Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Violin Recital and Stage Fright

Tuesday began quite differently then most days at our house. JA woke up early to go out hunting, and all three kids slept in till 9:00. So, I enjoyed relaxing in bed until I heard the typical refrain of "good moning" from Lydia. We ate breakfast, did some laundry, and then I sat down with Kara to begin practicing her violin. She was very excited about her recital that evening, and she did very well playing her violin.
By the time lunch was over, I knew we were in trouble. Kara had a violin lesson scheduled for 4:00. By two o'clock she was tripping over things and wailing over the littlest things -- my little girl was TIRED!!! At three o'clock I called and canceled her violin lesson -- it was obvious that without a nap she would have a terrible lesson and an even worse recital. I laid her down in Andy's crib because I didn't want Lydia to wake her up.

Two hours later I finally let her get up -- a nap was never taken. I was praying that the two hour rest time may have helped to re-energize her. We ate supper, and began getting ready for the recital. She was very excited about it, but I couldn't help be worried that she would get up there and refuse to perform (even though she had a practice performance at church on Sunday and she did well then).

At 6:20 we headed out to the recital. Kara was very excited when we got there and she ran right up to Miss Abigayle to give her a present (which I had intended to wait on, but you can't hardly stop a three year old who was already at the front of the church before I even stepped in the doors).
Well, Kara was the first one to play since she was the youngest and least experienced, and she was the only violin student (the rest were piano students). She performed exactly how I thought she would -- She stood up on the platform, violin in hand and smiled, and smiled, and smiled, and swayed, and refused to sing her Rest Position song. She was so unsure of herself she couldn't even get her violin into rest position or playing position correctly (two things she has been able to do very well for about two months). She finally focused on what she was to be doing and did her finger position on the E string, and I think she was a bit disappointed when Miss Abigayle stopped her from playing her finger positions on the other strings.

Below are the videos of the recital. After the recital JA and I gave her a present -- A kitty cat ornament with a bell on it's collar--engraved to remind her of her first recital. I'm already starting to pray that she will be more cooperative and less distracted at her spring recital.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

What's For Dinner?

Alicia tagged me about a month ago to post my favorite dinner recipes. Here are my favorites which I can usually do with something that I have around the house.

One-Pan Taco Beef and Noodle Skillet
1 lb ground meat.
1 pkg taco seasoning
2 cups water
1 pkg mac n cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large tomato chopped
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 cup (or more) broken tortilla chips.

Brown meat in a large skillet and drain. Add seasoning mix, water and macaroni. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover. Simmer until liquid is almost completely absorbed. stir in sour cream and cheese sauce mix until well blended and top with tomatoes, lettuce, and tortilla chips.

* To save money, I use ground turkey in this recipe.

BBQ Hamburger Sandwiches
1 lb lean ground meat
1 green pepper and onion finely chopped
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 pound cheese
4 hamburger buns

Brown the meat in a large skillet and drain. Add peppers and onions and cook for five minutes. Stir in barbecue sauce, water, and cheese. Cook until cheese is blended. Top hamburger buns and throw in some side dishes.

* To save money and eat healthier, I use ground turkey and whole wheat hamburger buns.

Mom's Coffee Cake
I love breakfast for dinner, and my mom's coffee cake is my all time favorite.
3 cups flour
5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 c sugar
2/3 c melted butter
2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla

Streusel Top
1 c brown sugar
4 tbsp butter softened
4 tbsp flour
2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 and grease 9 x13 pan. Mix butter, egg, sugar, milk and vanilla. Then add dried ingredients. Combine ingredients for streusel top in a separate bowl.

Pour half of the batter into the pan. Layer half of the streusel mixture over the batter, top with remaining batter followed by remaining streusel mix. Bake 25-30 minutes

*For a healthier meal I use 1 1/2 cups of wheat flour, 1 1/4 cups white flour, and 1/4 c milled flax seed. It tastes the same and the kids don't notice the flax seed (which adds some great fiber).

