes, but they sent such sweet notes of prayer anyway.  Darling friends all around!

We had everyone gather at our home to walk around separately, praying for each room and all that is to happen in those rooms.  Isaac and I very meticulously picked out Scripture and posted them in the entry to each room to help guide prayers as needed.  We then closed in group prayer.  Precious, precious words were spoken on our behalf to our Daddy God.  Isaac and I are truly blessed.  There was also a place to write prayers that we can keep as a reminder of this time.  These words are so special to us!

Then we headed next door to the pool/patio area for a cook out and games.  The rain quit, the clouds broke, and the breeze returned just in time to make for a perfect summer evening.  Evie and Jay, our sweet baby friends, stayed happy the whole time, and God blessed me with my baby fix a week late.  No prayer goes unanswered, ever!

Thank you, thank you to all of the dear, dear people who made tonight possible, and to all of those who wanted to come but prayed from near and far instead.  The Lord has blessed Isaac and me abundantly and then some.  Our continued prayer will forever be that this home is used for the Lord's purposes and the glory of His name.  All we have is His and deserves to be returned to Him alone. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

KJOY Day 4

Today wrapped up KJOY.  It's a bitter sweet day.  Right as the kids are learning just how fun it is to serve others, we end!

After three days of loving others, we wrapped up the week with one last Bible story, The Good Samaritan out of the book of Luke.  The children love this story because they have heard it so many times.  They like to act it out and explain that everyone is a neighbor. They are right-we are to love everyone because Jesus loves us all!

We then told them we had a surprise for them.  We talked about how it's ok to do something for ourselves when we are working hard to serve Jesus first.  It's ok to do something we want to do from time to time.  Those 12 kindergarteners became so excited!  We wouldn't tell them where we were going, but that didn't stop them from guessing and guessing.

The Kemah Boardwalk has turned into a huge tourist trap, but they have a great aquarium that offers behind the scenes tours.  This was the kids' big surprise.  They loved looking at all of the fish and watching the scuba divers clean the tank before they opened for the day.  Kemah is so nice when before it opens to the public!  The best part of the morning was feeding the sting rays.  We spent 20 minutes just the 15 of us touching and feeding and squealing at all of the rays' antics.  What a hoot!  Two of them decided to play chase across the pool creating a mini tidal wave the drenched my entire front side.  I loved every second of it!  The kids thought it was crazy funny!

Our last stop was McDonalds for lunch.  It's not my favorite place, but it's the only place with a large enough playground indoors for so many kiddos. 

The best quote from today was when one of the boys said, "But Miss Laura, we don't serve others to get surprises.  We do it to love Jesus."  Amen, and may it be!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

KJOY Day 3

Each day this week just keeps getting better and better!  God's hands are all over each activity we do, and I am thrilled the kindergartners are seeing our Daddy God at work.

I didn't manage to take any pictures today; so sorry!

We began our morning by passing out decorated take out boxes full of homemade trail mix to our church staff.  The kids were so excited to knock on doors and tell each staff member, "Thank you for helping our church!"  I heard from a reliable source at choir tonight that the snacks were incredibly tasty.

With three floors of staff to great and treat, we were running a little behind, so we made a mad dash to the local assisted living facility.  We went to Rosemont last year to sing and visit, but we felt we were missing something.  This year we came prepared with crafts in hand!  One can never go wrong with crafts in a room full of children and the elderly!  We spent an hour painting sun catchers and wind chimes and chatting up a storm.  Ok, the kids and the residents chatted.  Terri, Kymberlee, and I mostly were able to just listen.  I have never seen kindergarteners open up like that, but they talked a mile a minute about their families, their schools, and their sports activities.  The residents ate up the attention like a baby with a bottle of sugar water.  Oh my, what precious, precious moments God unfolded in front of my eyes this morning.  One lady went to her room to find a rose.  She gave it to one of our boys and told him to give it to his mama and make sure she knew she has such a fine son.  Be still, my heart!  Another resident gave us a tour of his apartment, to the thrill of each child.  Another man, who is a life long artist, made hilarious origami characters for us to take home.  Who was supposed to be blessing whom today?!

After lunch, we packed snack bags with water and food for the kids' parents to keep in their cars.  Our 'homeless bags' were the biggest hit from last year, and we couldn't pass up the opportunity to meet a physical need in our area.  

