Finding Joy in Him

Through Every Season

Month: February 2009 (page 1 of 2)

Valentine’s Getaway

Mike and I had a nice get way to Joe Wheeler State park last weekend.

The grounds were beautiful.

It was a really nice sunny day… not as warm as home but we survived.

Here’s my attempt at self photographing..

I thought these huge mushrooms were cool!

We saw about 14 deer.  A group of about 6 stood by while we were on our walk.

The marina was the big deal there.

Too bad we don’t have a boat.  đź™‚

This was outside our window.

Worship Flags

There are several things I miss about our church in Florida.  I miss the families and our small group get-togethers most of all.  I miss serving at the food bank.  I miss the two tables that they had set up front for individuals to come down front and take communion during  worship in their own time as they felt lead.  It was a very worshipful experience that you could participate in any service and afterwards kneel at the alter if you wished.  

The another thing I miss is the all the worship flags they had up front.  Sometimes all the kids would come down front and worship with them.. sometimes it looked a little like playing but it really helped them get into the worship.  I am sure it pleases the Lord to see little children dance and play in His presence… maybe even more than sitting very still and bored.  
Since moving here, I’ve had a little bit of a hard time getting into the worship here.  Many of the songs that they sing in my church aren’t to God but just about Him or the church.  I know there are different strokes for different folks and I don’t have a problem with different styles of music.. it’s just that it’s easier for me to worship when I am actually singing to God.  Lately at my church they’ve been singing a few songs that are to God and I’ve really enjoyed waving my hands, singing and dancing to God.  
I’ve noticed while waving my hands that it’s not the same as waving a flag.  Some how having a flag is so much more powerful.  I’d never experienced worshiping with a flag until our church in FL.  It’s awesome.  So I decided to do a little research and make some flags for myself.  
Most the sites I found for making your own flags suggested using a wooden dowel for your poll.  I wanted my flags to swing around my pole easily, but most of the actual flag poles that I found cost around $20 each.  I did find one for $15.  
One of princess J’s friends suggested that I use a baton as my flag pole.  I found some at a dollar store here… for around $4 each.   They work great and at 22″ are the perfect size to use in my house.. no worries about hitting my 8′ ceiling.  I had a hard time choosing a color from my stash of silk.  There were so many colors.  I may have to make several flags.  Here is my first set.
To me the colors stand for righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 
To determine the size I folded my fabric in half with the selvages together and cut 5″ strips (just over 1/8th of a yard).  Then I cut the strips along the fold in two for the two flags.  I used my surger to make a roll hem along three sides.  I purposely created a wave at the ends.  I cut a 2″x5″rectangle out of some interfacing and ironed it on to the selvaged end, then rapped the selvage end around the pole and sewed it on by hand.  
 The bag I made out of an old ripped pair of jeans.  I have a stash of those, too.  I had saved the strap off some thingy that broke.  I made it so that all you have to do is pull on the strap through the button hole to close the bag.    The prettiest bag I saw on line was made out of nylon and had a stripe of fabric to match the flag across it.  That would have been cool… but not free.  
I am having fun using them to worship at home.  I asked the pastor of our church if it’d be OK to bring them to church and he said, “Yes.”  So, Yeah!
Here are what I thought were the two best worship flag sites I found.
I thought these were the best deal:
http://www.wingsofpraise.com/worshipflags.html
These were beautiful:
http://www.propheticworshipbanners.com/gallery2.html
I thought this YouTube video was great!  I’d love to have one of her light purple dove flags.
I am planning on making the kids at church some ribbon rings.  I’ve seen a couple of kids get hit on the head by a flag pole and thought they would be safer.  
Love to you all!
J

Valentine’s Day Talk

I was asked to share a short devotion at a Women’s Meeting at our church last Friday.  I was so thankful for the opportunity to  have God minister through me to the ladies at our church.. but extremely nervous.  

