Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to All!

Just wanted to say Merry Christmas to everyone!

Life is very busy these days (we aren't home much) - so much for a vacation! We are very happy to announce that Lyndsey has gotten a job!

She starts training on Monday. We are thrilled for her.

We hope everyone enjoys this Christmas season.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Prayer Needed

I would ask for everyone to pray for a very dear couple in our lives.

I don't have permission to print their names here so I will just give their initials.

I was talking to L this morning. She told me that her husband, D, was diagnosed with liver cancer last Thursday. Not only does he have cancer, but he also has hepatitis C and cerosis (sp?) of the liver. D is not an alcoholic at all. He apparently inherited the hep C and cerosis from his mother at birth.

D has been put on a liver transplant list. Even if he survives the cancer, he will die if he doesn't get the transplant because his liver is 80% dead (that is according to the doctor).

He's been give a year or less to live.

Both D and L and their family are very strong Christians. They are asking for a miracle in all of this but they want God to be glorified as well.

Please pray for their emotions as well. They have been through the fire when it comes to life's experiences. So many things have happened to them in the last several years; things that most of us cannot handle. Yet, they still serve the Lord with all they have.

They are a testimony to Walter and I of God's grace in their lives. How they have endured everything and still love and serve the Lord is a tremendous work of grace. They still have a smile on their face and still see God's goodness in their lives.

We love them dearly and just ask for everyone to pray for them.

Something I Learned

As I was reading my Bible this morning, I came across some verses that perplexed me. I decided to look up a few definitions in the Webster's 1828 dictionary and also look up them up in the Greek dictionary as well.

I didn't know that these words were tied together until I looked them up.

2 Timothy 2:16 says, "But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness."

2 Timothy 3:6 says, "For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts," (To understand the whole passage you need to read starting at 2 Timothy 3:1 and reading down thru verse 7.)

I randomly looked up 'babbling' after I read chapter 2 and then after I read the word 'silly' in chapter 3 I looked that one up.

They both mean the same thing. Silly = babbling. I will even copy the definitions here so you can see it for yourself.


phluaros (this is the Greek word for babbling and silly)
Thayer Definition:

1) of persons uttering or doing silly things, garrulous, babbling


Webster's 1828 Dictionary
SIL'LY, a. [Heb. This may be radically the same word, with a prefix. Class Sl. No. 26]

1. Weak in intellect; foolish; witless; destitute of ordinary strength of mind; simple; as a silly man; a silly child.


BAB'BLE, v.i.

1. To utter words imperfectly or indistinctly, as children.

2. To talk idly or irrationally; to talk thoughtlessly.


3. To talk much; to prate; hence to tell secrets.



How many times I have been guilty of babbling and being silly! I don't want to be like that anymore. The Lord, in His mercy, will help me to overcome this. I am so thankful that the Word of God is alive, powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword. Lord, help me to apply your wisdom to my life!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

All I Can Do Is Laugh

Our church set up a time with a local nursing home/assisted living center to come in and do some Christmas caroling. We went yesterday morning.

I wasn't prepared for how many of the residents showed up. I figured that maybe 10 or so would be there, but there were almost 30. I'm not quite sure why I wasn't prepared, though.

As soon as we opened the door and started walking in they all began to clap for us. That was a weird feeling.

The reading of the Christmas story and caroling began. Oh, how the folks enjoyed it! There were so many smiles on faces. They especially enjoyed the children.

We had wrapped some gifts for them and were handing them out to each of the residents. There were only 3 or 4 men in the room and we had a lot of mens' gifts so each of the them got 2.

There was a man and a woman sitting on a couch. Tyler went up to the man and handed him his second gift. The woman sees that the man has two gifts and she only has one. She looks at Tyler and says, "Do I get two gifts, too?" Tyler, not really knowing how to react, says, "I'm not sure. I will have to ask." The woman is not too thrilled with his response (I can see the scowl on the woman's face and can imagine that she thinks it's not fair). He does get another gift for her and brings it back to her and she says, "Is that for me?!!!!"
____________________________________________________
There is a woman in our church named Lucy.

Lucy is one of a kind. Lucy is VERY outspoken (for the most part, her outspokenness (sp?) is ok). But, she is sweet and will do anything for you to the best of her abilities. She's also very ill. To add to her illnesses, she's going blind.

Tonight, she had something to give to me.

From across 3 aisles of chairs, she says loudly, "Rhonda, I have something for you. You are Rhonda, right?" I said, "Yes, Lucy, it's me." Lucy turns and says to someone sitting close to her, "I can't see faces, but I know it's Rhonda by her hair!"

All I could do was laugh with the rest of the whole church!

Monday, November 30, 2009

We Would Ask...

Update: We rejoice to say that Walter's company has figured out a way to prevent any layoffs at least through February! That IS an answered prayer!


that all pray for Walter's job.

He found out that his company is probably going to be laying off some people. At this point, Walter doesn't think his job is in jeopardy but we just don't know.

We aren't worried, though. We know that God will take care of us. We just want God's will in this situation.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wiggle

Yesterday we picked up Lyndsey and one of her friends from college and brought them home for Thanksgiving weekend.

The morning started out normal/uneventful but progressed in the opposite direction a few hours later.

The boys and I left the house at 6 a.m. The drive was easy; very light traffic.

Lyndsey was to be out of chapel service by 8:30 and I wanted to get home before all the major traffic backed up.

We got up there a few minutes early. I looked at the outside temperature reading on the car and it said 38 degrees. Needless to say, the boys and I were NOT ready for that. Tyler and I had light jackets on and Phyllip didn't bring one. We were cold!

Lyndsey had a couple of friends she wanted me to meet. I was sitting in the car and rolled the window down but then decided to get out to meet them.

A few minutes pass and I'm heading down to the other end of the campus in the car to load the girls' suitcases. I pushed the automatic window button to put the window up and nothing happened. The window was stuck in the DOWN position and it was 38 degrees outside! I mistakenly hit the down side of the window button and watched and heard the window drop completely down inside the door. That was NOT a good thing!

We got the girls loaded up and left with the window down. We drove all the way home with the window d.o.w.n. It was a very cold drive for the first 90 minutes or so. When we got to San Bernardino the weather was warmer and it wasn't such a bad drive.

Walter 'fixed' the window when he got home. When we have more time he will really fix it.

It's got to be that normal uneventful outings are just plain boring! I think that's why we don't usually have them.

(We also seem to have cars that have quirks. For instance, our van's windshield wipers don't work most of the time when you need them to. But when they do decide to work they change speeds on their own. We don't have to turn the lever - they change from normal to warp speed to in between and so on all on their own!)

So...on to the title for this post.

We were still in the car. Lyndsey had her phone and it rang. After she hung up the phone, Tyler asked her, "Lyndsey, is your phone on wiggle?"

(Lyndsey has her phone set on 'vibrate' so that if she gets a call during class or church service, it doesn't interrupt. Tyler didn't know the word was 'vibrate' so he called it 'wiggle'.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

In Awe

I write this with so much excitement!

God is just so awesome!

There almost aren't right words to describe what God means to me.

I can go through all the BIG things that He has done for me. I'm not minimizing those at all. It's just that these are kind of like the 'givens' so to speak. For example:

*He has given me salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ
*I have a marriage made in Heaven - yes our marriage is THAT great!
*I have 3 fabulous kids
*etc.
*etc.
*etc.

But lately I've been focused on the little things that God continues to do for me - and they truly are just for me (but I want to share them to encourage you).

*I wrote a couple of weeks ago about candles being given to me and how much I love them.
*I've had my eye on a music cd for several weeks now. We haven't had the extra money to buy it. Today, my pastor's wife told me she had something for me. It was a music cd that someone had given to her. She knew about our car being broke into and all the music stolen. She decided to give it to me. Guess what? It was the exact cd that I had been wanting! And, even better, ONLY God knew how much I wanted it!
*I've been looking for makeup remover (I know this one seems a bit silly). I've been using a particular brand of skincare for several years now. I try to buy most of it on ebay at discounted prices. I haven't been able to find it there lately and I don't have the money to buy it at full price. I happened to get an Ulta magazine earlier this week and hadn't looked at it until yesterday. In it was a coupon for a free item. Guess what one of my choices was? Yep, one FREE makeup remover! Now, it's not the brand I usually use, but I'll take FREE anyday!