Tomorrow is our last day, and it's a huge surprise for the kids!  Can't wait!  Lord be glorified!

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm so in love with our sweet kindergartners at KJOY.  Scroll down for what we did Monday and Tuesday, and check back tonight and tomorrow for how we ended the week.  God be glorified!

I'm loving this sweet face and can't wait to go visit her again!
I love that we're getting things hung on our walls and more of the boxes unpacked.  Two of the three guest rooms have the furniture arranged, so come on and visit!

I love that a new Madea movie comes out on Friday.  Can't wait to see it this weekend!

What are you loving this week?

Linking up with Jamie.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

KJOY Day 2

The kids were so excited to arrive for KJOY this morning.  They got right to work making door hangers for our visit tomorrow to an assisted living facility.  Before we left for today's field trip adventures, Miss Kymberlee told the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 + people with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.  The kids always love hearing that the food came from a little boy willing to share what he had for Jesus to work in mighty ways.  Amen!

Our first visit was to the local food pantry.  Huge, wide eyes took in all the food bags and supplies for families that are having difficult times in our community.  It is hard fro our kiddos to grasp the concept of not having a stocked pantry and fridge.  I think they enjoyed seeing all of their donations, especially the produce they picked, placed where families would be able to take it home on Thursday's pick up.  The biggest hit is always the trip into the walk-in freezer.  :)

Hands down, the favorite activity today was the Pasadena Fire Station #10.  I worked hard to try to take some photos of only the backs of the kids heads so I could post them.  Oh, the excitement as we pulled up to the station!  Lt. Grant gave a fabulous tour, demonstrating how their night vision cameras work, how water is pumped, and how they train.  The kids loved the huge TV and now think that firefighters mostly play Wii.  Oops.  I think they climbed through the pump truck, ladder truck, brush fire truck, both 4 wheelers, and the zodiak water craft.  Another firefighter demonstrated how their equipment works and then let each kid play dress up to their hearts' content. And of course, they got to flash the lights and blare the sirens!  The kids loved explaining what their cards said (Thank you for being a star in our community) as they thanked the fire fighters and gave them coffee mugs full of candy.  I think those guys were a bit taken back to receive 12 sweaty hugs as we departed, but they had huge smiles on theirs faces.  Success!

The kids were shocked to learn firefighters get to use 4 wheelers.

After lunch, we made goody bags of chex mix for one of tomorrow's projects.  I can't wait for tomorrow!

Monday, June 25, 2012

KJOY Day 1

KJOY is here!!!  My summers are always full because I don't tolerate more than a weekend's worth of down time, and without fail, I promise this will be my favorite week of my time off from teaching school.  It was last year, and this year has hit a grand slam start too.

KJOY is different from VBS or play days because it has nothing to do with the individual child and everything to do with missions.  This week is a game changer in thinking abilities for these 6 year olds.  KJOY stands for Kindergartners learning to put Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last.  These kiddos are so used to coming to church, learning a story, having some worship time, playing on the playground, eating a snack, and going home.  Everything that is done is all for them.  We want to make sure they are happy and having fun as we feel learning happens best in a positive, energetic environment.  However, aside from safety, snack time, and lunch, KJOY is not about what the children want but about how God wants us to live.

Monday of KJOY is rough in the sense that Terri, Kymberlee, and I hear a lot of, "Is it time to eat yet?"  "Is it time for the playground?"  "It's hot; why are we outside?"  Great questions from kids who are used to having their way.  We cheerfully explain that we are doing things to serve others this week and keep on working.  They pick up on our example (kids are quick like that!) and things quiet down and everyone is happy again. Six year olds are not to young to learn the joy in doing something for someone without a reward in return.  They like it.  

Our first Bible story is always out of Mark 12 about the Greatest Commandment.  The kids know the 10 Commandments by the end of Kindergarten, and it's easy for them to comprehend that the most important thing in life is loving God.  We then spend this week teaching them to apply our love of God by loving on others.  God sees that we love Him when we love on others, and others see we love God when we love on them.  It's a great circle, and they think it's pretty cool.