I never could imagine a crowd in their underwear.   Whoever thought of that anyway?  You’re supposed to turn your head if you ever see anyone in their underwear.  Instead, I tried imagining what they were like as kids.  I’ve worked long enough in children’s church to be comfortable speaking to kids.. even on a mic.  It helped me relax a little.
Just before going to speak, I tried out my speech on Mike.  It didn’t go well.  I’d read it a hundred times but still couldn’t say what I wanted to say with out reading it word for word.  Mike encouraged me to ad lib it.  When I actually gave my speech, I tried to and ended up just telling the stories.  
Looking back, I wish I had read the part at the end to them and played the song I found to go with it.  
Here’s my little talk… 
I love holidays.  I’ve always seen them as a gift from God; a time set a side from you’re daily routine to remember who God is and what He has done, and a time to enjoy being with your family.  
I love all the holidays except Valentine’s day.  I never could get into Valentines Day ever since I was in grade school and learned that it was the day you might be teased about who might or might not like you.  That’s not the ideal kinda day for a shy girl like me.  
My husband, who enjoys making fun of Mother’s Day by saying that it was invented by the greeting card companies, absolutely LOVES Valentines Day.  He loves being in love ..with me and showering me with gifts, and cards, and surprises on Valentines Day.  
You’d think when for one our first Valentines Day’s together I received this jumbo card in the mail that I would have figured this out and joined in the fun, but it took me a while.
(I pulled the card out of a large shopping bag.)
A few Valentines Days ago (just before our 20th anniversary), the Lord had a talk with me.  He said something like.. “Look at what you’re missing out on.  Your husband loves to delight in you on Valentines Day and you keep pushing him away.  It’s time to get over it.”
Looking back now, I see that it was pretty retarded of me to allow 20 plus years of Valentines Days pass me by and not use them as an opportunity to build more love and joy into our relationship.  There was only one thing standing in my way all those years: surrendering that part of my heart to the Lord and allowing Him to heal my past hurts and fears. 
The Lord has only spoken to me that sternly only a few times.  Many times just hearing the truth has set me free.  I worked really hard that year to bless my husband and since to delight in his delight in me …but to tell the truth I am still not totally sold on Valentines day.  I am still journeying though that surrendering and healing.
This Valentine’s Day, the Lord encouraged me to make these fabric fortune cookies for you.. At first I thought that it might have been my own idea and that it was a pretty corny one.. But then He sent me three confirmations that I was supposed to make them for you.  
So I googled the words “fortune cookie” and “Bible” to try to figure out where God was going with the fortune cookie idea… and every blog and sermon that I could find said the same thing, “Fortune cookies are bad.”  So I obeyed God, made the corny fortune cookies and God shocked me with a fourth confirmation.  Those are rare for me.  
The google preachers may think all fortune cookies are bad but these fortune cookies have a purpose.. You see, the same way that a fortune cookie has to be broken before you can see it’s message and enjoy it’s sweet flavor sometimes we have to be broken before we can be the message of His love to the world and that sweet tasting sacrifice to our Lord.  
These cookies are to remind us of how blessed, fortunate and to be envied we are because… in Christ everyday can be a holy day.  Everyday is a day to delight in His delight in us.  Everyday is a day to surrender our whole heart to Him and allow him to turn our brokenness into joy.  Every day His mercies are made new.  Everyday we have an opportunity to turn our thoughts towards Him and to allow Him to build more love and joy into our relationship with Him.  This fortune cookie is to remind you this Valentines Day that *The Desire of the Nations desires you and wants you delight in His love.
I wasn’t sure how to end my little talk but I had these scriptures ready..
Philippians 4:4 It says..  Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!
In  Song of Songs 4:9-10 He says..
You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; 
       you have stolen my heart 
       with one glance of your eyes, 
       with one jewel of your necklace.
 How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! 
       How much more pleasing is your love than wine, 
       and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice!
Ps 147:11 says He delights in those who fear him, in those who put their hope in His unfailing love.  
Ps 139 says He thinks about us constantly 
It’s impossible to count how many times a day His thoughts turn towards us. 
Ps 103  says He crowns us with love and tender mercies.
He fills our life with good things.
His love is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.
Zephaniah 3:17 says The Lord your God is in your midst.
He is a mighty savior, a victorious warrior.
  He celebrates and sings because of you!
He will take great delight in you.
He will quiet and refresh you with His love.
  He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy
and delight you with His songs.
              
The scripture I put in the fortune cookies was…
Song of Songs 7:10 I am my beloved’s and his desire is toward me.
Here’s where I learned to how to make the fortune cookies… 
Here’s a YouTube video of the song the I thought went with my message…

Happy Valentines’ Day!

Here is the picture we tried to use to in the photo Valentines card give away Mom told us about.  We were too slow… By the time we ordered the Valentines, the give away had expired.   I need to work on having a stash of pictures ready for things like that when they come up.  They are too fun.  I tried using the purse photo below but it looked too dark with the frames they were offering.

We had an interesting week in school this week.  Our mesh mash curriculum, that we started at different times of the year, all came into alinement.  In World History, we just happened to study St. Valentine and how Valentine’s day got started.  In American History, we’ve been studying the Civil War for two weeks and just happen to have the Gettysburg Address assigned for dictation in our English curriculum .. and on Thursday,  which just happened to be the 200th Celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, we read about his assassination.   I really like what we’ve read of Abraham Lincoln and his speeches.  I think he did the best he could in the time that he lived in and I am really sorry that his life was cut short.  