I am truly in awe of God's love for me. It completely humbles me and makes me want to bow at His feet and just stay there a while in praise and worship to Him.

I would describe my relationship with God like that of a husband and wife (the Bible does speak of Christ being the bridegroom and we the bride). Just like my husband showers me with love and things that I take pleasure in, God does the same. More and more I see that God proves His love for me over and over and over each day. I just haven't been focused enough on Him to see all of it until recently.

During this thanksgiving season, look for ways that God shows you how much He loves you. I bet you will be absolutely astounded at everything He has done and continues to do for you! I know I am!

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Have Watched Waaaay Too Many Thrillers!

Walter and I were laying in bed last night having a nice end-of-the-day conversation.

The conversation was pleasant. We were laughing, making jokes, and having a few serious thought segments.

(Insert background music to any thriller movie that lets you know something scary is about to happen.)

Everything was going along smashingly when I saw one of the most terrifying images. Imagine seeing the silhouette of a man walking around in your yard. I suddenly became tense and grabbed my husband's hand and said with a frightened tone, "Honey, someone is in our backyard!" Walter flew out of bed and ran over to the window. He cautiously opened the blinds, but couldn't get a good view.

He quickly put his robe on and walked out of the bedroom very commandingly towards the back door. I, on the other hand, quietly ran on my tippy toes out to the dining room and stayed far enough away so as not to be seen by the intruder.

Walter looked out the back door and still could not get a good look. He decided to take the dog out and get a better look (it's the cop in him). I was frighteningly nervous, my heart was practically beating out of my chest, but I was poised to hear him shout at me to get the gun. I also had my phone in hand ready to dial 911 in an instant.

The dog remained totally calm and she and Walter walked casually back to the door and came inside. Walter then whispered to me that it was our next-door neighbor in his backyard. (Another neighbor up the street has a light that somehow picked up our neighbor's silhouette and it was shining in our bedroom window.) Phew!!!!!! Hugh sigh of relief suddenly overwhelmed me and we walked back to our bedroom, climbed into bed, and drifted off happily to the land of fabulous dreams.

Indeed, there are too many thriller movies under my belt. No, I don't watch them anymore. And, yes, this really did happen last night! I am NOT exaggerating! I can't make this stuff up!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I Love It When They Think They Can Pull A Fast One On Us!

A couple of weeks ago, our church held a "Trick or Trunk" alternative to Halloween. It turned out far better than we could have imagined. There were well over 100 people that showed up.

On to the story...

Phyllip and Tyler were talking with their friend, Lawrence, at the Trick or Trunk.

The conversation was already underway when it was overheard. It went like this:

Lawrence: I can't do that! I'm grounded...remember??!!

Phyllip or Tyler (I don't know which): Yeah, but you're only grounded when you're at home!

Lawrence: Oh yeah! (you could tell that he had put 2 and 2 together and the light bulb went on in his head) I'm gonna go tell that to my mom!

Insert David, an adult, who overheard the whole exchange.

David: Lawrence, I don't think that's such a good idea.

Lawrence: Why not?

David: I just wouldn't tell your mom.

Lawrence: Ok.

About 30 minutes go by and Lawrence and my boys race past David again and he hears the following:

Lawrence: I'm going to tell my mom that I'm only grounded at my house!

David: Ok, buddy. You do what you think is best.

Insert Esha (Lawrence's mom)

Lawrence: Hey Mom, did you know that I'm only grounded at home?

Esha: Go tell your dad.

Lawrence runs over to his dad - insert Jeff (his dad).

Lawrence: Hey Dad, did you know that I'm only grounded at home?

Jeff: Nice try, buddy!

Just for the record, Lawrence's parents didn't fall for it!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Our Anniversary Gift

Tyler decided he wanted to give us a gift for our anniversary.

He gave us a gift of time.

This young man wrote up a menu of meals that he knew how to cook and handed it to us and asked us to pick what we wanted for dinner.

The menu included the following:
Quesadillas
Ramen
French Toast
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
Meat and Cheese Sandwich - with choice of mayonnaise and mustard
Toast
Oatmeal

How could we say no to that?!!!

He fixed our dinner and he went all out. The table was set with lit candles and music was playing softly.

Then the four of us sat down and ate.

It was the best anniversary gift I could have asked for!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Example

I find that I/we have made many mistakes in raising my/our children. Does anybody else besides me wish to be a better example to their children?

The more I read my Bible, the more I realize that I have such an awesome opportunity to raise my children to be godly adults/parents.

I want them to be used of God so much. I want to see them live victorious Christian lives and never turn their backs on God.

But...what does my life show them? What are my priorities? Are my words harsh, negative, critical, belittling, etc. or are my words loving, encouraging, uplifting, etc.?

I am learning that words are so important. The old saying when I was a kid I still hear kids say today: "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!" That is one of the biggest lies!

I was called names growing up. Some of it was done in jest and some of it was done to be mean. I grew up believing that I wasn't loved. My feelings were hurt more times than I care to remember. And because of it I ended up harboring bitterness for many years in my life. I really believed that I was unworthy of any one's love and for many years I found myself amazed that someone had actually fallen in love with me and wanted to marry me and live the rest of his life with me. It took me a long time to admit I was bitter and to go to the person I was so offended at and make things right with them. I don't want my children to have to experience that EVER!

I still struggle today with acceptance. I find that I even struggle with God's love for me today because of things in my childhood (yes, I need to 'get over it'). It's hard to change thought patterns that were shaped in my mind as a child. I am very much a non-confrontational person today. I hate confrontation with a passion. I will do almost anything to avoid it. I tend to talk about 'safe' things with others and don't get too deep into opinions or personal matters. Have my children's thought patterns been shaped correctly? Do they struggle with God's love for them or do they embrace Him with every ounce of their being?

What about my actions? Do I portray the love of Christ to my kids and spend quality time with them or do I just brush them off and make them feel unimportant? Do I answer their questions rudely and with harshness or do I take the time to help them understand the answer in a way that shows they are important to me (even if I am tired or busy)?

What about discipline? How do I discipline my kids? Do I do it in love or do I scream at them and say things that are unnecessary and even hurtful? Do I show them from the Bible how they are wrong and how to correct their actions or do I throw my hands up in the air and give up trying to correct them?

How I have failed my children! I can't even count the number of times I've had to apologize to my kids because of my actions, words, wrong discipline, etc. But the Bible tells me that God's mercies endure forever and are renewed daily. With God's help, I know I can be a right example. God, help me to be the right example to my children!

Monday, November 9, 2009

How Could I Forget?

We made plans to visit Lyndsey in Lancaster last Saturday.

The whole day was just fabulous. Having all 5 of us together again was wonderful.

We laughed and talked and played games and enjoyed each other's company all afternoon.

It hit me this morning - I had forgotten how much I love Lyndsey's laugh. When she gets to laughing hard - that's when I think she has her best laugh. How could I forget?

If there's one piece of advice I could give to anyone at this moment about raising children it would be to just soak them up. Drink in every ounce of their being because one day........they will be all grown up and leave the nest and you, too, might just find yourself forgetting some of the things you enjoy most about your children.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

It Was Definitely An Adventure

It wasn't the adventure we had planned, though.

Walter had Thursday and Friday off last week. We had planned to do some things locally because money just doesn't grow on trees around here and we are pinchin' pennies like most people I know.

We decided to go hiking Thursday morning and also Friday morning. Thursday morning came and we headed up to our hiking destination. It was a beautiful day. The area was gorgeous and we spent a couple of hours taking in the scenery and letting the boys play in the river catching frogs and just having a good time. We found out that we could go camping for free there (that caught our attention).