Today was not so cool.  It was nearly 100 degrees by the time we went inside at noon.  We have a community garden at our church that benefits our local food pantry.  We spent a hot morning harvesting onions, limes, tomatoes, green bell peppers, green beans, and squash.  In all, we'll be bringing 46 pounds of fresh produce to the food pantry tomorrow.  So cool!  We then planted new flowers in the beds around the front walk of the church.  I think more dirt stayed in the ground than on the kids and all the worms and rolly pollies found new homes that were not inside mouths or noses. 

I can't wait for tomorrow, and if the kids' excited chatter with their mommas at pick-up time is any indication, they can't wait either!  Praise You, Jesus!

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: We were too full from lunch at Chuy's to want dinner.  Ha!

Monday: Leftover Chuy's

Tuesday: Pork Marsala

Wednesday: Grilled Tilapia

Thursday: Philly Cooking Cream Lasagna

Friday: Chicken Picata

Saturday: Prayer Dedication for our new home=hot dogs at the pool

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Miss Layla is Here!

Welcome to the Pearce Family, sweet Layla!  David and Laura brought home this cutie from Abilene yesterday.  She's right about 6 1/2 weeks old, and Isaac and I are in love with this furry niece of ours.  Layla is a playful, cuddly fur ball and just precious.  We can't wait for her to get a bit bigger so she can meet her cousins!  

Layla was outside playing when we arrived, but as soon as she saw new faces calling her name, she came hopping to us.  She's so little she hops instead of runs.  It's adorable!
This sweet girl has full blown puppy breath right now.  I love it, but I'm glad it's temporary.  :) She took a few cat naps while we were there and was then ready to play some more.  What a pumpkin dooder!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Roller Coaster Week

There are times I wish life had fast forward buttons.  This week was one of those.  While my dad is actually completely at fault, I'm blaming Isaac.  I know, I know, the men always get blamed.

Monday night Isaac and I had gone out for dinner and to run errands.  Isaac was just mentioning how he didn't want me to leave for 5 days because he'd miss me so much.  Considering that every romantic bone in my sweet husband's body has dissipated recently, I was so tickled to hear this.  Not 30 seconds after the words left the dear man's mouth, my phone was ringing.  It was Mom telling me the doctor had just called Dad to tell him a CT Scan of his back showed a large mass in his colon.  He was scheduling a biopsy for this week, and Dad was not to leave town.  I burst into tears. 

Dad has done this twice to us before, once with a prostate cancer scare (that was legit but quickly resolved) and two years ago with a brain tumor (benign and not growing and harmless), so I honestly wasn't worried that Dad had colon cancer.  However, this meant Mom, Dad, and I were going to miss a dear family friend's gorgeous wedding in Arkansas.  It also meant I wouldn't get to play Nanny Extraordinaire to the bride's 10 week old niece (also part of this amazing family that have been friends with my parents for over 30 years now).  I've never been to the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas and was incredibly excited for two days of hiking and shopping before the wedding festivities began.  The BEST part was having my parents all to myself for five whole days.  I can't remember I had their undivided attention for so much consecutive time, and I was planning all sorts of fun things in my head.  Losing that time with both Mom and Dad is truly what crushed me the most.

Ok, so my week had to be rescheduled.  I was able to register for my school district's mandatory Pre-AP training for Wednesday and Thursday so that I could attend all 4 days of KJOY (2011 Part 1 and Part 2) next week by getting it out of the way now instead of then.  The training was actually a lot of fun and led to great discussion about our district's GT program.  I'm working hard to get it up to par for next year.  I was here to put some final touches on KJOY, and I'll get to sing with Chamber Singers for tomorrow's worship service at church.  Lots of good came from me being here this week.

So, Friday around lunch rolls around.  Mom sends a text that said, "He's fine!!!"  Ok, what does that mean?  He had just been put to sleep for a biopsy, so who knew?!  Mom finally called a bit later to say that Dad didn't have a mass and certainly didn't have cancer in his colon.  Apparently his colon was in the middle of a spasm during the CT Scan, so it gave the appearance of a mass.  I was ready to kill my dad.  Here we were missing a beautiful time with friends because of a muscle spasm?!  Seriously?!?!