I like to cook some eggs for dinner with this coffee cake so that we are all satisfied (and I can have leftovers for breakfast).

Strawberry Salad
1 c oil
1/2 c red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove
pepper to taste
*shake all together in a jar or container

For the salad use
Lettuce (your preference although I like mixing the red leaf and romaine)
sliced strawberries
mozzerella cheese
crushed walnuts or sliced almonds (your preference or whatever is on hand)

*This is a yummy salad that everyone seems to like.

I won't tag anyone since I took so long to respond and this is a busy month, but I would love to see your family-friendly and easy recipes.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Couple's Retreat

A month ago JA and I had the privilege of attending the couples retreat at Amazing Grace Baptist Camp. Pastor Matt and Donna Williams were the speakers for the retreat. It was a blessing for us to be able to get away for a night just the two of us, and enjoy the atmosphere of the retreat. A total of eight couples were at the retreat, and we had a great time of fellowship, games (human fooseball :) ), and spiritual nourishment. Not to mention the opportunity to visit with our friends Aaron and Sarah Burton, Dan and Jen Baker, Keith Bartram, Mom and Dad, and Bart and Ashton Tillotson.

Mom and Dad playing the Newlyweds game.
Dad rebounding for our game of Horse
The most wonderful Husband in the world!

Mom and the dog which liked to follow her.
JA playing Horse

Mom going in for the shot :)
Dad and Mom
The most wonderful couple!

Bart and Ashton in the newlyweds game

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Andy's 1st Birthday

Wow, has it really been a month since Andy turned one? I am now officially a delinquent blogger. Okay, if you can remember back to October -- you know that month where the leaves were still somewhat on the trees and the thought of snow was still a looooong way off (I know I am exaggerating a little). Any ways, we had the blessing of being able to celebrate Andy's first birthday will our friends from church. Here are the pictures of his party. I apologize that they aren't in order.

** Alicia, I haven't forgotten about the tag -- I'll be posting it soon.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I know this is long, but please read.

Two weeks ago I went to bed with a little pain in my stomach. By midnight I thought I was experiencing the worst heart burn ever. Two hours later I was in the bathroom relieving myself of everything I had eaten the day before. By 7:00 in the morning I was on my way to becoming severely dehydrated with a pain in my chest that seemed to pierce right through me. I probably should have gone into the emergency room. However, as stubborn as I am I choose to wait until the doctor could fit me in at 11:00. Crazy seeing as how I couldn't even keep water down.

The doctor sent me to the hospital for lab work and a sonogram. The verdict -- gallstones. The remedy -- surgery (ugh!!). Then sent back to the hospital to be prepared for surgery and rehydrate.

At the hospital it took four nurses and eight needles before they were finally able to get an IV in. At 2:30 the surgeon came into the room to meet me discovered that I was feeling fine without even a hint of pain and decided we could postpone the surgery until the following week when it fit both of our schedules much better.

So I waited in the hospital expecting to be released around supper. Finally at 8:00 the nurses came in with some food saying something to me about keeping me overnight to observe me and make sure I was hydrated. By this time I wasn't very happy (I had expected to go home around 4 or 5) and to discover that they weren't going to let me go home -- ugh!

Finally one of the nurses told me I could sign a release form and go home against hospital recommendations. So, promising to drink lots of fluids and to return if I felt dehydrated or had another attack, I signed myself out and went home to my own bed.

Six days later I returned to the hospital to face the knife. Believe me, those six days were not easy for me. I never had another gallbladder attack -- I stayed away from all the fatty foods that might bring one on. But, I did a lot of research and decided I really didn't want to have surgery. Looking on-line I discovered a couple of options, but after talking with JA's Aunt Gayle (a nurse), and two other doctors not from this area I discovered that the best option for the type of gallstones that I most likely had would be surgery.

I was amazed at how calm I felt going into the hospital about the surgery, joking around with the nurses; and I was ready to get this entire ordeal over with.