We mosied home for lunch. We remembered that our local zoo (The Living Desert) has a program where people can camp inside the grounds of the zoo. We thought it would be a great experience for the boys so we checked into it. They only offer it on the weekends. So...on the spur of a moment, we packed up all our camping gear (and borrowed a couple items from fellow campers) and headed back to Whitewater to camp for the night.

(Oh the visions we had for the evening and the next morning! It was supposed to be a beautiful evening and we were going to wake up and see the mountain lions walking along the ridge of one side of the mountains and on the other side we were going to see the bighorn sheep walking on the actual side of the mountain. There was also an occasional bear and snake that roam that area. I must insert here that I was not thrilled about any of those animals being close to us except for the sheep. You can call it the 'chicken' side of me.)

We were the only campers that night in the whole park. Camp was set up in less than an hour. The boys were having a great time exploring. Ruby (the dog) was just as giddy as ever wanting to participate in everything. I had started cooking dinner when I heard a blood curdling scream.

I turned around to find Phyllip on the ground and rolling, holding his left leg. I walked over to him and looked at his leg. Everything appeared normal, at least on the outside of his leg. He couldn't walk. He just laid on the ground for quite a while. I helped him get to a chair. I figured he would be running around again in a few minutes - he always is. Not this time. He just kept holding his left foot and moaning. I gave him some ibuprofen hoping that would help. He wanted to sit in the car and prop his leg up.

Shortly after he gets to the car we are scared out of our wits when two incredibly vicious sounding dogs came out of nowhere and started to lunge at us and Ruby! Walter started screaming at them and Tyler to get rocks and throw them at the dogs. I quickly got Ruby off her chain and practically threw her in the car for protection. Ruby came unglued when she heard and saw them. I've never heard her growl and bark like that. I guess her little 'vacation' back in the summer helped her to 'grow up'. We were able to scare the dogs off and everything went back to 'normal?'.

We tried to stick it out. We ate dinner and the pain had gotten so bad with Phyllip that he was sobbing and asked if we could just go home and take him to the doctor. By this time it is pitch black outside. There were no lights at this campground. We had our flashlights and that was it. We decided it was just too mean and heartless to stay there and packed up everything as quick as possible.

Phyllip and I ended up at the cattle call, I mean emergency room, a short while later. There were only a few seats left. It was so packed in there. It was awful.

I haven't paid too much attention to the whole swine flu thing. I believe it's too hyped up - not that people aren't getting sick from it, but the media is blowing it way out of proportion. Anyway, so many of the patients have the flu - you would have to be blind not to see it. They all looked the same - red sunken eyes, red nose, coughing, absolutely miserable feeling, etc. I was almost scared to stay in there.

But we got checked in and waited. And waited. And waited. You get the idea. We were there for 4 hours when we finally got the diagnosis - Phyllip had broken his foot!

If I had just been told I broke my foot, I think I would have cried. But...I'm a girl. Phyllip acted like he had just scored the winning point in a football game! He threw his hands up in the air and shouted, "Cool!" Then he looks at me with the biggest smile and says, "That's 1 down and 205 to go, Mom!" I'm not exactly sure that he actually wants to break all 206 bones in his body, but at that moment he thought it was a great idea! In my head I'm thinking, "You just wait, buddy. You aren't going to like that cast or crutches after a day or two." But, there was no convincing him of it at that point.

He got a splint put on his foot, was given crutches, discharge papers, and we were off. It was very late. He thought the crutches were so 'cool' that he had this sudden burst of energy and he just wanted to 'walk' everywhere. He was all smiles and chatter. I, on the other hand, just wanted my bed. I was exhausted. Just thinking about all that Friday would hold with doctors' appointments and such made me even more tired and it basically ruined any and all plans we had made.

It was a rough night of sleep. Walter had an allergy attack and couldn't sleep. I couldn't get into the REM sleep pattern. I was catnapping. Phyllip woke up a couple of times screaming that his foot hurt and we had to rewrap it for him. We ended up getting about 3 hours of sleep.

I was up as early as I could be and was getting ready to leave in a moment's notice in case the doctor's office told us to come immediately. I had started calling the pediatrician's office to get a referral to the orthapedist's office but they weren't answering the phones yet. In the meantime, I got a phone call from the hospital saying they had read the xray of Phyllip's foot wrong and he didn't break his foot after all. He just sprained/brusied it badly. A huge sense of relief came over me. All adrenaline that had been pumping through my body instantly drained. I was completely and utterly mush - good for nothing.

But, I had to keep going because Saturday was a busy day with a homeschool meeting and then on to see Lyndsey for the rest of the day. I needed to get groceries and fix lunch and dinner to take with us so we didn't have to spend money eating out.

By the time Saturday rolled around, Phyllip discovered that crutches aren't as cool as he thought. They are actually a lot of work. That poor kid had to use them so much. His foot just wasn't up to a lot of walking. His upper body strength was drained out of him quickly. This morning he was mush - bemoaning the fact he needed to use the crutches. Tonight he said, "Well Mom, I learned that crutches just aren't that fun after 1 or 2 days."

We are very thankful that Phyllip didn't break his foot. It has definitely been an adventure - just one that I don't care to repeat.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It Seems Like Yesterday

I married the love of my life.............and today we celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. I still remember our wedding like it was yesterday.

It doesn't seem possible that we've already raised one child nor that our youngest should be almost 11.

I love being married! Our marriage grows sweeter each day. It won't be long and we'll be celebrating our silver anniversary.

I remember when we went to an 25th anniversary party back when we were in our early 20s. I thought the couple was way old! Ha! Look at me now! I'm not far from that! I wonder how many people think that about us!

I love you, babe! Thanks for sticking with me all these years! You are the BEST!!!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ugh!

Both of our vehicles were broke into last night. (sigh)

The stereo in the van was taken (it was a piece of junk anyway). All the music cds in the Buick were taken along with some audio cds. Amazingly, they didn't take the stereo.

Boy, were those thugs in for a surprise when they got home and dumped out all their 'goodies' they had just stolen! They got a bunch of gospel music.

As far as the music goes, we had burned all of our cds onto the computer so we can make copies. I don't think we will be putting master cds in the cars anymore.

Oh well. Maybe God will use those cds in a marvelous way and those thugs will end up getting saved! We have something new to pray for!

Monday, November 2, 2009

It's The Little Things

There are a few things that I get enjoyment out of in life. One in particular is candles. Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE candles. I try to light a candle every day (vanilla are my absolute favorite).

So, for the last several weeks I've been trying to buy some candles. With the economy in the tank, money is very tight and I just haven't been able to justify buying candles. Candles are one of the 'little things' that happen to be way down on the list of priorities for purchase. Other things like FOOD, clothing, etc. seem to take precedence (wink).

We have been in the midst of remodeling our church building these last 10 days or so. Everything has been gone through and if it wasn't necessary or wanted it was either thrown away or Walter and I took it to sell or keep for ourselves.

We brought home about 3 carloads of stuff. As we unloaded the car, one box happened to make its way into the house instead of the garage. It's been sitting in the dining room for the last 3 days staring me in the face.

And then it was like God hit me upside the head today (metaphorically speaking of course). Inside that box is a load of candles! And not just any candles. Can you say my favorite candle? That's right...vanilla and pear scented candles!!!! Not only that, but I had been looking at some new candle holders in the store as well. In the box is also several candle holders. I finally put 2 and 2 together today and realized that God gave me one of the little things I take pleasure in!

I say it over and over again. I continue to be amazed by God and all His wondrous works. My husband asks me why I am amazed that God would provide things for me because, after all, I am one of His children and He loves me and, of course, He would do things like this for me. My answer to that is...I know I shouldn't be amazed but that is the only way I can describe the feeling of KNOWING that God Almighty loves little ol' me!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Life is Just Plain Good!

Just a note to say that I love my life! God is always so good to me and my family!

I can't think of one time where He has ever let me down. Even through the trials of life, God has always been amazing. We do have our fair share of trials but God allows us to go through them to strengthen us.

