30 November 2011

The Fastest Woman in the World

Wilma Rudolph captured three gold medals in one Olympics, an extraordinary feat for any athlete.  The accomplishment was even greater for Wilma, who overcame physical disability, poverty, and racism on the path to the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Italy.  Born two months prematurely, Wilma wasn't expected to live.  She was always sick as a young girl. After she contracted polio at age four, doctors said she would never walk again.  But with her faith, determination and the help of her loving family, Wilma beat the odds.  Not only did she walk again--she ran!

Truth is, I had never heard of Wilma Rudolph before I read this book.  Her faith and determination are something to be admired.  I love how the story starts as Wilma, the little girl.  Grace and Faith could totally relate.  By the end of the book, the girls were saying, I wanna be just like Wilma!”  This was truly an inspiring biography about a girl who overcame much adversity.  We’ve learned many lessons from Wilma already. 

Wilma Unlimited is a true gem of a find…  In fact, I found it at a thrift store.  I won’t even mention how much I paid…

You know me, it was practically free (smile). 

Needless to say, we are looking forward to the Summer Olympic Games!

29 November 2011

The Spirit of Christmas has arrived!

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‘Tis the season!

 

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Grace puts up the ornament she found at a yard sale for 25 cents.

 

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My little helpers.

 

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Daddy was hard at work, too!

Allow me to share some of my favorite yard sale finds this year…  All items were under $1!  Most of the ornaments were 25 to 50 cents.

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Birdie in nest with a paper scroll on top.                                                            Vintage alphabet block.

 

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Cowboy boot/stocking.                                                                                              Nutcracker.

 

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Dutch doll.                                                                                                                  Kings of Orient candle.

 

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In 5 years, we’ve never had a tree topper… when the girls saw this lighted angel, you would have thought they met a real angel!    

 

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And these… cozy handmade quilt stockings.  Love!

 

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The girls decorated this little tree all by themselves.  We placed it on the desk upstairs in the hallway.

 

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We literally spent all day Sunday decorating.  After helping us with the tree, Morgan quietly slipped away and even hung up the lights on the house!  The girls were extra giddy all day as they merrily sang along to Christmas carols while decorating.  They kept saying, “I love Christmas!  It’s my favorite time of year!”

I even managed to get some gifts wrapped and under the tree.  And no, I don’t do any shopping on black Friday… However, I say early planning leads to less stress!  Plus, it gives us more time to reflect and enjoy the Reason for the Season!

The girls are anxiously waiting to begin advent this week and our calendars are marked full of annual Christmas festivities.  Oh, what joy!    

Hope you’re getting wrapped up in the Spirit of Christmas as well!

27 November 2011

Walking with the King

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Hooray, it’s hiking season again! 

The desert is absolutely beautiful this time of year.  This is why we live here, right?!  Well, it’s not the only reason but it sure beats shoveling snow or being stuck inside because of a winter storm.  We’re blessed to be surrounded by gorgeous mountains (soon to be snow-capped), sunny blue skies and 70-80 degree weather- at the end of November!

Over the course of the year, we’ve come to really enjoy and appreciate our rental home. It’s comfortable and it suits all our needs.  And now that we’re past the summer months, we love the convenience of being able to walk to many of our favorite places… hiking trails, the Street Faire, Trader Joe’s, Michael’s, the library, and a few good restaurants, too.

At the beginning of the year, I prayed that God would give me contentment.  After miraculously selling our home, I wasn’t sure where we were headed next.  As a self-professing, semi control freak, I knew this would be a welcomed time of growth.  I desired contentment in our new home, contentment with the unknown, and most importantly, contentment from within. 

Let’s be real, we can always find discontentment in so many places if only we allow ourselves to, right? 

Today, as we approach the last month of the year, I realize God has faithfully answered every one of my prayers!  He has gently given me peace, assurance, and confidence in His plan, over mine.  He has proven time and time again, He knows what’s best for us and He is worthy of our trust.  How amazing is our God?!  And to think of how much He loves us??  Even when we deserve it the least.  Mind boggling, I tell ya!!          

It’s been a great year of growth and freedom for us.  We are confident and grateful, not in ourselves, but in the fact that we serve and walk with a good and gracious God who holds every detail of our lives in His hands.  

“Walk in obedience to all that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.” ~Deuteronomy 5:33

26 November 2011

Thankful

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Could my nephew, James be any cuter?  He’s such a good little boy.  I wanted to take him home!!

 

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Backyard fun at Uncle Rich’s.

 

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The girls loved raking leaves and wanted Uncle Rich to give them more jobs.

  

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I guess it’s true what they say…  you never forget how to ride a bike! 

 

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After hosting Thanksgiving for 5 years straight, I feel like I got off easy this year.  My brother did all the cooking and all we had to do was drive and bring dessert.  The Lord must have known how preoccupied I was going to be, just days before the holiday. 

My brother brined the turkey this year and it was so delicious and moist!  All the food was terrific.  I definitely feasted!  Best of all, it was just wonderful to be around my entire family. 

We have so much to be thankful for.  I could write pages and pages…

I love Thanksgiving and everything it represents.  No presents, no frills…  just faith, family, and food.  Generations coming together, sharing a home-cooked meal, saying a special prayer of thanks for God’s undeserved mercy and love, His abundant blessings, and His faithful providence.

Hope your holiday was filled with special memories!

Turkey Trot on El Paseo

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It was a beautiful and clear, 53 degree Thanksgiving morning.  Perfect for running (and window shopping down El Paseo).

 

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Finished!!

I officially registered for the race 3 days before Thanksgiving.  That was the day before Morgan was hospitalized.  Up until the afternoon before the race, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to be able to run.  No big deal, I thought… I’ll just eat the $25 entry fee.  I guess the Lord knew all along, I was meant to run!