Walking into the surgery room and looking around, all I could think about was how cold and scary it must have been for Andy to be taken away from me and wheeled into surgery. Again, it was as scary for me because I could understand, but to even be able to get a glimpse of what my children must have felt was a comfort to me.

Waking up in the recovery room and discovering that my stomach hurt every time I twisted was not my idea of a pleasurable time. However, throughout the day I met some wonderful nurses. I am so thankful that the Lord has given us doctor's and modern medicine. To be able to walk in and out of the hospital the same day as a major surgery is incredible. While a few years ago I probably would have had to be in the hospital for a week in recovery.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't leave the hospital without any pain. The pain I felt in the recovery room was worse then any of my contractions during labor (and those were hyped up with pitosin). I'm still experiencing some pain a week after the surgery and can't lift anything over 20 pounds (hm mm, guess I can't change any dirty diapers). But I praise God that He is Jehovah Rophe. The God who heals. I am so thankful that God not only heals our physical infirmities according to His will, but He reaches out and heals our spiritual infirmities.

Last Wednesday before I left the hospital I found out that my gallbladder held nine stones. It also showed plenty of signs that it had been bothering me for quite some time. However, until I had the attack the previous week and went to the doctor I didn't know I was sick. I actually thought of myself as being really healthy for someone who is overweight. You know, the same is often true of my spiritual condition. When I fail to spend time in God's Word and I fail to spend time praying, I don't realize how sick my spiritual life is. But, when I take the time to read God's precious Word and Pray, I see myself in the mirror of God's Word and then can Jehovah Rophe reach out and heal me -- only when I recognize my sickness. You know, like those "sure remedies" I discovered on the internet, Satan will often try to distract us from getting the sin cut our of our life. He tries to trick us into tolerating the sin, but by tolerating the sin instead of having the Master Surgeon cut it out, will only cause the sin to fester and infect other parts of the body.

I know this post was long, but I want to challenge you to spend time in God's Word today and pray. Ask God to reveal the sickness of your own soul today. We are all struggling with sickness. Whether it is a persistent sin problem that won't go away like the problem with my gallbladder, or just the "occasional" sin similar to that annoying cold. Please, don't let Satan fool you into tolerating the infection or even make you think it's only a small scratch or cut. That only gives the sin a chance to further infect your body. The sickness must be treated and can only be healed by the power of the Master Physician.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Quick Catch-UP

OK, I'm behind as usual. One of these day's I'll be able to catch up and be more consistent with my blog. Until then, enjoy my slideshow that shows our life over the past two weeks.

I've tried increasing the size of the slideshow, but Blogger isn't recognizing it, so if you want to see the pictures up close click on view all images.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

God's Gracious Provision

The Lord continues to provide for us in so many ways. Sunday JA and I were discussing the fact that while Lydia has an abundance of shoes for every conceivable occasion, Kara has no closed-toe dress shoes (only sandals and a pair of cowgirl boots). Kids shoes are so expensive, and even though I looked at Wal-Mart last week, I could find no dress shoes in her size. Now I know why. Last night at our home schoolers group (we had an International Dinner) one of the mom's walked up to me and asked me what size shoe Kara wore. Turns out she had a pair of dress shoes that were too small for her daughter. An added blessing -- the shoes were Gymboree shoes - I really like their quality better than others.

Another blessing is how the Lord allowed us to find a violin teacher for Kara. Miss Abigail is a high school senior who plays the violin. She agreed to work with Kara this year. Kara absolutely loves her and is really enjoying her violin lessons and practices. My non authoritative view point is that Kara is doing very well. Our practices are only about 15 minutes because of her attention span, but she seems to be catching on quickly.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Tennis Videos

Here are the many videos I took of Elizabeth at her tennis tourney.

Video #1

Video #2

Video #3

Video #4

Video #5

Sunday, October 14, 2007

State Tennis Championship

Friday we went down to go watch my sister play in her final Tennis game of her high school career. This year she went all the way and was able to compete at state. Here is a slide show of my awesome sister and her great cheerleaders (my kids).