God has strengthened our faith so much just since Lyndsey left for college. To be honest, we didn't have even a penny to give to Lyndsey when we dropped her off at college. We just kept praying and asking the Lord to provide. And provide He has! Most of her school bill for the semester is paid and we haven't paid the bill except for what we made from a garage sale. The Lord has brought the money in!

We made almost $600 from the sale and we still have about half of our stuff left! Has anybody else made that much money from a garage sale? I haven't heard of it, but I suppose some people have. The people just kept coming! I think there were about 200 people or so that came. We handed out invitations/gospel tracts to each person that came and by the number of piles of tracts we went through we arrived at that number. We have been given quite a few more things to sell in another garage sale.

Walter and I continue to look for ways to sell things or earn extra money to help Lyndsey and it's amazing when you start to go through your closets the things you will find that you don't use that someone else will.

Our family continues to grow closer together and it's great! We are seeing our boys transform into young men and it's fabulous!

In fact, our church has started a remodeling project and we built a new platform among other things. Hardwood flooring was put on the platform and Phyllip was one of 2 guys that installed the flooring. He worked so hard and we are so proud of him. Tyler equally has worked hard for the last 3 days. Both of the boys have gone to sleep quickly each night after a hard day's work! I like that!

Life is busy and just plain good!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More Yummy Recipes

I found a recipe last year that was a new take on Chicken Cordon (sp?) Blue. It's called Chicken Saltimbocca. I found it on Taste of Home's website.

It's very tasty. I however, tweaked it a little to fit my tastes and convenience.

Here are my tweaks:

1) I don't flatten the chicken breasts - takes too much time

2) I also don't roll the chicken and put toothpicks in them. I did this the first 2 or 3 times I made it and it was just way too much work for my liking. But you can do whatever you want

3) Because I started making dinner way too late yesterday, I cooked the chicken in the oven in a covered baking pan at 350 for 1 hour instead of the crockpot and it turned out the same

4) I did not use wine - I substitute with chicken broth

One of these days, I'm going to make the REAL Chicken Cordon Blue.

I served it with Twice Baked Potatoes

I don't have a recipe for it. I just winged it and they came out really good!

Here's what I used:

red potatoes - medium to large (remember that you cut them in half lengthwise so 1 potato can serve 2 people)
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup cheese (I used Boursin cheese - my husband brought home an entire box of this cheese free and it's out of this world good - but you can use cheddar, swiss, jack, or whatever you want)
salt and pepper to taste

Bake the potatoes in the oven at 400 degrees until fork tender (No need to put them on a pan or cover with foil - just put them on the oven rack). Cool. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out potato leaving thin shells.

Put cooked potato into food processor. Add butter, milk, cheese, salt and pepper. Process until mixture is of desired consistency (I like it smooth). Scoop spoonfuls into potato shells (you can heap the mixture in the shells). Top with grated cheese of your choice.

Place potatoes in baking pan. Put in 350 degree oven uncovered about 30 minutes or until heated through.

Tip: My measurements are approximate - you may need more or less. Really, it's up to your taste.

I hope your family enjoys this meal as much as mine did!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Autumn Chowder

In trying to get more (ha!) organized, I decided to make a monthly menu. It is working very well.

It's not quite that easy to come up with a month's worth of recipes off the top of my head so I resorted to the internet - Taste of Home to be exact.

I made one recipe earlier this week that I won't even try to tweak because it was just that bad. I'm not even sure how it made it onto the website. But, I'm willing to try recipes at least once.

Anyhow, onto last night's meal - Autumn Chowder. It was really good. And easy. I made baking powder biscuits to go with it and they actually turned out good, too. It's hit and miss with biscuits for me. I haven't quite figured out why that it, though. Maybe the weather.

Go to the website and print the recipe and try it. You won't be disappointed!

Monday, October 12, 2009

I Should've Listened To Mama

Last Saturday we went to Riley's farm in Oak Glen. We went with a few other families from church.

It's harvest season and there were pumkins, squash, and apples galore!

Our family actually went to several different orchards/farms that day.

The weather was beautiful.

People were everywhere! And, oh, the smell of the food cooking! My, my, my! It was a heavenly smell! Corn on the cob, barbecued meat, apple everything cooking...mmmmmmmmmm! And then when you walked into the gift shops, there were samples...apple butter, pumpkin butter, apple pie, etc. Might I add here that the apple and pumpkin butters were out of this world! I think I'm going to have to try making some homemade butters.

We made it to a place called Parrish Canyon. We went through the different shops there and one really big shop in particular.

I decided to buy some apples I'd never tried before - Arkansas Black apples to be exact. We were standing in line and I glanced to my left. I noticed a tortilla maker. I walked over to check it out. Then something on the shelf above and to the right just a bit caught my eye. I looked at it and couldn't figure out what it was. I picked it up only to discover that there was a base underneath it that was hidden. The base fell to the ground and I heard a pop kinda like the pop when a light bulb breaks. I still didn't know what this contraption was and didn't realize it was ceramic yet, either. I picked up the base and discovered that it was broken. Sigh. I still didn't know what this thing was and had to buy it because I broke it.

You know that old saying, "Don't touch. If you break it, you buy it!" Well, my mama told me over and over (probably thousands of times during my childhood) not to touch things in stores so I didn't break anything (I've said that to my kids probably thousands of times, too, down through the years). I don't remember breaking anything as a child. Now, at the ripe old age of 40, I still should've listened to mama.

My boys hopefully learned a lesson from their mama this weekend. Boy, did I feel like an idiot! At least it only cost $5.50.

It turned out to be a toothpick holder. Just looking at the thing, you wouldn't have known it. We had to look at the display of them to figure it out.

I learned my lesson - don't touch if you don't want to buy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It Was Great and Bittersweet at the Same Time

A couple of weeks ago Lyndsey put in a request to be gone from the college campus for this last weekend. It was accepted and we kept it hush hush and told no one she was coming home. She likes the element of surprise.

The boys and I drove up to Lancaster to pick her up. We had lunch with her and loaded her up and took her to the mall to hopefully land an interview. She is in need of a job and has been filling out applications everywhere but nothing has turned up just yet. If you think about it, would you pray for her about this? I will say, however, the Lord has provided miraculously for her college bill. The money has been coming in and He continues to amaze me with His marvelous ways! You know who you are that have/are helped/helping and from the bottom of our hearts (including Lyndsey's) THANK YOU!!!!!!! To those who have and continue to pray for Lyndsey, another big THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts!

My plans didn't work out like I thought they would. It seems they don't most of the time these days. Hmmmm, maybe I should try something different???? Anyway...I wanted to be home around 3:00 or so Friday afternoon, but we didn't get home until 7:30 p.m. Then we were supposed to have a family night but it went 'bust' because of the time and because her computer has been acting crazy since before she left for college. We did get the computer fixed but ONLY after spending almost the entire weekend working on it.

Saturday came and went. She was with us the entire time, but we were all so busy getting things done that HAD to be done that we didn't exactly spend the quality time as a family that I would have liked. But at least we were together, right? Lyndsey spent a good chunk of the day doing schoolwork. I am thankful that she is motivated to get it done and even get it done early.

The plan for her to come home couldn't have been more timely. Lyndsey needed to come home for a few days. She had somewhat of a rough day last week and she just needed familiar surroundings and family to help get her focus back.

I have a hard time admitting it, but it was kinda weird having her home. I know it's only been 5 weeks since she left but we've gotten used to her being gone. (Has anyone else experienced it so quickly? People told me that I would have a major 'meltdown' after she left, but that didn't happen. I guess I had accepted that this day was coming so long ago that it didn't really phase me. Weird, huh.) She even commented that her room didn't feel like her room anymore. It felt more like a guest room. Sigh!

We got her back to the campus 30 minutes before the evening church service was to start. Again, another one of our plans that went 'bust'. This one was not our fault. It was because there was a forest fire and the main road we take was shut down.

One of the surefire ways to know that Lyndsey is happy and feels at home at college is when she got her suitcase back in her dorm room, she announced to her roommates that she was 'home'. Ya think she's happy? I'd say so!