Princess J

Here’s the photo I promised Wendy of Princess J’s purse.  Thanks for swapping kids with me this Christmas.  She loves her purse.

On J’s actual birthday we had a couple of friends come over after church then just the girls went shopping at the mall.. J bought the top she is wearing above.  We found a bunch of good deals at Plato’s Closet the other day, too.  J is saving money for a car now… she’s been keeping an eye out for the kind of car she might like to buy.  I think she has a couple hundred saved.
🙂

New Year’s Eve and Princess J’s B-day

Our friends from Birmingham came down and the kids spent the night the night before New Years Eve.

Little A helped us make Princess J’s b-day cake.

H brought some cool video games.

They were all pretty tired after staying up so late the night before.

We made Princess J a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cake.

We got the idea while eating our traditional peanut butter balls for Christmas.

The cake was delicious.  Maybe the best I ever made. 

After praying in the New Year at church a big bunch of us went to IHOP.

This is my friend Hilga and her daughter.

And her husband, John.

Princess J and some friends.

The one on the right is our drummer .. he’s only 14 and great at the drums.

Some of our pastor’s grand kids.

The Joneses.

Friends with camera phones.

The boys.

After IHOP, the youth had a lock in at the church.

They had a great time.

By the time we finished with IHOP it was 2 AM… I was tempted to stay 4 more hours for the lock-in but was glad I got my sleep.

The kids slept for days after.  
Here’s how to make the cake.  
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cake
1 chocolate cake mix
Heat oven to directions on box. Prepare cake as directed. Cool completely.
Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Frosting
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
In a large mixing bowl, blend the cream cheese, butter and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the powdered sugar and peanut butter and mix until smooth.
To frost the cake, place one layer on a serving plate. Spread 1/4 of the frosting over the top. Place the second layer on top. Spread the remaining frosting over top and sides of the cake.

Christmas Eve Picts..

Hanging at the hotel…
We discovered the Hyatt Place Hotel in Atlanta and have been staying in them whenever we can since.  They are really nice and very reasonably priced and have a deal where you can earn free nights.

Everyone has their devices.

Mine’s the camera.

We spotted a Guitar Center across the street from our Hotel.

Being in a musical family is fun.

Mike’s first love is the bass.

My programmer doesn’t play an instrument but he runs the sound and power point.

Mike played us a little tune.

I discovered that an amp. can be a good investment.. this one from the sixties still has a hefty price tag.

Our college student is thinking about buying an acoustic guitar.

I liked this one because it had hummingbirds on it.

Dinner at Max & Erma’s

Mike introduced us to one of his favorite restaurants.

It has an all you can eat sundae bar in a bath tub.  Need I say more?

Princess J was the master sundae maker.

She loves cherries.

Her sundae won the prize for the sweetest.

We talked about having a sundae party for her birthday.

Christmas Trip to KY

We had an awesome Christmas trip to KY this year.  It was a great time away together.  It was the first trip our college student had been able to take with us since Granny and PaPaw visited in April.  It was good for us to have time alone together as a family.

We arrived in KY around dark and decided to go straight over to IN to the Perfect North Ski slopes so we could get our two hours of snow tubbing in before they closed.  It was 11 degrees out and was supposed to get pretty warm and rain the next day.  We decided it would be better to be dry and cold than wet and cold.

The ski slopes were pretty impressive; very family friendly.  They made their own snow.. which was good because there wouldn’t have been any if they hadn’t.  They had conveyer belts that took you up the hill after you tubbed down.  The hill was great.  The wind chill made our faces numb.  

This was the best we could do for a family photo in the snow.. the blowers blew the snow right into our camera lens.  We had several layers of clothes on.  I offered everyone scarfs and after the first trip down.. they wished they had accepted.  I left them in the hotel.  I stayed up late the night before our trip Scotch Guarding our jeans to keep them dry.  It helped a little.
After two trips down the hill, our college kid and mathematician hid out in the heated snack bar.  The rest of us made it down the hill a total of six times.  We thawed out and drank hot coco once and that was still all we could brave.  No trips up Mt. Everest planned anytime soon.
The next day was our day to visit the Creation Museum.

We were very impressed by the museum.  It took most the day to see it all.  I would defiantly go back.

Everything was done with excellence … the animatronics were so real that they fooled us a couple of times.

The story of creation and the gospel were laid out very clearly.

I learned a couple of things I didn’t know… like that they have proven that all humans have the same blood line… I know I was taught something more evolutionary in school.