Great Job Elizabeth, I'm so proud of you for sticking with it and playing hard.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Just for fun

Here is a video I was able to film of Lydia singing. If you listen closely and use a bit of imagination (since she is still difficult to understand), but you can hear her repeating parts of the song. The thing my kids love to do he most is sing and dance.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Around the House

Too much has happened this past month for me to try to catch up on everything, so I decided to just post some pictures from around the house (lets just say it feels like we have been gone more than we have been home).

Some how our rear windshield ended up with two big holes in it and the rest of the glass shattered. Not vandalism. Our best guess is either lightning (if lightning can hit vehicles) or the wind was so strong and the window was weak. Either way we have a nice new green window on our van (green was about $200 cheaper than to have it tinted).

Andy had a great time at the Mall while Daddy was getting the van fixed. Lets just say I spent four hours in the mall with three kids and all I bought was a box of cookies ($1) and a coffee ($2). I was as shocked as JA was when he picked me up.
Another shot of Andy at the mall

Lydia all dolled up (sorry it's blurry -- don't know why).

I think I may have posted this before, but I absolutely love this picture of Kara. She is eating something the Lord actually allowed me to grow -- Fresh from the garden cantaloupe. My family enjoyed about a months worth of cantaloupe since we had about 12 - 15 melons.

Here is a video of Kara helping me in the kitchen. Lydia abandoned her scrubbing, so Kara decided to do double duty. Enjoy my sweet child.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Old Settlers Day

Saturday was a great day for a parade. The weather was beautiful, and the kids had a great time getting out.

Andy trying to see what's going on behind him.
Kara and Lydia patiently waiting for the parade to begin.
Finally the candy comes
One great little roadster
The Flags at the start of the parade. The girls were all excited to see the horses.

Amazing Grace

At the start of the month, I was able to attend a Ladies Retreat with three other ladies from church. We went to Amazing Grace Baptist Camp.

Leaving home I was looking forward to reconnecting with some friends.
I was also looking forward to hearing Carol Trahan speak and enjoy hearing her passion for God's Word. However, I wasn't expecting to come away from the retreat the way I did.

As Carol spoke on allowing the Word of God to 'Dwell in Me Richly', I had to ask myself -- "Do I really want to know God deeply?" Not only that, but am I a normal Christian? What is a normal Christian -- well, today's average American Christian attends church on a regular basis, may or may not read the Bible on a regular basis, and rarely speaks about the things of God unless the audience is receptive. But that is not a normal Christian. A normal Christian should have a passion for God, frequently spend time digging into the Word of God, and be sharing what God is doing in my life at every opportunity whether or not the audience is receptive. Carol reminded me that "Anything less than total abandonment and surrender will make me a very sick Christian."

During another session Carol began by asking three questions:
1. Do I want God's Best
2. Am I willing to Obey all that God reveals to me.
3. Am I more concerned for God's glory as He accomplishes His purpose in my life or do I simply want release from my struggle.

She also reminded me that I need to Learn It, Love It, and Live It out of a full life.

Coming home from this retreat I realized I did not have the passion for God's Word I needed. The Lord also convicted me of not looking for Him in the everyday things. I can't have a passion for God or cultivate a passion for God in my children until I focus on seeing God in everything of life.

At the end of the retreat they had an auctioneer come and they held an auction for products that different ladies had brought and donated.

After lunch we were able to leave, or spend time around the camp. We walked around for a little while and then played Human Foosball (the best we could with four people). This weekend was a blessing of fellowship and conviction.
OK, Time for a confession. I know nothing about cars. Marty realized that the air was low in all four of my tires. So we stopped at the first gas station. I stayed out of the way and Marty ran around the van filling the tires before the machine stopped. Martha Lynn was behind her replacing the lids to the valves. As soon as she finished filling the last tire the machine stopped. I praise the Lord for great friends !