A bit later, I texted Mom, teasingly suggesting we drive on up and make the wedding.  She called me almost immediately to say she and Dad were already on their way up to Eureka Springs.  They were going to drive half way, spend the night, and get there in plenty of time for today's wedding.  Cue the tears once again.  I was truly crushed at this point.  They didn't want to come back until Monday so they could enjoy the area, which I completely understand, but I have to be here Monday for KJOY.  I wouldn't trade KJOY for much, but SERIOUSLY?!?!  (Cue any clip of Meredith Gray in her finer moments at this point...ha).

Ah, but there's always a silver lining because my Daddy God doesn't like His children to mope.  My sweet friend Michelle invited me to join her and the girls for lunch, shopping, and swimming today.  We had a fabulous time just being girls.  We won't get a lot of that once the twins come in the Fall (not that anyone is complaining!!), so it was a treat.  My grandparents had the dogs and me over to join them for dinner, and Isaac came home early from his guy's night because they were all tired. 

The BEST part of my Saturday not spent cuddling an adorable 10 week old darling and enjoying a gorgeous wedding was the phone call about 8:30 tonight.  It was my 10 year old nephew Alex.  He was at a friend's house, enjoying a sleep over, and wanted to talk to me.  Alex is all boy, but he has a soft spot that when rubbed just right turns him into the biggest sweetie pie.  He just wanted me, out of the blue, and I loved every second of it.  Eventually his friend started giving him a hard time, so we said we'd resume our conversation later, but what a treat!  I told my sister that if he's calling girls from sleepovers already, at least for now it's me!  His phone call wasn't quite baby cuddles and 5 days with my parents, but I'll take it.  Thanks, Lord!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm loving having my cross wall reassembled in our new home.  It fits perfectly on the wall above my piano, just like in the rental house. 

I love that one of my favorite Mediterranean restaurants is just that much closer to where we now live.  I stopped on my way home Monday to grab tzatziki and pita for lunch.  Yum!

I love the mini shopping trip I had at the Loft on Monday.  I earned some extra money re-writting the 6th grade Social Studies assessments for this coming school year, and I decided to use a bit of it on some new clothes.  I don't buy clothes often, but I had fun on Monday.  I needed a few things for the TAGH trip in July so aside from these two cute dresses, I got a yellow dress, a pair of shorts, a tank top, and a super soft t-shirt.  Come, on DC and Boston and lots of places in between!

I love that Aggie Belle loves her new bed.  She needed a soft spot to snuggle down in our living room, and this bed arrived yesterday.  I took this picture about 3 minutes after it came out of the box.  I think she approves!

I made a new cake recipe yesterday afternoon out of boredom during a thunderstorm, and while it's not my favorite, it's pretty tasty. 
What are you loving?

Linking up with Jamie.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: Picnic on the beach with our Sunday School friends

Monday: Mr. Gattis to use awesome coupons before they expire

Tuesday: Pearland with my family

Wednesday-Sunday: Laura-wedding in Arkansas; Isaac-fridge and freeze both stocked with tons of options :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

My dad and granddad are so amazing. I am beyond blessed to still have both of thing going strong and taking large roles in our lives.  Thank You, Jesus!

We celebrated my dad and Dede yesterday with lunch at Maggiano's after the Joel Rosenberg conference.  Maggiano's is an amazing Italian restaurant by the Galleria.  We left with enough left overs for all 8 of us to have for two more meals-no joke.  I didn't manage to get any family photos, but I did take these when Dad and Dede were brought plates of their famous Italian lemon cookies:
Start children off in the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it. ~Proverbs 22:6  Thank you both!