This is part of the walk through of Creation.

They showed some interesting things about Noah’s ark and the flood.
Had some really cool fossils.
and other exhibits.
We spent quite a while in the book store.
They had several shows including a special effects theater and a planetarium show.  It was all very enjoyable.  Mike said  that he had wished there had been a little more details on the evidence that they had for a young earth.  For example they explained that the radioactive dating that evolutionist use isn’t reliable.. but they didn’t explain why.  Maybe they will add more of that in the future.  They periodically have guest scientist speak there, but not on the day we were there.
They also have a petting zoo and a botanical garden that we missed because the weather was bad that day.  We were lucky to get back to our hotel.  The wet roads quickly froze over that night and all the traffic into Cincinnati was backed up for over 20 miles.  We drove 20-30 miles per hour on the slippery 70 mile per hour freeway.  We were so relieved when we made it back to our hotel we decided to just have supper there and stay in for the night.
Christmas eve the sun came back out and we explored the town, hung out at the mall, saw The Tale of Despereaux had a very nice relaxing day.  On Christmas day, we drove home.  We enjoyed our Christmas phone calls to our family.  We were sad we couldn’t be both places at once. The drive up and back was very pleasant.    The icicles on the sides of the road on the way up amazed us.  The trees and hills were beautiful… made the eight hours pass by quickly.  
I am so glad we got to spend Christmas together.

December Garden

Warning… boring post below… sorry.
This is a “Christmas Cactus” that a sweet neighbor gave me last year.  It has these beautiful blooms each December.  It’s very easy to care for… what’s not to love.  
This is what happens to banana trees in the winter… they turn to an ugly brown mass.  You have to cut them down to the ground each year.  They have squishy stalks (up to 1.5′ in diameter) and smell like rotten bananas.  You have to winterize them by covering them with leaves and tarps.  In the spring they pop back up and gain their 6′ of height in just a couple of months.  Kinda amazing.  Right?  Banana trees aren’t really trees at all.  They are a herb… believe it or not.
This is one of our camellia bushes.  Our yard guy trimmed it up and made it look more like a crape myrtle tree.  It does look better than when it was an over grown bush.  I like it..  Here are the rest photos I was able to get..

Much Ado About Christmas

We had a very nice Christmas this year.  
Our new camera has a remote… so we use it on a tripod to take our family photo.  We must have taken over 70 shots and I still had to photoshop two together.  It’s too hard to get six people to look at the camera at the same time.  I really need to live somewhere long enough to make a friend that  I can ask to trade family photo taking at Christmas with me.  I want someone to make us stand close together.. etc.
We opened presents on the Sunday afternoon before Christmas.. so we could enjoy our gifts on our trip.  We did have a couple of surprises this year.  If we hadn’t traded names with my sisters. we probably wouldn’t have had a gift each.. it was fun having actual gifts this year and not just checks.

I got to put one gift under the tree that no one knew who it was for or what it was.  Princess J rapped her gift the minute before we opened them… she didn’t bother to use tape.  
I took photos of our decorations because we move so much that it’s hard to remember where the decorations go in the new house.

Most of our decorations went in the music room because it was the only room we could squeeze them in.

I have a collection of little trees now.  The one on the piano was a gift from Suzanne.
The one on the dresser above I got at a garage sale for 25 cents last Christmas.. it was our only tree last year.

This one Nancy gave us when we went to Thailand so we could have a tree there.
The white nativity set I got at Good Will last year.  I keep it up all year.

Our FL house had two front doors… So I put one of my wreaths on my sunroom door.

We’ve had this nativity set for many years… I love it’s ruggedness.

Here is the wreath I kept for my one front door this year.

Mom made us this advent calendar years ago.  The kids still enjoy moving the star across the days each December.

A homeschool friend in SA made this cute snowman quilt for me.

Suzanne sent me this little tricycle potter for my birthday.. I thought the poinsettias looked perfect in there.
  

I was so glad to have a tree again after no tree last year.  I was smiling all of December.   A friend in FL learned a cool decorating trick from a magazine article last year that I tried out this year.  Instead of stringing the lights round and round your tree you section your tree into little pyramids and do one section at a time.  It was much easier than going round and round but I ran out of lights… I went to 7 different stores to try to find blue and white lights to finish my tree.  I ended up having to buy a strand of white and a strand of blue.  The last strand of blue didn’t flash… I still thought it looked great and it was easy to take the lights down.
Photographing the tree was difficult.  

I was sorry there wasn’t room for our tree near the fire, but it was still fun to sit and enjoy the lights for a little while before bed each night and it was the first time we had had a tree in a front window since before Princess J was born.
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