Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving,
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him; bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His loving kindness is everlasting,
And His faithfulness to all generations.

That is Psalm 100, and it is what the Pilgrims sang on November 9, 1620, when the shot of "La-a-nd, Ho" was heard after 65 days at sea.

We are enjoying a morning around the house getting a few things done before going to Grandma and Grandpa's for the big feast. Christmas lights are going up! Clutter is being cleared! Floors are swept, and laundry is in process. Ah, the joys of festive holiday activities!

Things we are thankful for:

1. For Pilgrims and all we can learn from their story. We go through the Barbara Rainey book "Thanksgiving, a Time to Remember" every year, and are reminded of the hardships faced by the Pilgrims and the provisions God made for them. I am always amazed at how much of the details of their lives revolved around God. Not only were they motivated to leave Europe because they sought religious freedom, but they lived daily with a focus on God and His goodness.

Did you know that just three years prior to their landing in Plymouth the area was occupied by a very violent and aggressive tribe of Native Americans? And that tribe was literally wiped out by a terrible sickness, so that when the Pilgrims arrived the land was available for settlement. No way they could have survived if they were fighting that tribe all the time. God had a plan for them to succeed, obviously!

And, did you know they came into the harbor on a Saturday, and then did not leave the Mayflower on Sunday because it was Sabbath and they were committed to honoring God even if it meant one more day on that awful, smelly, small, cramped, cold boat? Amazing examples to all of us!

2. J is over the H1N1 virus - at least he has no fever for two days, and his cough is improving daily. It was a big deal, but we made it. Now, we are praying that Andy and I will stay healthy!

3. Sophie - our new kitten.

She's got quite a bossy personality!

The vet says she's a bit underweight, so we are pumping the food and watching her grow!

Have you ever seen such blue eyes? And I didn't touch her eyes up at all in Photoshop!

And guess who really likes her? Yes, that is Leo the chainsaw biting, at the gate growling, often stupid dog licking her! He licks her every morning until she is shaking her head to get the wet off. So funny! Clearly, he loves her!

She doesn't seem to mind him either. Now, Tana, the well established cat, she is not so thrilled about Sophie. She always takes a while to get used to new things, so we'll give her some time.

4. A strong marriage - and a happy one at that. Just heard of some good friends who are splitting up after more than 10 years, and it makes me so grateful for my husband who is committed to me no matter how crazy or temperamental I get, and for my own commitment to make our marriage work out. The idea of splitting up is just not even considered. It is amazing how creative you can get when you know that ending the relationship is not an option. Suddenly problem solving gets just that much more effort because you know you either have to solve it or live with it, and usually solving it is the better option. Of course this attitude is 100% a gift of grace from God - not something we can do on our own human power!

5. The way God puts the pieces together so we can have what we need. Sometimes that means us learning to cut back. Sometimes that means items on sale just when we need them - or hand-me-downs in a bag that contain just what J needs in just the right size. Sometimes that means a little extra unexpected income. But always, by the mercy of God, we manage to make it. He is the great provider!

6. Hope! Yes, we have hope. We may not always be good at showing it, but the reality is, because we know that God is a personal God who looks out for us and cares for us specifically. That allows us to keep going even when it just looks so hopeless from our perspective. Things don't always turn out the way we wanted and our ways are not always easy. But we know that "the Lord himself is God" and that he is good. That sustains us when all other things appear to be failing us. What a wonderful assurance for daily life!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 9, 2009

At My Church Yesterday!

Going to church is always enjoyable. I love the particular congregation I'm a member of and the way they have welcomed and loved on my family for the last six years or so.

Yesterday, during the worship music time I notices so many neat things. Really, I wished I had my camera, although I debate the merits of taking photos during worship. But to keep my thoughts organized and preserve the moment, during offering time I jotted down a few notes to share.

  • Children (mostly boys) were spontaneously dancing and jumping joyfully during the singing of These are the Days of Elijah - They've all gone to camp together and learned the same motions and dance moves, and can't resist using them when singing that "rockin' song."
  • My niece Danielle wrote "I love you God, always" on her bulletin cover - not bad for a 6 year old!
  • We prayed for orphans since it was Orphan Sunday across the country - and we honored adoptive families, and we have a lot of those in our church.
  • The worship team drummer was barefoot - is every Sunday. And sometimes he jumps over the chair in front of him during prayer to get up to the platform after the sermon - but only if there is nobody in that seat.
  • Speaking of the worship team, our electric base player is also the electric keyboard player, and yesterday she played both in the same song - although not at the same moment.
  • We had a college age guy with dreadlocks and a college age girl about 7 months pregnant with no husband, and they were welcomed and enjoyed.
  • We honored Veterans, including an Iwo Jima (sp?) survivor who was wearing his medals - my husband commented that he was amazed at the percentage of men in our congregation who have served in some capacity.
  • I saw spouses holding hands as they sang.
  • And college age daughters holding hands with their mothers.
  • One of the men there is the father of a child in a case where Andy represents the mother - but we can still exchange the warm smiles of fellow Christians.
  • Because we have a Life Recovery Group hosted at our church, services are often attended by people battling sever drug addition, and particularly men who are in the "Pre-Release" program at the jail.

