Peace Like a River

I really enjoyed the second read of the Hoochee Book Club. This wasn’t a suspense filled book that begged me to pick it up every time I walked past. It was more like a cup of coffee by the fire with an old friend. An honest friend. The writing style was so genuine and authentic I felt like I was with family. Reuben was a wonderful character to tell the story. From his miraculous entry into this world and his special insight into his father’s “miracles” I felt instantly connected to him. I loved the Biblical references to scripture and stories from the Bible. This was a great story about faith and family. Although there was tragedy in the end, there was also peace. I guess that’s why Peace like a River is a great title for this book. No matter what circumstances come our way, there can always be peace when you believe in something bigger than yourself. This book wasn’t written to be a “christian” book to be sold in “christian” bookstores but I came away with an awe of God and a sense that miracles happen – as Reuben would say “make of it what you will.”

It’s piling up!

That’s what my kids say when it’s snowing and starting to accumulate. It’s not snow that’s piling up at my house it’s LAUNDRY!! Any of you that know me know that I hate laundry and most of you that have multiple children can relate. Since I have been feeling “yucky” with a rotten cold “it’s piling up”. This is a picture that I took a few months back wen I opened my dryer door and saw these little beady eyes staring back at me. They are Mr. Potato Head eyes that somehow made it into my wash. That’s how I feel today – the laundry is staring at me saying “HA, HA – you’ll never catch up now” OK – maybe that’s a little dramatic but it can be a daunting task. How do you handle laundry and keep it under control?

A little bit of summer

Mike and Scattered (our youth/Saturday night band at Cornerstone) lead a youth service at a church in Weber City VA/TN.  We took the kids with us and made a little side trip to Sevierville and spent a night at  Wilderness at the Smokies.  I have to admit I am not a huge fan of Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg.  There is some great shopping there and hiking trails if you get out of the hustle and bustle but mostly I think it is overcrowded and tacky.   We got there late on Sunday night – to a very clean, new comfy room and spent all day yesterday at the indoor water park.  We had a blast.  There were probably only 50 other people there so no waiting in line and once Emma had the wave pool all to herself.  I am sure this summer when they open the outdoor water park and the masses descend on the Smokies there will be long lines and crowded pools – not to mention the room rates double.  It was a great little mini vacation for us to spend as a family and a little bit of summer on a cold winter day.  Great Wolf Lodge is opening an indoor water park hotel in Charlotte near Concord Mills and the Lowes Motor speedway.  Indoor water park fun a little closer to home.  It will be open in mid April.

IKEA Charlotte – I was there!

Yesterday my friend Boni and my mom and I headed down to Charlotte to the opening day of IKEA.  It was a little crazy with rain and thousands of people – but worth it.  Since we weren’t among the insane that camped for days and stood in the rain for hours we didn’t get in on the free chair or even the 2500 gold envelopes with gift cards.  An employee told us that the first 2500 people came through the doors by 10am – the store opened it’s doors at 9am.  The ice up our way  slowed us down a little so we didn’t get there until about 11:30 and I am a little ashamed to admit that we didn’t load up the van until about 6:30.  We took our time and enjoyed sitting on couches, laying on beds, eating chocolate cake in the cafe, and oohing and ahhing over the kitchens and kids rooms.  We were definitely wiped out and had to stop for a little nourishment at PF Changs to get us back to Galax.  Check out this picture gallery from the Charlotte Observer.  

American Idol

Last night was the first night of American Idol.  School was late today because of the weather so the kids are watching it on DVR.  I am always skeptical the first few weeks and think that this season will never be as good as the last but by a few weeks into it I am connecting with the contestants and loving it as much as the year before.  So far my favorite is Danny Gokey.  I think he’s the next American Idol – but I’ve been wrong before.  Who’s your fav?

Valentine treats

Bakerella is one of my favorite cooking blogs. Check out these cute Valentine treats. My favorite part is how easy they are. They are sure to make your little and big Valentine’s smile. If you are ambition and have lots of free time on your hands or you just want to really impress someone take a look at Bakerella’s edible box of chocolates. Yep – you can even eat the “box”. I’m going for the easy ones – my Valentine’s are not too hard to impress.

Girls, do you want a new marriage?

Mike asked me to “guest blog” today his blog. Here is what I shared.

Yesterday Mike posted “Guys, do you want a new marriage?” Today he asked me to come up with some tips for the Ladies.

Mike and I had a conversation about a week ago about how many people are facing divorce and marriage problems. It’s not the problem of “40 somethings” or our parents friends. It’s effecting our friends and people our age and even younger. We even have some former youth that have already been through the pain of divorce.

At first I though that I was to give guys tips from a woman’s perspective and he was going to give the girls a man’s perspective. Isn’t it just like us as women to want the opportunity to give our men criticism disguised as “marriage tips”. I like that he shared from his heart to other guys about what he as a husband has learned. I can’t think of a better person to give marriage advice than my husband. He isn’t perfect and neither is our marriage but he is committed to our family and to God to continually learning and striving to make our marriage what it should be.

Before I start “the list” I can’t emphasize enough that your marriage has to be centered around Jesus. If it’s not the list you are about to read is nothing but a bunch of “self-help” rules that you can get from Dr. Phil. The Bible says “. . . a cord of three strands is not easily broken.” When you face difficult times in your marriage, Jesus will be the one to hold it together. When things are going great in your marriage, Jesus will be the glue that makes it even more incredible.

