Thursday, January 26, 2017

Friday, January 20, 2017

Fun Friday: Basketball Star

Showed this to my kids to encourage them to work at what they want and use the abilities God gave them.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Quick Tips: Get Reading in 2017

The new year is 18 days old. How many books have you read so far this year? Author Sandra Glahn gives tips for reading in 2017.

Set Goals, Ignite Imagination, Get Reading in 2017  
English playwright Alan Bennett said, “A book is a device to ignite the imagination.” The apostle Paul encouraged readers to fill their minds with the good. For 2017, consider a plan to ignite your imagination with what’s good.
· One per week. One friend determines to read fifty books annually. She devours best-sellers, classics, fiction, non-fiction, and even old sermons. One year she discovered an unlikely favorite—a 1746 Jonathan Edwards message.  
· One per country. Books allow us to dream through travel. Another friend is reading one book set in every country. The Thoenes’ Jerusalem Chronicles take readers to Israel. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, takes readers to a Siberian labor camp. Isabel Kuhn’s In the Arena allows readers to witness the Spirit’s work in China. Bruchko does the same in the Amazon.
· Books by dead Christians. Author Eugene Peterson tells of a new believer disillusioned by contemporaries. He walked into a store and requested “books by dead Christians.” The result? Introduction to A. W. Tozer. Such books have been tested and vetted.
What will you read in 2017? Edwards? Kuhn? Tozer? Plan now to ignite your imagination and feed your spirit.

What are you reading right now? Share in the comments section. I am reading YA novel "Orbiting Jupiter" which is about a 13 year old boy in foster care.

Sandra Glahn (PhD, UT Dallas) teaches at Dallas Theological Seminary, her alma mater. She is the author or coauthor of more than 20 books, including the CBA bestseller and Christy Award finalist, Lethal Harvest. You can order it here.

Visit her website here.

Monday, January 16, 2017

First Home Study Visit

Remember a few days ago I posted about all the repairs we decided to do at once. Well, we didn't get them all done in time, so we hid what we hadn't finished. For example, there was a spot on the deck where the boards didn't line up quite right, so I lined up everyone's work boots on that board, and the flaw was no longer visible. Problem solved.

Our caseworker's name is Billy. Don't know his last name. But when he came in, he asked how we knew the Millers, a family we used as a reference. I said they were just down the street, and we got together at the bay for jet skiing several times a year. You've seen them in my photos.

(Josiah comes down often to see if Tyler is available because his own older siblings are all out of the house.)
It turns out that our caseworker knows the Miller family because their churches get together once a month. So we have a Christian case worker, which is nice. They are both pastors who  have small churches so work a "regular" job during the week.

At this first visit he said he was just going to do a quick walk through and get briefly acquainted, and then next time he'd talk to each of the kids. I told him the three younger ones were psyched up to talk to him, so he interviewed them one at a time. Adam, Tara, Sierra and Kealen all came in during this time. I'd made cream cheese chicken chili. It made the house smell good in case there were any pet smells. It was Three Kings day, so we had Three Kings cake with strawberries and cool whip. Later we tried it with caramel syrup. Yum.

 The caseworker said he'll look around more closely next time. I'm not sure when he comes back, but I hope we have the rest of the repairs done. Right now I am making wreaths to sell so the living room looks like Dollar Tree and Hobby Lobby threw up in it. 

Here are some of the wreaths I've done:
Diaper wreaths
 Frozen party wreath (once the little gifts are off it can be used as a holiday wreath)

Princess Valentine Wreath

I have some other updates that I'll try to get to on Wednesday.

Friday, January 13, 2017

"Fun" Friday: Track Cleats

I haven't had much time for my blogs lately and didn't come up with a fun Friday brain teaser. So I am going to post a story I posted yesterday on facebook.

So here's kind of a cool story. I took Kayla to counseling (that's not the cool part) and on the way back to school I decided to stop at Catholic Charities because I'd heard they had cleats in all sizes, and I figured she could use a pair to grow into. Well, there were none in her size so we left. When we got outside she asked if we could go back in and look in the cart of $1 shoes. Well, why not? I saw what looked like running shoes on the top of the cart and turned them over to look for a size, and they were track cleats! A size too big for her, but not for long I'm sure. But the cool part (besides getting track cleats for $1) was that there was a Scripture reference written in them. Habakkuk 3:19 which says, "The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights." I told Kayla that must be God's message to her for track this year.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Quick Tips: How to Start the Year Worry Free

The holidays are behind us, and the year is off to a good start for most of us. But for some people it's not that easy. The new year is anxiety-ridden and full of unkowns. Award winning author and speaker Cindi McMenamin shares how we can start the New Year worry free.