Today, Isaac was spoiled by the pups. Yes, we celebrate Mother's Day and Father's Day too.  Besides, as Isaac pointed out Saturday night, he has acted as a father to many human children, and he's completely right.  Just because we can't have kids at this moment makes him no less of a father to so, so many.  He's worked tirelessly to be an example of Christ to orphans and other kids we know. I bought him a Keurig.  Neither of us drink coffee, but we do drink lots of tea, so we thought we'd try one.  Between coupons and a gift card, I snagged this thing for $40.  That makes me not feel too badly about owning it!
After church, we run a few errands and then packed up half our house to be able to join 3 other families from our adult Sunday School class at the beach.  We've never taken the dogs to the beach with the intent of being stationary, but we tried it yesterday.  There were 6 kids ranging in age from 6-12, so I wasn't sure what to expect from Bailey and Aggie Belle, but they were in puppy heaven all evening.  I suggested buying a dog tie stake so Aggie Belle could roam close by and we'd be hands free long enough to play or eat.  It worked perfectly, and the kids took to our two like they were all long lost buddies.  Those dogs swam and played harder than ever before.  The mommas and I sat in the surf and chatted away for four hours talking about fun things, but also several topics that made me ponder my own heart and motives.  Love it. The dads and Isaac wrangled the kids while we visited.  Yes, that was probably backwards since it is Father's Day, but no one seemed to mind.  The guys and kids ended up playing some crazy game of baseball using a basketball.  It thrilled my heart to see Isaac in the middle of all of it.  What a fun, blessed day!
The guys and little Carly playing up a sand storm!
This little boy charmed the whole beach and made a ton of friends, human and canine.  I was very impressed.  See that sand on his cute nose?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Implosion Conference

Joel Rosenberg has been mentioned here numerous times.  His writings challenge me to my core to be a better Christian and even a better American.  Joel's fiction books are thrilling and inspiring all at once.  His insight into Biblical prophecies is enthralling.  And today, Isaac, Nanny, Dede, and I had the privilege to spend 3 hours being poured into by Joel and then the chance to meet and briefly visit with him.  It was truly exciting and an honor.  Joel is a humble man and such a fabulous teacher.

Joel gave a 3 hour conference at FBC Houston this morning that was broadcast to 43 states, India, Canada, and New Zealand.  The topic was about his new book, Implosion, which I bought today and will post a review as soon as I get a chance to read it.  Many authors, secular and Christian, have recently published both fiction and nonfiction books about what might happen to America if our economy, politics, and/or culture doesn't change soon.  I appreciate Joel's perspective because he keeps himself and his thoughts as firmly grounded in the truth of Scripture as humanly possible.

Here are some facts from today.  I wrote 5 1/2 pages of notes, and I don't have references for each one, but Implosion does site all of the sources.  America is $15.6 trillion in debt.  If Americans paid off the debt at $1 per second, it wouldn't be paid off for over 30 thousand years.  According to a recent FBI report, violent crime is up 400% in America from 1960, and murders in small towns (~1,000-10,000 people) are up 18.6% in the last year. 23% of US teens report using pot as they see it as all natural, unlike cigarettes.  I can vouch for this as we had 2 7th graders busted for having marijuana on campus the last few weeks of school.  1 in 5 teens admit to binge drinking.  The porn industry earns more each year than NBC, ABC, and CBS combined.  America has now aborted more babies than the number of humans the Nazis murdered by more than 10 times.  And here's the thing: lots of this is happening inside the church.  This shouldn't surprise anyone- 2 Timothy 3:1-5 mentions all kinds of sins that we are then told to avoid coming from other believers.  God knew His people would fall away from Him; how many times did the Israelites do it?  We don't seem to have learned anything from their examples.  Oops.  See, this is what I tell my kids over and over-if you don't learn your history, you'll repeat it over and over and over again.  And we have because we don't pay attention.  We aren't willing to trust God alone.  Hmmm...

Ok, that's depressing.   So, where the heck is the hope?  Well, individually, there is always hope through salvation in Christ.  There is also hope of a nation wide revival.  Even secular historians identify two major national Christian revivals in American history.  What's to say God won't reign down His grace and cause a 3rd?  Here's the deal: Joel firmly believes God is shaking America to bits to wake her up so that we stop clinging to earthly things (wealth, 401k's, jobs, status symbols, etc) and learn that our hope is found in Christ alone.  I completely agree.  It makes sense every way I look at it. 

Check out 2 Chronicles 7:14.  This is a promise for Israel, not America, but since God's personality doesn't change, there is reason to hope that He will do the same for us. 

Then visit the story of Jonah.  Is the spiritually strong American church like Jonah-knowing what we need to do to fix our own version of Ninevah but refusing to do it for selfish reasons? Then there's the spiritually dead American church that isn't helping either.  They need the strong church too!