OK Ladies here it is . . .

  • Respect your husband.

Ephesians 5:33 says that “each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
Websters defines respect as “giving special attention to”. Give special attention to your husband. Show him you care about his job, his interests, his hobbies. So many times men are respected at their job and come home to a wife who gives him the message that he isn’t anything special or worth respecting. He wants to see in your eyes that he has your approval, that you admire and respect him.

  • Build him up

The world can be a harsh place. Your husband needs to know that you are his safe place. The place he can come to hear words of encouragement. Do you inspire him or exhasperate him? Do you compliment him or complain about him? Do you strengthen him or control him? One of the most unattractive things for a woman to do is complain about or put down her husband in front of others. It is heart breaking to hear the way some women tear their husbands down to others. Your words can build up or tear down – what do your do?

  • Let him be the leader God has made him.

As women sometimes we view our home as “our territory”. We spend time making our homes look nice, making our kids look and behave a certain way, organizing and directing activities even to the point that our husbands can become just another “thing to manage”. This leaves him feeling frustrated and ready to hide behind the newspaper and stay out of the way. Give your husband permission to be a leader in your family. Have you ever heard (or like me – done it yourself) a wife treat her husband like one of her children. This can be so true of parents of small children – mommy instinct takes over and all of the sudden your husband feels like your his mother and he can’t do anything right. Let him lead. If he puts the diaper on backwards – so what. If he gives the kids cake for breakfast – they won’t be ruined for life (and he may get Dad of the year!) If he fails don’t tell him “I told you so” – tell him “I’ll help you up”.

  • Take him seriously.

As his wife take his job and his stress level seriously. Men are too often defined by “what they do” – their jobs. Watch two men introduce themselves to one another and within a minute or two they will ask each other “what do you do” It isn’t helpful for you to compete with him about who has the most stressful job – men or women. We aren’t rivals. We need to stand beside each other and play on the same team.

  • Go to bed early

Save a little bit of your time and energy for you husband. Kids, housework, jobs, activities and even church can wear us out to the point that we have nothing left to give. Leave the dishes in the sink and the laundry in the dryer and go to bed early. You should be able figure the rest out on your own.

We get the name of Valentine’s Day from St Valentine who was a Christian martyr. Take time this Valentine’s Day to give away a little of your self to your spouse. A little sacrifice can go a long way in your marriage.

IKEA Charlotte -one week to go!!

Ikea Charlotte opens in exactly one week.  Check out this link to register to win $1000 gift card.  You have to bring the registration form to the store between Feb. 18th and 22nd.  There are also directions on how to send a text to win a big blue bag that you can fill with up to $250 worth of IKEA stuff.  Over 1700 parking spaces – I hope I can find just one!

Chicken Pox

About 3 weeks ago right before his basketball game Luke came down with Chicken Pox.
 I had gotten up early and gone to the grocery store and Mike had fixed waffles for the kids. Mike called me while I was on my way home and told me Luke had broken out with a rash and had a fever. He said he thought it was chicken pox. I wasn’t convinced because he had been vaccinated for chicken pox. After looking on the internet I agreed – it did look like chicken pox. 
I called my friend Angela to tell her that Luke would not be at his game (her son, Andrew, is on the same team) and she said Andrew had chicken pox. I called my friend Misty to tell her that Luke wasn’t going to be at the game (her son, Landon, was on the team Luke was playing) – small town 🙂 She was working and had sent Landon on to the game with Joey, her husband, but said he had little red spots on him and she thought it was just a skin irriatation and sent him to play basketball because Landon begged to play and said he felt fine. She called Joey and he looked Landon over and – covered in chicken pox. 
A few hours later Drew popped our some red spots. So in a matter of a few hours chicken pox epidemic!! All four kids had been vaccinated but had not had the booster. Emma had the vaccine in September before she went to school so she didn’t catch her brothers chicken pox. 
There have been several other kids that have had chicken pox over the past few weeks – most had been vaccinated. They all have had fairly mild cases compared to the head to toe dots and days of fever that we had as kids The next day after the outbreak was Sunday so while my kids were still contagious I kept them home. I invited the other chicken pox kids and their siblings (who were possibly contagious) to come over and we had CHICKEN POX CHURCH. Here are pictures. They mostly played Wii and Legos but I did a short lesson about the 10 lepers. I thought that was a good lesson for chicken pox church. Also a picture of my boys after an oatmeal bath.

On the vaccination – I pretty much did most of the vaccines with my kids and have good friends on both sides of the vaccination debate. If your kids have had the vaccine – you might want to get the booster or expose your kids to someone with chicken pox so they can get it over with.
**disclaimer – this is just my opinion – not medical advice – 🙂

Cooking with kids

I really like to cook and I have always enjoyed cooking with my kids. Here is a picture of Drew and me making guacamole. He and I are the only people in our house that like it so he always picks out avocados at the grocery store and helps me make it. As you can see in the picture, he eats it faster than we can make it. Since he doesn’t like it spicy we just mash the avacado, add about a tablespoon of sour cream, lime juice and salt. If I have fresh cilantro we chop that up and throw it in. He loves the mashing part and is so proud that he helped make it.