This whole 'send your child to college' thing has been different. I thought our relationship with Lyndsey would stay the same. Silly me, right? I guess I thought she wouldn't grow up so fast and not need us as much quite so fast. We still talk about 4 times a day and for that I am happy. But I guess I was blind to the fact that I wouldn't be 'raising' her anymore. It's time for her to 'spread her wings and fly' on her own now. In the back of my mind I've known this, but to actually experience it was odd. This is now the time when our relationship becomes 'adult to adult'. Wow! I don't feel old enough to have an adult child (oxy moron, right?)!

We left shortly after the evening service was over. It didn't hurt to leave her this time. I guess it's 'welcome to the new normal' for our family now. I've heard people say that your relationship with your kids gets better as they get older. I'm sure it will, but it's getting used to a new normal that is so strange.

She is doing so well at college. Her grades are excellent and we couldn't be happier. She is growing in her walk with the Lord and she's making friends at the drop of a hat and having a great time.

So...it was great and bittersweet all at the same time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It Was Begging To Be Cleaned

I decided to make homemade pizza tonight. It was going to be a really good one.

I had put fresh basil in the sauce and extra basil on top of all the vegies. Mmmmm...my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

It was done cooking and I was pulling out both of the pizzas. I had made one for the boys and one for Walter and I.

I got the boys' pizza out no problem. I was pulling out our pizza. The hot pad I was holding onto was slipping and I didn't want to burn myself. I tried to compensate for it and ended up overcompensating. The pizza tilted just so and whoosh, the whole top of the pizza slid right onto the bottom of my oven! I was so shocked! I couldn't believe it had happened!

Walter and I ended up eating quesadillas instead. Bummer! Certainly not the dinner I had planned!

Oh well. The oven hasn't been cleaned in a long time. Like the title of this post says, it was begging to be cleaned!

If Thou Canst...

Mark 9:23 "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."

I read this verse yesterday in my devotions.

I have read particular passages in the Bible many times. I can read the same thing 2 or 3 days in a row and one day it will just smack me in the face with amazing understanding! That's what happened when I read Mark 9:23 yesterday.

I believe it all has to do with where I/you are in life.

Walter and I are about to embark on a voyage in our marriage that we've never been to before (our marriage is incredibly strong so please don't think we are having marital problems). We both completely agree with the direction. I am having a little bit of leeriness because I can only see this voyage through 'foggy windows' so to speak. I know that the end result will be better but going on the voyage is foggy at best right now. That's where Mark 9:23 comes into the picture for me. I must claim that verse to take away my skepticism and just believe. Believe that Jesus is leading the way for us because the verse says that ALL things are possible to him that believeth!

We have seen the Lord do some incredible things in our lives and Lyndsey's life since she went to college so I KNOW this verse is true!

I hope you will claim the verse, too!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Spoiled Rotten

I have to admit that last week I celebrated another birthday (the big f-o-r-t-y). Yikes - am I really that old? I remember when I was 20 thinking that 40 was soooooooooooo far away. And now here I am and truthfully, I love my age.

We had a nice, quiet evening just my husband and I alone for the whole night. And I will say that after the day I had, a night away from the kids was just what the doctor ordered!

Saturday rolled around and we went on a deacons retreat to Big Bear. Things were a little weird that morning. Our pastor called and asked us to pick up a few items on our way to meet at the church before heading to Big Bear. And then he said, "When you get to the church, DO NOT open the refrigerator!" We said ok and just shrugged it off. Sure enough, the sign was there in VERY BIG letters.

Everything is great. We make it up to Big Bear and are parking when I see our pastor's wife talking to someone. I thought I recognized her. And then I realized who it was. Do you remember the missionary family we went to see last year in Madagascar? They were there!!!! They are back in the US for a furlough to raise more support and get some health issues taken care of. We were elated to see them! Dear pastor's wife then tells me that part of my birthday present was to bring the Pritchards out to see us (so sweet). Pastor had told us back in August that he had lined up someone special to come out but he absolutely refused to tell us who it was. His lips were super-glued shut about it. Turns out that everyone except Walter and I knew about it.

We had a great time in Big Bear. We traveled back down the mountain and headed to one of the deacon's homes for dinner. We were treated to authentic mexican carne asada. Can I just tell you how mouth watering good it was! Our pastor's wife had cupcakes made especially for me and that's when I found out why I wasn't allowed in the refrigerator. Then I was given a couple of gifts - a candle that smells out-of-this-world good with a candle holder and then a $200 gift card. I didn't open the card until Sunday because I thought my pastor's wife said it was something other than it was. Boy did my mouth hit the ground Sunday morning when I opened it up!

We were able to spend the day with the Pritchards on Sunday as well. They were our guests in church. It was so great to see them and spend time with them. Walter and I had forgotten just how passionate Ja is when he preaches about missions. It really stirred up both of us for missions again.

I was definitely spoiled rotten!

Report

I am happy to report that Lyndsey LOVES college! So loves it, in fact, that she doesn't miss home (she will soon - I just know it!).

Also on the joyful front, she took her first real test and got a 95 (all the others were pop quizzes)! What was a little weird was that she was mad at herself for only getting a 95. She wanted that 100 so bad she could taste it!

I'm not so happy to report that my daughter (aka social butterfly) is sick. Apparently, a lot of the students are sick and it's now Lyndsey's turn.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wasted Spaces

We decided a few years ago that it was time for us to shut the tv off (that turned out to be one of the best decisions we've made - I'm not saying it's for everyone, just that it's been good for us). We got rid of the satellite dish and chose not to get cable or use rabbit ears as well.

There are a few channels I miss being able to watch still after almost 4 years with no tv. They happen to be Food Network and HGTV.

Upon surfing the internet one night a couple of months ago, I ran across some shows from HGTV and DIY channels.

We started watching an episode here and there.

Little did I know that watching "Wasted Spaces" would have such a profound effect on Phyllip. From the very first episode the kid was hooked. So hooked, in fact, that he asks to watch one episode at least once a day (and we hear Tyler yell, "Nooooooooo!)!

Not only does he love the show, but for about a week, he would go around the house looking for 'wasted spaces.' With tape measure in hand, he would search and search. He even got Tyler helping him to find space that was being 'wasted' in our home. One day he said he found room between the main bathroom and our bedroom closet. Turned out to be only 4 inches. Another day, he got a brilliant idea. We should convert our attic into a storage room. That's not happenin, either!

I just like to watch the shows. You can get some pretty good ideas from them and one day those ideas might just come in handy when we have enough money to tackle a do-it-yourself home remodel project.

Until then, Phyllip will just have to keep watchin'.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Few Things I've Learned

In the last week, I've learned a few things.

First - parenting is H.A.R.D.!

After all the phases of raising a child(ren), Walter and I have come to the conclusion that the most difficult part is allowing them to be adults. You can tell them, show them, remind them several times of things they need to do, etc., but in the end, it's up to them to actually complete the tasks set before them the correct way. You hope they choose the correct way the first time so they don't have to learn the hard way. Interestingly, though, I believe we learn better and faster from our mistakes (or at least most of us).

Letting go of Lyndsey last week at college was easy (I shock myself when I say that - I didn't think I would be able to). Letting her learn how to be an adult now that she's 'on her own'? INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT!

Lyndsey had a few days last week that turned out completely opposite of what we had expected. In a fitting phrase I will just say that 'life bit her hard.' Add to that far less sleep than she's used to and learning time management without Dad and Mom around to remind her and you wind up with a young lady who's beside herself with stress. However, a little sleep and food did wonders for her!

Walter and I did what we could to assure her that she would make it through and to remind her that she needs to keep her trust in the Lord and Him alone to help her through this. She's only ever watched us deal with problems. She's not really had to deal with anything so stressful on her own before. But God will make a way for her.

Lyndsey made it through those rough days, but she's not 'out of the woods' just yet. I would ask you to keep her in your prayers. Her college years will hold some of her greatest memories, but they will also have some very difficult times, too.

There is a praise to go along here, too. Lyndsey was out soulwinning on Saturday with several girls and she was able to win a couple of young teenage girls to the Lord! So, even though last week was somewhat bumpy for her, the Lord rewarded her for her faithfulness to stick it out!