My proposition to all of this, and I was tickled when Joel mentioned this in his own words, is this: the Americans that know Christ must start acting like Christ.  This means being His hands and feet and sharing His hope with our neighbors.  The only way to change D.C. is to change hearts and only Jesus can change hearts.  The world doesn't understand why Christians oppose things like premarital sex, drunkenness, porn, lewdness, and homosexuality because they don't know Christ.  They don't get it.  I'm not going to protest them and yell and scream and avoid them.  I'm going to love on them.  I won't get anywhere with them by telling them they're wrong because they don't see why they are wrong.  If I am an example of Christ and love on them and the Holy Spirit works on their hearts through me, then by the grace of God, come to Christ and understand why I don't do the things I don't do.  See how this works?  Pretty neat, right?  As individuals change, society changes, and it's all through Christ, not me setting up a protest at an abortion clinic or some other such thing. 

Jonah's book is a cool story-redemption instead of judgement is poured out on Ninevah, and all the people delight in God.  Yet, turn a few pages to Nahum.  It's the sequel to Jonah.  Roughly 150 years has passed and Nahum is telling Ninevah of the judgement God is going to pour out on them because they have once again turned from God and His ways.  This time, the Ninevites didn't listen, and Ninevah was destroyed about 600 years before Christ was born.  This can happen to America.  This might never happen to America, but we have seen through God's character that He has in the past destroyed nations that turn against Him.  We can hopefully prevent this through prayer and discipleship.  Too many believers accept Christ but never grow in their faith and never reach out to teach others.  We each need a Paul and we each need a Timothy.  I love that example.

Joel ended the conference with a reminder that too many Christians keep on sinning.  He challenged us that if we have an plans to sin-watch a movie with inappropriate material, listen to music that's against God, use sex inappropriately, hang out with people in ways we shouldn't-to put it off for a long, long time so we can be examples of Christ in the here and now and spend time ministering to those around us.  I loved the use of humor, but he's right.  

I'd love to hear what you think if you read a copy of the book.  Most of the libraries now have it in stock and ready to be devoured!

My hope is found in nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness-maybe it forever be true.

I really want to visit Israel with one of Joel's groups some day!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sky VBS at UBC

"I don't want to leave VBS!"  I heard this about 10 billion times today from my precious kindergarteners.  I almost cried.  Honest.  Most of my kids this year are members at other area churches, so I likely won't see them again.  They made my heart so full this week, and I didn't want to leave them or VBS either.  It was tempting to pout with them, but I chose to be the adult.  Am I allowed to pout now that I'm not in front of them as an example though?  ;)

At one point, I heard that 7 kids had accepted Christ this week.  That right there makes this week a success.  Add to that the 600+ kids that were loved on all week by 200+ adults and I say the week was perfect.  UBC has so many highly dedicated adults and teens who pour every ounce of all they have into each child they see for 4 hours a day during VBS.  I am beyond grateful to volunteer with such amazing, God-fearing individuals.

My favorite stories from this week:

I sent this email to our pastors on Monday night:

A friend of mine who is pregnant with twins and already has two at home texted me today during VBS to see if I could come babysit this afternoon.  The weekend had slipped past her and she realized mid-morning she was down to the last pull-up and nothing of value to fix for dinner before their church's VBS tonight.  Oops.  Of course I told her I'd grab something quick for lunch and head straight there when I was done at UBC.  Typically, I avoid McDonalds for anything more than a Diet Coke, but it was the easiest choice from church to my friend's house this afternoon.  The drive through was long, but it was too hot to care.  I placed my order, paid, and pulled up to the last window.  The sweet employee who was waiting for me with my food had obviously not had the easiest life.  The wrinkles were deep and her teeth weren't in the best of shape.  Yet, she had a huge smile on her face and exclaimed, "You had a great VBS today!"  It wasn't a question; it was a fact.  She didn't want to ask me; she already knew.  A big smile spread across my face as I responded, "We sure did!"  I thanked her for my food and drove off before I processed the fact that I had never met this sweet grandma of a lady, my seat belt was covering the words on my Crew Chief shirt, and my old UBC sticker is worn off my truck, so nothing about me gave away that I had just come from a great morning with 7 precious 'almost' 1st graders and two amazing co-leaders.  While I'm sure my friend thought I was blessing her today, her simple request for help put me on a course out of my normal routine that left me with an encounter with a gorgeous smile from my Daddy God.  Thank you all for ensuring that our church budget includes VBS and other ways that I get to love on kids during my time away from teaching school during the summers.  There are no words to express my gratitude for you allowing me to do what I get to do.