How to Start the Year Worry Free
Worry has a way of draining our energy, stressing us out, and even prematurely aging us.  If you’d rather experience peace than stress and a calm rather than worry this year, here are three ways you can be worry free in 2017:
·        Focus on one fact about your worrisome situation that you can be thankful for. For instance, if your child is out late with friends, thank God that no matter where she is, He is there with her and He can take care of her better than you can.
·        Write down everything that you fear about your worrisome situation. Getting it down on paper might show you how unrealistic – and maybe even ridiculous – your fears really are.  Then write over those fears the words “God is in control.” It will be a reminder for you to release it into God’s hands, instead of continuing to let it cause you to wring yours. 
·        Practice the instruction of Philippians 4:6 and “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything…” (NLT). As you take your concern to God and thank Him for what He can do with it, you will experience peace, rather than stress and you will be actively choosing to trust rather than fret.

Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker, helping women discover strength for the soul.

She has more than 30 years experience ministering to women and inspiring them to let God meet their emotional needs, grow stronger through their alone times, and pursue their dreams with boldness.

Besides speaking across the country, Cindi has made numerous TV and radio appearances on shows such as Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson, Moody Broadcasting’s Prime Time America and Midday Connection, At Home Live, The Harvest Show, 100 Huntley Street, Not Just Talkin’ the Talk, and His Love Extended.

Cindi and her husband, Hugh, live in the San Diego area of Southern California. They have been married nearly 30 years and have a daughter, Dana, who is a graduate of California Baptist University and is working for the Walt Disney Company. The family enjoys traveling together, staying active, and seeing what adventure God will bring them through next.You can find out more about Cindi and her books on her webpage

Here are some more Quick Tips you might enjoy: 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Life is Crazy

I haven't been on my blog as much as usual. The reason is that we have had several projects going on. A couple of months ago we looked at a waterfront house. We were really interested, but it didn't seem like the right house for us because it was a duplex, and I have a drummer and two trombone players. The location was great though. We also realized we need to get our house paid down more and also make some repairs.

The list of repairs was long, but mostly things like new flooring in the kitchen, new decks on both sides, replacing woodwork that is water damaged and so on. So I decided to use my birthday money (today is actually my birthday, but we bought the tile three weeks ago.) We also sold our wooden swingset and bought boards for one of the decks.

About this time, an adoption caseworker from the state called to say he was coming on January 6. Yikes! That gave us less than three weeks to do the decks and flooring. We jumped right in with the flooring and the first part went pretty well, but cutting the tile to fit around door frames and the little pieces around the edge got crazy.
When we pulled the old linoleum, we wrote our favorite verses on the wooden floor before we laid the tile.

First tile laid.

Replacing water damaged bottom piece.

We also started pulling apart both decks thinking it would just as easy to do both at once. They are both very small. One deck was built under Jessica's direction a few years ago. The other was here when we bought the house. It has steps up both sides, so we left one side so we'd have a way to get into the house. The problem was, it turned out the risers were rotted on those steps. Risers were $200 each so Rick made a pattern and cut the risers himself. We also decided to have just a single set of steps on that side.

So the past couple of weeks we've been laying tile, cutting wood, building steps and so on. Also during this I've been dealing with an injured elbow, so didn't get to do much of the building. So I did a lot of waterproofing boards and painting woodwork. We didn't get everything quite done, but did a good job of hiding it!

I don't have pictures of everything finished, but I do have a few of the inside of  the house in general.
My office that I share with everyone.

I will get some of the finished projects next time and also share the cool part of the adoption home study visit.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Lessons from Disney Princesses part 3

Finally, part 3 of my Disney Princesses series

Remember, the italicized part is what I wrote in my original post here 

Part one is here

Part two is here

Tiana is a beautiful, hard working young woman living in New Orleans in the '20's who wants to open her own restaurant. When both she and the handsome, but lazy, Prince Naveen are turned into frogs, they set out to find someone who can change them back to humans. That's not as easy as it sounds or it would be a very short movie. But in the end, love prevails and Tiana's dreams all come true proving that hard work and persistence does pay off.

Tiana was a hard worker with a dream of owning a restaurant. The dream was extra special to her because it was shared by her father, who died before seeing it happen. This independent young lady didn't need a prince to rescue her. She used her brain, cooking ability and physical labor to make her dream come true. And the obstacles and hard work didn't make her bitter, she remained a vibrant, passionate princess throughout.

Living the lesson: Tiana had a dream, and she was willing to work to make it come true. Having a dream is good, but it's not worth much unless you are willing to work for it. Be sure to think, plan and pray about your dreams, then work hard to achieve them.