I do know that eventually we will hear the words, "Gee, Dad and Mom, you really do know some things!"

We love that girl so much and miss her!

The second thing I learned is from today.

Down here in our desert a lot of people take their animals to the hardware stores. I even saw a woman with her cat in a shopping cart at Home Depot once.

So being the animal lover that I am and not wanting to disappoint our very excited, happy-go-lucky little dog, I suggested to my husband that he take said dog to Home Depot with him. I mean, after all she would have a great time, right? And she's not gone anywhere in the car since she went to the groomer back in July! What could go wrong?

Wonderful husband gives in and takes Ruby with him. She is the happiest dog you've ever seen. She got to go bye-bye!

He comes home and unloads the car. A few minutes later he says to me, "It wasn't such a good idea to take Ruby to the hardware store." I asked why. "She was a chick magnet!" Those were his exact words!

Come on, think about it. Who wouldn't want to pet a cute dog? But I hadn't factored in all the women that would use the opportunity to flirt with my husband!

Can anybody ignore such a cute face? She's adorable!

My eyebrows went way up and then I started laughing. I'm still chuckling now typing this! I can envision how the whole thing went and my husband is just rolling his eyes because he wants to 'get in and get out' of the store! That's how he operates. He just doesn't like to shop.

So the moral of the story is, don't send your husband to the hardware store with your animal unless you go with him! He will get attention he didn't ask for!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I REALLY Love Where I Live

I really do love the desert.

I'm reminded of how much I love the desert each time I have to leave and drive somewhere in SoCal.

Yesterday was one such day.

I was to attend a church management and tax conference at a hotel just outside LAX. In order for me to get there on time, I allowed myself a 3 hour window. It took me 3 hours and 20 minutes to get there. I left my home at 5:30 a.m. Ugh!

I finally get there and there's no regular hotel parking. There is a parking garage underneath the hotel and it's airport and hotel parking. The best part is....it costs to park! I had no idea.

I'm driving thru the garage to find a spot to park. I found one and then the unthinkable happened.















I HIT A PARKED CAR!!!!!!!!

Now, I'm not only late to the conference, I'm crying because I wasn't careful enough while driving, I'm sweating because of all of this and my bladder is FULL to the brim!

The only damage done to the car I hit was some paint was scratched off, but nonetheless. My car has no damage (only gray paint on my front bumper). I left my name and number on the windshield.

I was a wreck when I finally got up to the conference room. It took me quite a while to calm down and concentrate on the conference.

The drive home wasn't any shorter of a time period. The freeways in SoCal are a nightmare at best. Stop and go no matter what time of day it is (at least during the week). When you get to a certain little city close to home, the freeway clears out and it's smooth sailing all the way home. We don't get that kind of traffic here in the desert.

So....to reiterate the title of this post... I really love where I live!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

She Misses Me, I Just Know It!

Our dear daughter is now at college. We dropped her off last Sunday.

Since Sunday, she has called me about 9 times.

I miss that girl more than I could ever describe.

Today, we were talking and she said, "Mom, there was something I was going to tell you but I can't remember." I said, "You were going to tell me how much you love me and miss me and you want to come home!" "Um, I do miss you but I'm not ready to come home," dear daughter says.

Can you believe that?

Lyndsey and I have an awesome relationship. She tells me everything. She has a great sense of humor and I miss seeing her smile (it's beautiful).

Just for the record, I wasn't offended by her comment.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A New Chapter Begins Today

In just a few short hours we will be saying 'goodbye' to Lyndsey. Today is the day that she leaves for college.

A new chapter begins for our family. While she is so 'cottonpickin' excited about college (she was in bed for only 4 hours last night if that tells you anything), we, on the other hand, have to get used to life without her.

We are thrilled for her, but sad for us. That girl is incredibly special and she is so close to her daddy and me. I understand now why my mom cried while my sister and I planned our wedding and cried buckets on our wedding day (though hopefully a wedding isn't in our future for several years). The boys won't admit that they will miss her. They will shortly.

At least we get to take her to college. West Coast Baptist College is only 2 1/2 hours from home so it is comforting to know that she is only a short drive away. We are leaving in a couple of hours so that we can enjoy this last day with Lyndsey at her very soon-to-be new home and church - Lancaster Baptist Church.

Blessings until next time!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

They Make Me Laugh

Our family was invited to the birthday party of an 84 year old man today (He and his wife attend our church).

We went and were having a nice time. People were steadily arriving. Walter and I had the privilege of sitting next to the "birthday boy."

A couple of women walked in and came over to him to wish him a happy birthday. One particular woman caught my attention. The conversation went like this.

Woman: "Happy Birthday, Bill."

Bill: "Thank you."

Woman: "Hold on. I have something for you."
She digs in her purse for a card and a can of Pepperidge Farms snacks. She hands him the card not looking at him and continuing to dig out the can.
When she finally gets the can out of her purse she hands it to him while looking in another direction and says the following.
"Here, these are for you. I've heard they taste good but I don't know." And then she walked off.

Bill just looked at her the whole time.

Picture a thin but gruff woman who looks like she'd rather be doing anything else but going to this man's home to celebrate his birthday. I don't think she smiled the whole time she was there.

Old people.....they make me laugh every time!

Friday, August 21, 2009

"You Don't Look...

old enough to be Lyndsey's mom. You look like her older sister."

That's the compliment I got the other day!

Wow!

Lyndsey's response was, "Gee Mom, I guess all those expensive creams you use on your face are paying off!"

Just for the record, I usually get them on ebay at a discounted price.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Check List

Computer: check

Cell Phone: check

Email Account: check

Skype Account (to keep up with Mom and Dad): check

Checking Account: check

Luggage: check

School Supplies: check

Clothes: check

Shoes: double check (Lyndsey loves shoes!)

All other supplies: almost check

Our Lyndsey will be leaving for West Coast Baptist College in 10 days! We have almost everything for her - just a few odds and ends left to be tied up. We have the privilege of taking her there.

I didn't think I would have that hard of a time with her leaving...but I have discovered just the opposite. Now, I'm not depressed or anything like that, but I do find myself getting choked up every once in a while. Lyndsey has teased me about being a 'ball bag' the night we actually part ways and I have said that I would not be bad at all. Now...I don't know.

Lyndsey is at the age (and has been for a few years now) where we have become very close friends. I love it that we don't just have a 'mom and daughter' relationship now.

She is a beautiful young woman and she will be missed dearly while she is away. Even her brothers will miss her (but they won't admit that today!).

I am so happy that she is moving on to the next phase of her life. She is beyond excited. She would have left a long time ago if she could have. She's always wanted to be older than she is. I've said ever since she was 5 that she's 5 going on 25.

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Do You Know Your Vegetables?

This post is lovingly dedicated to our daughter.

Lyndsey was finishing making dinner tonight.

She was making a salad and frying some zucchini to go with baked chicken.

We were at the dinner table enjoying our dinner. My husband says, "Lyndsey, the zucchini should be brown." It wasn't. It just looked transparent with no color change.

Lyndsey started laughing and said, "Tonight there is a special ingredient but I'm not telling what it is until all of you have tried it."

Tyler tried it and didn't like it. I tried it and thought it tasted ok. Walter tried it and he said it was fine. So we asked what the special ingredient was.

She said, "When I opened up the bag with the zucchini in it I didn't realize until it was cooking that I had actually cut up a cucumber instead. I tried to get it to brown but it wouldn't. This is as close as it got." She was laughing almost uncontrollably the whole time. She continued, "Well, how was I supposed to know the difference between the two. They look almost identical. Mom, you usually get the skinny ones. These ones are fat just like the cucumbers! It's not my fault."


This top picture is clearly a cucumber.

The bottom picture clearly is a zucchini.

While I realize they can look similar the two are unmistakably different.

Do you know your vegetables?

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Easy Bake Mobile

We have owned our 1994 Chevy Astro van for almost 10 years now. We have lovingly referred to it as the "beast" for the last several years because it's so old and has had so many breakdowns. Well...the beast now has a new name.