Our kids loved each rotation, but they really liked our Bible time.  They got to pretend to be Lazarus and dress up in 'mummy wrap' and come out of the tomb.  They got to have a huge party to celebrate Jesus's resurrection.  Today we roasted fish over a fire to have a fish breakfast with Jesus after a long night of fishing.  I love this idea:

This morning, sweet little Megan brought me a drawing she made last night.  It shows her in bed with a clear view of her bedroom window.  Out the window is a fierce storm with lots of lightening.  She told me that before this week, she had been afraid of thunderstorms and would cry and run to her mom.  Megan wrote on her picture "Now Not" (Not now) to indicate that now storms don't scare her because she learned this week that no matter what, she can trust God.  I fought the tears as I hugged her so tight she turned purple.  Ok, not really, but I'm sure she thought I was crazy for making such a fuss over a drawing.  But, come on!  My heart was overflowing as I silently praised my Jesus for this darling child and the ways He is revealing His truths to her very young heart.  And if Megan thinks I'm a little nuts for it, that's ok with me!

Alright, last but not least, we cannot forget the bet our youth minister Kyle made with the 5th graders.  If they totaled 100 kids by the end of the week, Kyle promised to wear a pink tutu for us.  Ha.  That'll teach a soul not to make a bet with pre-teens.  I mean, really!  They are the most competitive age group on the planet.  I should know-they'll all be in my classroom come August.  Kyle makes such a lovely ballerina. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012


It saddens me that the placement of our nation's space shuttles has caused so much controversy, but gracious knows we're all strongly opinionated about it!  Yes, Houston got gypped.  Yes, the home of the space program deserves a real shuttle.  Yet, we didn't get one.  Politicians are in control of this country, and politics rule nearly every decision made concerning government entities.  Haven't we learned this yet?

So, let's make lemonades out of life's lemons.  No, we didn't get a flown-in-space, manned shuttle.  But, Houston did get one super cool life sized replica that has a few authentic parts.  Our shuttle is currently un-named, but it's the one from the KSC Visitor Center in Florida.  Here's what so special about this one: visitors can touch it and explore through it.  Once it's set up, people can walk inside the two decks to see what the astronauts had to work with on each mission.  This is fun stuff, folks!  The other shuttles will sit in a museum with a barricade around them, untouched by the masses.  At least the one here in Houston will get to feel the love.

On June 1st, our shuttle arrived into Clear Lake via a barge.  It's not everyday that we get to see this sailing into town!  Isaac and I went to check out the festivities after I finished up the last day of school.  Max Q, the astronaut band, played for the crowd and we enjoyed seeing friends from church, work, and the astronaut corps.  The firework show over the lake and the shuttle was spectacular.  I just keep praying our government gets its act together and re-budgets for the completion of a new manned vehicle so Isaac can fly someday.  There is still so much of God's great creation to explore!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I love that our house is slowly  beginning to look like a home.  Don't get me wrong; there are still boxes everywhere, but I'm finding time to put some small touches in places so that it feels like this place is home.  I'm grateful for gift cards and awesome sales at Hobby Lobby and Kirklands to help me with this!
Above our bedroom door.  Can't wait to paint and find new curtains!
Butterflies on the front porch.

Close-up of one of them.

Above the front door.  Can't wait to change out that foyer light!
The best part of this week is that it's VBS at our church!  I don't post pictures of kids without express permission from their parents, so no cute faces will show up here.  Just trust me that I have the 7 absolute cutest 'almost' 1st graders in our church.  They are so thrilled to be in VBS this week, and I'm all wound up in watching them be loved on by our Daddy God.  I also have the greatest 'almost' 7th grade helper.  Thanks Kim for making that one happen!  At Sky High VBS, we're learning that all things are possible when we trust God!  Kim also made sure my group was the Space Shuttles.  Does she know me well or what?!

Selfishly, I also love how much pool time I've had in just a week and a half of summer break.  This is so awesome!

I'm too tired from VBS to think of much else for this week, but I'm sure I'll find more later, so stay tuned!

Linking up with Jamie.
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