Key verse: May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. Psalm 20:4
Resources for today's girls:
The Creativity Book by Nancy Rue

The Christian Girl's Guide to Being Your Best by Katrina Cassel

Rapunzel doesn't know her true identity as she lives in a tower with Mother Gothel. And although kept secluded in a tower all her life, she's perky and intelligent, finding ways to amuse herself. When a handsome stranger shows up, Rapunzel finally gets her dream of seeing the floating lights. When she realizes she's the missing princesses, she has a show down with Mother Gothel, and of course takes her place as princess and marries the reformed thief, Flynn/Eugene.

Like Tiana, Rapunzel had a dream. In fact, by singing about it, she gets others to acknowledge their dreams too, some more realistic than others. Rapunzel's dream was to see the floating lights, but more than that, it was to have an adventure and do something new. So this spunky princess trusts a complete stranger (which is not a good idea in real life), holds on to her dream and gets what she wants in the end.

Living the lesson: Rapunzel had a dream. She took a chance and it paid off. In real life, it's not a good idea to entrust your safety to a stranger, but it is a good idea to talk to others about your hopes and dreams. They can help you plan. As with Tiana, be sure to think, plan and pray about your dreams, then work hard to achieve them.

Key verse: Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. Proverbs 19:20
Resources for today's girls
The Uniquely Me Book by Nancy Rue
The Christian  Girl's Guide to Me: The Quiz Book by Katrina Cassel

Merida is a refreshing change from some of the earlier princess. Red haired and fiery, she is the only princess not to have a love interest during her movie. Her mother's desire to see her become a proper lady and marry a suitable man clashes with Merida's independent nature and her desire not to be tied down in marriage so young. She would prefer to ride her horse and shoot archery instead. When her mother is turned into bear, Merida has to find a way to break the spell before Mom is mistaken for the bear that tore off the king's leg and is killed for revenge. Working together to get Mom transformed back into a human helps Merida and Mom form a bond and understand each other better. The movie wouldn't be the same without the mischievous brothers.

Merida's Disney page says, "Merida is a princess by birth and an adventurer by spirit. She spends her days practicing archery, riding her horse Angus, and exploring the world around her. She loves her family, but she wants to control her own destiny."

Living the lesson: Wanting to choose your destiny is good, but remember that God has the perfect plan for you. He's given you all you need to live it out. So keep your heart in tune with God so you won't miss out on what he already has planned for you. Chances are, it will be more amazing than anything you would have thought up.

Key verse: You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Psalm 73:24

Resources for today's girls
The It's My Life Book by Nancy Rue

A Girl After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George

Elsa and Anna are the newest Disney princesses as Frozen was the first movie to have two princesses, and both are loved and adored. The song "Let it Go" has become the new anthem for today's girls. Although the princesses have a rocky start with Elsa setting off an eternal winter, the sisters eventually find that love is the answer to a frozen heart. Add in a lovable snowman with lots of personality, an ice delivery man named Kristoff and a reindeer named Sven, and you have a movie that is a hit with all ages.

Elsa and Anna are most often grouped together, but they are two very different princesses. Elsa, more serious and mature, kept herself secluded from her younger, more energetic, even hyper, sister. Elsa was probably the kind of girl who spent her time studying, fulfilling obligations, trying hard to please everyone and live up to all the expectations on her as the oldest. She also had to hide her frozen touch. (Like the Midas touch, but it all turned to ice not gold). Anna was impetuous and all about fun. She's the child you can't get up in the morning, who loses her homework and has a pile of dirty clothes shoved under her bed.

So on one hand we have the reserved, elegant older sister who is guided by a strong sense of duty, and the younger carefree sister who follows her emotions and whims. Yet Anna proves herself loyal and willing to sacrifice herself for her sister.

Elsa seems to be the preferred princess since her costume and doll has so far outsold Anna's. And of course she gets the "Let it Go Song." But to me she's cold, both literally and figuratively, while Anna is warm and accepting. And while Elsa has a super power, Anna has to sort things out with no magical powers, just the help of friends. And friends are something Elsa seems to be lacking.

The sisters are definitely different, but different can be good. Sometimes siblings' strengths and weaknesses compliment each others'. So if they can work together, problems can be more easily solved.

Living the lesson: If you have a sister or brother who drives you crazy, look for his or her strengths. Find out how you can use your individual strengths and weaknesses to help each other.
Key verse: Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:13-14
Resources for today's girls
Everyone Tells Me to Be Myself but I Don't Know Who I Am by Nancy Rue
Faithgirlz Handbook

Anyone have a good book for helping siblings get along?

And for all the princesses in your life:

See it here

So, this is my list of princesses and my own version of their stories. Some princess are stereotypical and some are spunky. Some do exactly as they're told, others disobey but have a happy ending anyway. They are loving, kind, brave, and sacrificial. But some also have wrong values and wrong means to get what they want. So the question is, are they positive role models for our girls or not? What positive and negative values do you think they teach?

Who is your favorite princesses? Has that changed as each new movie is released?