"The Easy Bake Mobile"

Here in the deserts of So Cal we have had above average temps for the last 3 weeks. Sometimes it has reached into the 120s. Let me tell you, THOSE temps are incredibly hard to live with even in the air conditioning. Those wonderful air conditioners can only cool down a building or car so far. Needless to say, we have done our fair share of sweating around here lately!

On to the details behind this new name...

We had an appointment on Saturday afternoon. Walter and I were on our way to it when the whole ventilation system turned off for a few seconds. We looked at each other and said, "Oh no!" Then it kicked back on again. We shrugged it off because this van has so many quirks about it.

We took care of our appointment and left. We pull up to a gas station and smelled an electrical smell...not good. We get some gas and turn the engine back on. No ventilation system AT ALL! Nope, nadda, zilch!!!! It's 105 and very humid outside! Great...now what are we going to do!

We discussed our options (which weren't many) and decided the van is nothing but a money pit these days (the engine is just about ready to go out, the radiator is leaking, etc.). So we set out to buy another car (no brand new cars here...cannot afford new).

We went back to the same used car lot we dealt with about 5 years ago. We didn't really care what we got just as long as it didn't get worse gas mileage than the van and as long as the air conditioning worked really well. We sat in a Saturn (the compact car...the name escapes me right now). That was funny....we don't fit in a Saturn!

We then test drove a 1999 Buick Park Avenue. Nice car but the a/c didn't work well and the salesman admitted they'd had to put more freon in it that morning (BIG red flag). Not only did we see the red flag, but the salesman was very rude.

We asked him if he did car faxes to see if the vehicles have been wrecked. He said and I quote, "I'm not doin nothing!" Not a good start to a potential sale. We shrugged it off and got in the car. The salesman rode with us. I asked if he knew how many miles per gallon the car got. I thought he might know. He turned around and looked at me and said, "What difference does it make? 22, 17, 20, 18...doesn't matter. It's a big car! You're not going to get good mileage!" I was shocked! So I said, "Gee, all I did was ask a question." He said, "And you got an answer!" Are your eyebrows up at this moment reading this? Mine were! This guy definitely did NOT want to sell us a car! So I told Walter that as far as I was concerned he could just drive the car back to the lot because I wasn't interested in buying the car. This guy actually thought he was being cordial! I told him the sale was a bust because of his attitude. He said, "I don't have an attitude. I didn't say anything wrong." Walter said, "Yes, you do have an attitude. All she did was ask you a question and you bit her head off. You obviously don't sell many cars." We took the car back to the lot. This salesman told us, "You just missed out on the sale of the century." I told him, "No, we didn't miss out." We left and went down the street to the next lot.

There weren't any prices in the windows of any of the cars. So we went inside and started asking for any cars within a certain price range. We test drove 1 car and it ended up being the car we bought.

Can I tell you a secret? The car we bought was actually the one I had been wanting for a very long time. I've been praying for this particular model for many months, maybe even a couple of years.

But on Saturday, I really didn't care what we got. I was looking for anything, really.

So, do you want to know what we got?


We


got


a



















2001 Buick LeSabre (fully loaded, I might add). Leather seats, great stereo, fabulous air conditioning, rear a/c, no road noise, smooth ride.

God is soooooooooo wonderful! He loves me. I can tell. I had dropped hints to Walter a long time ago that I would like to get another LeSabre some day but he didn't know that I had been praying for one (I've also been praying for another model of car as well, but that will have to wait for now). God gave me EXACTLY what I wanted. I shouldn't be amazed, but I still find myself in awe of Almighty God and how He works in our lives. He really takes care of His children. We are soooooo blessed.

So...the van is the "Easy Bake Mobile" because there is absolutely no air of any kind unless you roll down the windows and that air feels like a turned on oven!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Turning Up The Heat

Whew! The temperatures are going up, up, up here!

Yesterday the temp was 119 degrees! Thursday it was at least that or more and we had to be out in it just about all day - yuck!

I have made the house like a cave just to try to keep it cool. We were able to keep the inside temp at 79 (that's very warm for us). We're used to about 73 inside. The swamp cooler is working its little 'heart' out day and night keeping us as cool as possible.

It seems this heat wave is going to last at least another 4 days. Ugh! I wish I could just stay home and not go outside whatsoever, but, that's just not practical. Oh, well. It's only for a few more days.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Life's Education

I can remember when I graduated from high school thinking that finally my education was done and over with. Ha!!! Little did I know that I was just embarking on a life full of learning! But life's education is and has been very healthy for me. I have learned so much just from life. That said...

Ruby has been home a week now and we are so thankful.

She has put quite a bit of weight back on but she is not herself yet. She does have a couple of spots on her front feet that we are concerned about because she is limping but other than that she looks great. We will take her to the vet if those spots don't heal soon. We are anxious for her to get back to her old silly self again, but we wait patiently for that.

Last Tuesday night, we gathered as a family and went around to each one of us to find out what we learned from Ruby running away.

Tyler: He learned patience
Phyllip: He learned how to wait on God
Lyndsey: She learned not to take Ruby for granted - that we will always have her
Rhonda: I learned patience; my faith was strengthened at the EXACT moment I needed it! This taught me how BIG my God is!
Walter: He learned compassion. He said he didn't realize just how much of a friend Ruby had become to all of us until she ran away.

There are several miracles we see in this whole situation.

-The temperature outside had climbed to 110 and above for several days before Ruby came home. When she finally showed up on our doorstep, she was severely dehydrated, skin and bones, exhausted and very smelly/dirty. She would not have lasted much longer out in the heat.

-We put countless hours into finding her. We passed out hundreds of flyers, walked many miles, drove many miles, called for many hours for her, put ads on craigslist for her, looked several times a day at the animal shelters for her. None of it brought her back home. We finally decided that God would have to bring her home. Oh, how we prayed daily for her that she would be safe and that God would direct her back here. We just trusted...and prayed. It got harder and harder each day to believe she could still be alive knowing the area of the US we live in. I had prayed and begged God on Monday to strengthen my faith because I was feeling weak. I told Him I needed to see Him do something just for me. And do something He DID!!!

-From this situation I was able to get a glimpse of God's love for each and every person in this world. Just like we were looking for our lost dog and calling her, Jesus is calling each and every one of us and He wants to show us just how much He loves us and wants to care for us. He wants each one of us to live with Him in heaven for all eternity.

This small situation in our lives has given me a greater compassion for people and their eternal destination. I want to show the love of Jesus to each and every person I can. Lord Jesus, please help me to show others your love!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What Tyler Learned Yesterday

Did you know you can burn leaves and kill bugs with a magnifying glass on a hot day (115 degrees with no end in sight)!

Yesterday he burned leaves.

Today, he figured out how to kill ants and centipedes! Ewwww! If that's not bad enough, he came in and told me he was doing it and proceeded with sound effects. For instance, the ants will pop when they get hot enough. Yuck!

Looking at life through the eyes of a boy is very foreign to me. I grew up with one sister and didn't know the first thing about boys and their imaginations. They have taught me well! I shouldn't be surprised at the things they do, but they still amaze me even at their ages today.

____________

The other day, Phyllip had a few friends over to celebrate his birthday. We were on our way to church when the boys were talking about the price for the xbox 180 (it's the newest xbox - the first one was the xbox 360) being $180. Here's how the conversation went.

Tyler: Dad, did you know that the xbox 180 only costs $180?

Walter: Wow! That would mean you only get half of an xbox 360! That also means you get to pick which half of the game you get to play. You can pick the top half or the bottom half of the screen.

Kirk: Or the left side or the right side!

We all laughed at that one!

Boys! They keep me guessing all the time!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Home!

RUBY IS HOME!!!!! And she was not at a shelter, either!

We were getting ready to take my nephew to the airport this morning and all of a sudden, she was on the doorstep!

She is very thin, tired, and dirty but we are so thankful to have her back. Praise the Lord!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Maybe, Possibly.....Yes????