Frankly, I could go on and on. I'm sort of proud of my church. Not because they have the best music (although I really like the music), and not because we have the biggest numbers. No, I'm proud because when I am there for worship on Sunday it is easy to see the love of Christ between people, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit in people's lives. Because my husband is a criminal defense attorney I sometimes see people there and know more of their story then they might be comfortable making public - but I keep my mouth shut and just celebrate the fact that they are there and the Lord has the opportunity to work in their lives.

So that is my post about my church. Sorry no pictures. I just don't have the nerve yet to take pictures during the worship service.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Kittens, sheep and a turkey

We went to my friends house meet our soon to be family member:

We can't wait to bring our little baby home in about three weeks.

Along the way we met some siblings of our new baby:

And we were introduced to this gentleman:

And these fine ladies:

It is always so fun to go to Tamara's house! J loves playing with her son! We had a great time, so thank you to Tamara and her three beautiful kids! And thank you for the eggs! We love farm fresh eggs!

My boy called me to the front porch yesterday evening to take this picture. He has an eye for what is good! I just wish I had the skills to get it right!

The light of the moon has blown out the branches that we could see in front of it. I just didn't have time to play with the exposures, etc. Maybe at the next full moon.

Thinks I'm thinking about:

  • Want to get to the project I need to do for a Keepsakes Event in early December, but I've got much to do before then!
  • I finished all the time sheets and got them mailed off yesterday - boy does that feel good.
  • I was pretty tired last night, and my hands ache, so I'm fearful of the dreaded mystery disease coming back, but I'm trying to be courageous and just keep going.
  • A lot of time needs to be spent editing photos over the next few days! Time to get at it!
  • I'm making progress on several projects I want to do for Christmas - have two completed and seven significantly progressed. Guess that's pretty good, except I want to work on those instead of photos - responsibilities first!
  • It is probably time to get out and do some exercise - soon! Like this afternoon, with J, after school. It's a date - hope he wants to come along!

Have a Great Wednesday!

Oh, and please pray for Michael Jullian, a one week old baby of my cousin and her husband, who is in the hospital because he's projectile vomiting and not keeping any food down. My heart goes out to them, as I am certain this is a very stressful time. God is good, and will provide what is needed here, but He loves our prayers too! So, please, a little time on our knees is appropriate!

Monday, November 2, 2009


So, it's the second day of November, and things are humming along here.

I feel better. Yep, completely better. Since mid-July I struggled with mystery disease that caused extreme physical fatigue. Now, I don't. Deserves a post of its own some day, so I'll think about how to do that. Just a hint, prayer is a big part of this story!

Last Friday was the recitation at J's school. He had a big part in the Latin class' play:

And his forth grade class recited "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" - a very exciting poem, I might add! It was wonderful.

Sometimes people who don't really know much about our school assume it is a serious and relatively unjoyful place because it has high standards for character development, behavior and academics and because any school that teaches Latin to elementary age kids must be terrible, don't you know. But I think the sheer glee in this young man's face (below) is evidence that we are not unjoyful, and the tie is absolute proof that we are not overly serious.

This young man was part of the fifth grade play which was absolutely hilarious! Those kids have them some dramatic flare!

It was so fun to see all the kids reciting poems, performing in plays, and having a great time showing off their wonderful knowledge and skills! I LOVE this school!

J is home from school today - parent teacher conferences - and has a little buddy here to play. They are tromping around in the brown fields looking for things to shoot with the bow and arrow.

We had a wonderful dinner with friends over last night. Fellowshipping with dear friends just warms my heart and reminds me of how good God is. Just think about it: he made us social beings to be in relationship with people. What a gift that is!

On my plate this week:

  • Andy's time sheets need to be turned into office billing and submitted;
  • Hoping to get a peek at the kittens our friends' cat had a couple weeks ago - so we can pick one out to be our own when it's old enough;
  • Going to a friends house to help plan a scrapbooking/papercrafting event;
  • Dinner at my sister-in-law's house (I'm to bring dessert, and my boys want a pumpkin pie);
  • Working on the five crowns I'm making and Christmas gifts for J and some of his cousins;
  • Hopefully re-instituting a daily walk for exercise!
  • Finishing up my last senior photo editing and moving on to editing some family photos I've taken over the last many weeks - I'm still behind in editing (see mention above of several months of fatigue), but I'm catching up, and that gives me great hope.
  • Getting at least one, and maybe as many as four more trees to cut up for firewood.

Whew! That's a fun week, but probably kind of busy too.

Hope your November is off to a fantastic start!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Costumes!

Here it is for all those interested to see.

J wanted to be a ghost like the one in Charlie Brown. We had lots of discussions about our limits on scary costumes, and came to the conclusion that this was okay. Andy and I draw the line at blood and gore, and at mysticism. This is about as close as he will ever get to that. But, I was concerned about how KKK it looked when done with white, so we got some grey fleece and covered it with spider webs and bat lace. He love it.

And it was nice and warm!

Our friend NM joined us for trick-or-treating, as that is just how the day worked out. His family was hit with H1N1 this week, and he is better, but easily tired. He's wearing part of J's costume from last year, which is what we had that would fit him. He seemed pretty happy with that!

We joined a cousin and her family (she was a beautiful queen, but I do not have a photo to share) and some friends (the dirty laundry basket for one, and super girl for the other) and off we went on a relatively warm night here in the greater Bozeman area. Lots of fun for every one.

Happy first of November - refermation day for many, Day of the Dead for those of Mexican descent, and generally the first day of Christmas preparation panic for me. Oh, and I'm so excited for the extra hour today! Yahoo!