Since Morgan felt fine, he encouraged me to do it.  Somehow, I got very little sleep the night before…  I knew it probably wasn’t going to be my best run, but I’m also not one to waste $25 if I can help it.

When signing up, they advertised a “flat course”.  Yes, mile 1 was flat, down El Paseo.   But mile 2 was uphill!  Up Hwy 74!  I didn’t exactly train for an uphill run.  Thankfully, I made up some time going downhill and I ran my strongest on mile 3. 

Results:  Finished in 30:41.  I managed to run a 9:54 mile.  Surprisingly, my best time yet!  Under 10 min. was my goal so needless to say, I was very pleased.  Just another excuse to eat more stuffing, I say!!

On a side note, aside from the unexpected hill, I really liked this course.  I loved the fact that the streets were wide and there was virtually no crowding.  This Turkey Trot may just become a tradition every year!  Who knows?  Maybe I can even talk my family into running with me next year (smile)? 

24 November 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

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From our family to yours!

“Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips, that give thanks to His name.”  ~Hebrews 13:15

23 November 2011

Birthday Boy

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We couldn’t be more THANKFUL

Especially since 2 days before his birthday, we had to rush daddy to emergency in the middle of the night.  He was overcome with severe abdominal pain- to the point of hyperventilating and almost passing out.  Once admitted to the hospital, they immediately began to run a battery of tests.  Thankfully, all the tests came back negative.

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Morgan in hospital

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The diagnosis:  It might have been gall stones (although he didn’t have any stones) or maybe, acute pancreatitis.  We are still unsure of the cause.  He was released on the morning of his birthday as a perfectly healthy 49 year-old man!

Praise be to GOD!

             Thank you to our family and friends who prayed, called, and visited over the last 2 days… 

What would we do without you?     

We are so THANKFUL to have him back home!

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Happy Birthday, daddy.  We love you so much!

Mayflower

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The Mayflower sailed from England to America on a grueling 66 day journey, landing at Plymouth Rock in the autumn of 1620. 

We’ve spent some time reading all about the first Thanksgiving this week.  After searching the library for a factual book on Thanksgiving, our choices were slim.  Nothing seemed meaty enough or particularly accurate.  I finally found a story online that was detailed enough for the girls, while still remaining true to fact.  The girls thoroughly enjoyed learning all about the first Thanksgiving!  I think we all have a greater understanding of why we give thanks and WHO we give it to! 

We also made a couple of art projects based on our reading.  I think their Mayflowers turned out great!  I especially like how they made the sea so stormy.  I’ll post the second art project tomorrow.

21 November 2011

I Pray You Enough

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A couple of months ago, my mother in law sent me this email.  It’s beauty has lingered ever since…

A mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport.   They had announced the departure.  Standing near the security gate, they hugged, and the mother said, “I love you and I pray you enough.”

The daughter replied, “Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I pray you enough, too, Mom.”
 
They kissed and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy, but she welcomed me in by asking, “Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?”
 
Yes, I have, I replied. “Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?”
 
“Well...I'm not as young as I once was, she lives so far away & has her own busy life. I have some challenges ahead, and the reality is - her next trip back will be for my funeral,” she said.
 
When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, “I pray you enough.” May I ask what that means?
 
She began to smile. “That's a prayer that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.” She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail, and she smiled even more. “When we said, 'I pray you enough,' we wanted the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them.”
 
Then, turning toward me, she shared the following as if she were reciting it from memory. 
 
I pray you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.
I pray you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.
I pray you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I pray you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys may appear bigger.

I pray you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I pray you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I pray you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

Then, she began to cry, and walked away.

This prayer is about wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them.  I couldn’t think of a more fitting prayer for my mother in law on her birthday.   

Happy Birthday, Grandma! 

We love you and WE PRAY YOU ENOUGH…

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Celebrating with her 3 adoring granddaughters.      

19 November 2011

Blessings

blessings  noun:
  1. God's favor and protection.
  2. A prayer asking for such favor and protection.
  3. a short prayer of thanksgiving before or after a meal; grace

So often, we tend to think of blessings as the bestowal of God’s gift or favor.  Blessings create happiness or contentment, right?  Not necessarily…  Laura Story’s song (with it’s beautiful and thought-provoking lyrics), helps us redefine how we understand the word “blessings”.   

What if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near…

What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise…

Although we may not know the outcome of our trials or circumstances, God does.  Through times of suffering, grief, or even uncertainty, let us choose to walk more intimately with the One who promises, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” 

Whatever trials you’re facing today, I pray you find peace and hope in the arms of Christ. 

16 November 2011

Thanksgiving Snack Mix

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We made this festive snack mix as a Thanksgiving gift for the girls’ CBS teachers.
 
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Prior to this, the girls had never seen, much less tasted Cocoa Puffs. 
Of course, they liked the taste (what kid wouldn’t, right?) but they thought it looked like rabbit poo!  Ha!

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Adding some colorful candy.

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Filling the jars…

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… and tying on the ribbon.

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We had to make some extra for sampling!

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I think they liked it!

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Our Thanksgiving Snack Mix included 10 items:
Salty/Savory- Wheat Chex, pretzel squares, Cheez- its, roasted peanuts, and air popped popcorn.
Sweet- Honey Nut Cheerios, kettle corn, cocoa puffs, candy corn, and Reese’s pieces.
The sky’s the limit with these!  It’s hard to go wrong with this sweet and salty combo.  The fall colors turned out pretty and the different textures make it fun and interesting.  In fact, I can already see visions of a Christmas Snack Mix!

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