I was browsing the animal shelter websites today for Ruby.

We think we may have found her!!!! Notice that I said 'may.' The picture of this dog is not the greatest but when the kids all came and looked at it, they all said it was Ruby. I have a little reservation about whether or not it is her, though.

Unfortunately, the shelter is closed for the holiday and they don't reopen to the public until Tuesday.

I am asking if you would pray about this with us. I don't want to get my hopes up in case it really isn't her.

Thank you for your prayers.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Post Full of Pictures

This post is dedicated completely to my daughter. I suppose I could have done a slide show except for the fact that I don't know how to do it.

I've wanted to post these pictures for a very long time, but chose to wait until she graduated. They are her senior pictures - only a few out of the 300+ pictures we have.




This one is my personal favorite!






Friday, June 26, 2009

The BIG Day

Here it is two weeks later and I'm just now getting around to posting about Lyndsey's BIG day.

She actually had a BIG weekend.

It started on Thursday, June 11. The kids and I had to leave early before everyone else because she had to be at rehearsal by 6 PM. Her graduation was not local. It was in northern Los Angeles. Since we homeschool, the independent study group we are with is based out there.

The display board of Lyndsey's life

a closer look at the pictures



We left beautiful (but cool for this time of year) 85 degree weather and headed into 55 degree (and overcast and cold) weather. We forgot our coats and just about froze our little tails off (just a minor exaggeration). At least it felt that way.

We stayed in a Marriott about 10 miles from where the graduation was held. Thanks to my brother-in-law, we got an awesome rate there.

As I was driving to the hotel on Thursday night I recognized a mall that I had been to several years ago. I told Lyndsey that we were going there the next day for makeovers.

After breakfast, Grandpa and Grandma and Lyndsey and I went to the mall. We went to the Bare Escentuals boutique and both got a makeover. The makeup artist did an AMAZING job! And the best part was it was free!

We had the pleasure of having a very leisurely afternoon. It felt great to have nothing pressing for the better part of the entire day.

We were treated to a small meal at the church for all the seniors and their immediate family members before the ceremony started. I wish I had been there right at the beginning. All the seniors were having professional pictures done as an entire class (there were 17 graduates). Lyndsey only brought one pair of nylons and they ended up having a run all the way up the leg. So.....Mom had to run around and find another pair for her - which wasn't the easiest thing to do because she HAD to have black. Tan would NOT do. Nosiree! By the time I got back, the pictures were done.

Some of the pictures before the ceremony.



But she did have a few minutes to herself and so we did our own pictures.

The ceremony was fabulous! I wish I had the money to purchase the dvd from the graduation! It was first class!

During the ceremony



Lyndsey was the most gorgeous girl on the stage (and I'm not being prejudiced, either - no, seriously! :)). She seemed far more calm than I expected. I did get choked up a couple of times during the ceremony, though (surprise, surprise).

After the ceremony, her attention was wanted by soooo many people. I hardly saw her except for the pictures I took of her. She definitely was beaming that night!

After the ceremony

Lyndsey with Ron and Sheryl Brown

Our pastor and his parents with the graduate

Lyndsey with Serena

Lyndsey with LeeAnn

Lyndsey with Cody (LeeAnn's brother) - also a graduate

Lyndsey with family friends - the Sundquist family

Last, but not least, the 3 Muskateers
Richard, Lyndsey, Eddie
Richard and Eddie graduated 2 weeks before Lyndsey
This is the last picture of the 3 of them before they all enter adulthood officially.

Sunday evening we had a reception for Lyndsey at our church. The girl made out like a bandit with graduation gifts! But it is all much needed since she's leaving for college in 2 months.

Her graduation cake
I have been so excited for my girl. This has been an event that I have looked forward to for her for so long. She just makes me so proud! I love that girl (turned young woman) so much! For days leading up to graduation I had been thinking about the day she was born and holding her in my arms for the first time. I remember thinking that 2009 was sooooo far off and I had an enormous amount of time to be with her. And now she starts a new phase in life.

All in all, it was better than I could have imagined. We are so proud of our little girl. She has grown into a beautiful young woman who loves the Lord and all she wants to do is to serve Him. We could not have asked for a better daughter!

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Small Request

Update: As of Friday, June 19, we still haven't found Ruby. However, we did get 2 phone calls about her. We followed up on them and didn't get her, but are thankful that folks care enough to call. We continue to put flyers throughout the neighborhoods and have covered the laundromats, pet groomers, barber shops, and library. It is comforting to know that quite possibly she is still alive even after being gone for a week now. We were thinking that someone had her and either she wasn't wearing her collar with her id tag on it anymore or they just didn't care enough to call us.

We just have to keep waiting on the Lord for answers. For years, I have prayed for patience. This little trial is really testing my patience (hopefully growing it). Sometimes I find myself upset over this and wonder why patience is so difficult for me. Then other times it seems easy to wait out this whole thing. I KNOW that no matter the outcome of this, my God is still good, awesome, merciful, gracious, caring, compassionate, etc. and my family and I will continue to serve Him.

Ruby is a huge part of our family (we are BIG animal lovers) and I realize that some people don't understand why we are putting forth such effort to find her because she is just a dog. Ruby has been loyal and faithful to us and has always given 100% of herself to protect us and she's just an all around great dog. Very loving and obedient.


We have returned from a very big event in the life of our daughter (i.e. her high school graduation). More on that later.

Right now I would ask each of you who read this post to pray for our little dog, Ruby.

Lyndsey's graduation was not local for us. We had to drive for 2 hours to get to the church where it would be held. We had decided to make it a 3 day vacation. One hour before Lyndsey's graduation ceremony was to begin, we got a call from the people who were taking care of her that she had run away and they couldn't find her. We actually weren't worried about her at that time. We figured she would come home in a few minutes or by the next morning. We chose not to tell the kids until late that night about Ruby.

We decided Saturday morning that we better get home and look for her. We've been looking for her and others have been as well since to no avail. I've made up a poster and will be handing them out as soon as Walter gets home tonight. We've been through the neighborhood and beyond many times and just returned from about a 2 hour walk thru a different one with no luck.

The kids (Tyler in particular) are having a hard time with Ruby being gone. Tyler cried for hours on Saturday. We have put her in God's hands and have asked Him to take good care of her and to bring her home. Would you please pray with us for her? Thank you to all who do.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Do You Know Anyone Like This?

Or are you like this?

Lyndsey and I were shopping tonight at the grocery store. We were in the produce section when the following scenario took place.

A older man and a woman (and apparently the man's dad, I think) were in the produce section just a few feet from us. Each of them had their own shopping cart (we thought it was odd that 3 people needed 3 carts).

The woman is looking at something. The man is over at the bagged salad section and he grabs a bag and proceeds to put it in his cart. The woman (I think his wife) sees what he got.

Woman: "No, you are not getting that! You put that back right now! You can't have that with your diet! You ruined your salad the other night with all that mayonnaise you put on it! Put it back right now!"

The man then puts the salad back.

Lyndsey and I are watching the whole thing and have BIG smiles on our faces because it was just plain funny. I happened to glance at the man's dad and he had a BIG smile on his face, too!

We go about our business and all of a sudden the woman starts talking really loud again.

Woman: "I told you to put that back! You can't have it!"

The man had just gone back to the bagged salad section and picked up the salad again and put it in his cart.

Man: "I win! I win! I win!"

I look up and the man and I look at each other. I couldn't help it! I was outright laughing at this whole thing! The man is smiling and softly chuckling.

I tried not to be so obvious, but you know how those things go! The woman sees me laughing and she taps me on the shoulder and says "You know how these things are! He just won't listen! And then he ruins his salad by putting a half cup of mayonnaise all over it!" I just laughed. She actually did have a smile on her face by this time (she wasn't smiling at the beginning of all this).

The man walks by me still smiling and saying, "I win! I win!"

The next and final time we see the man he's in the bulk candy section. I don't think that was the best place for him to be if he's on a special diet!

Do you know anyone like this? I can almost see this being a scenario that will play out with Walter and I when we are that age!