Sunday, December 26, 2010

{Merry Christmas 2010}

Yes, I'm very aware that Christmas day is over---but we had SNOW in Raleigh that actually started on Christmas day, and we've been a bit busy today playing in the snow! I don't have any pictures of Christmas day on my computer yet, but here are a few of our adventures out in the snow today! One of my favorite things to wake up to is a beautiful snow scene---this snow is heavy and wet, so it makes beautiful pictures.....the trees are loaded with it!

The front yard after the snow stopped falling~

The backyard from the deck~
 A few pictures of Joshua playing....nothing like a kid in the snow!!!
nailing Mom with a snowball~
....after rolling down the hill in the backyard~

....after the snow, a cup of cocoa---served in a beautiful Crate and Barrel bowl~

I hadn't taken pictures of some of my decorations, so I took some today! I love having time to enjoy my home.
I always go out shopping on December 26th, but I stayed home today and truly enjoyed some down time. I hope your family has enjoyed a quiet day with each other. Now to read a few chapters of Harry Potter 5 with Joshua---that's the best!

Friday, December 3, 2010

{Hannah at the Great Wall}

Oh my---yes, I know I missed my 30th Day of Thanks---once Thanksgiving Break is over, there's a mad dash to get the Christmas Concert "on" and I have been up late EVERY night with school work. I'm so sorry I didn't finish.

I did find a GREAT blogger's prompt for December, but I just knew I probably wouldn't be able to do it. If you are interested in "blogging through" December go to Reverb 10. This site posts "prompts" everyday in December. It's supposed to help you look back over the last year and then look forward toward next year. There are many bloggers participating---I just knew I wouldn't be able to keep up.

SOOOOO---To the post title!
Hannah was able to go to Beijing last weekend on her Independent Student Travel weekend with Thinking Beyond Borders. She went to the Great Wall and got to see Claire, an exchange student that was at Trinity Academy last year. I stole this picture from the facebook page of one of the girls in this picture, Mckinley. I LOVE IT! This is obviously at the wall---but I just thought the composition was amazing! Hannah is in the orange hat---apparently is VERY cold in China right now!

Well, I need to get ready---I'm off to school for the day to try to catch up on paperwork---mainly the program for our Lessons & Carols Service. Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy this season of advent and make a memory this weekend!

Monday, November 29, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 29}

Today I'm thankful for creativity---I have noticed lately how much the arts impact my life. Now, obviously I work in the "field" of the arts, but honestly, what would your life be without music, or a beautiful piece of art work? How full would your life be if you never read a great book, or poem? This will be short---mostly because I'm falling asleep :).....AND because I know I don't have a beautiful thing to say about the arts---just that I'm SOOO glad I was exposed to them at an early age, and encouraged to make them my life's work. I hope I never stop seeing the beauty all around me and encouraging others to see it, too---

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.
 ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ~

Sunday, November 28, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 28}

I'm thankful today for Caitlin~

I've featured her here before---OK, LOTS of times on my blog, but I mean in the last 28 days, but that post was really about the baby she's carrying!  This post is about HER!

She went "off to school" three and a half years ago and my whole world changed. That sounds SO dramatic, but it's true. I think most mothers feel this way when their first child goes off to school. I was fortunate that Caitlin went to school IN TOWN, but, if any of you have had this same experience, you know that this doesn't mean you get more time with them---if anything you may get less. I did get to see her most weeks at church for a quick hug, but I rarely got a whole weekend with her.

There are so many changes that take place in one's life in college and these are clearly reflected in your family relationships. One of the things I loved about her coming home---something that seemed to stay the same--- was that we were able to have our family dinners--one of my favorite times in the Nelson house. She was always interested in the conversation and had much to say about it---as did her sister and father. I would relish listening to the banter as my two oldest argued about things back and forth--their father playing devil's advocate to both. It was refreshing to have her "home."

Now, my baby is having a baby and she and Carson are making a new place "home"---I will miss those dinners together, I will miss the arguing, and laughing and rolling of eyes----I know I'll still get them---just not as often. I know we'll have time as a family for MANY years to come; and I know that as our family grows with more in-laws and babies, these times will only be sweeter....but today, just today, I'm just a little sad that my oldest baby is a grown up.

I know we raise our children to move out on their own and find the place in life where the Lord wants them to serve, but I think it still stings when it happens---I'm so grateful for those times when we do still share meals together, play games together, laugh together and I will look forward to many more of these---with the ones in the past treasured in my heart.

 **bridal portrait by Love the Schultzes**

Saturday, November 27, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 27}

I'm thankful today for another day at home. This one however, was a little different than yesterday. Today I mowed and blew leaves for about three hours, made 3 batches of cupcakes (for my students next week....shhhh!), got down all the Christmas decorations, went to the grocery store to prepare for next week, made dinner and watched the all too sad NC State game. ; (

Soooooooooooooooo, I did mention that I brought down all the Christmas decorations, right??? They fill my "non-dining" dining room....and spill over into my den....REALLY! I didn't really have time to actually do any decorating, but at least I have it all downstairs!

Here's more of the mess---
And the last picture---I didn't even take pictures in the den....I figured you probably know what it's like----your home may have looked like this earlier this week, too! I do love pulling everything out---deciding where to put it all; remembering the new items I bought the day after Christmas last year; looking through the gifts I bought last year and remembering how far ahead I am with the gift buying---whew!

I have enjoyed my week off, but I'm thankful for this advent season.  The next two weeks will be a bit of a blur. I don't want to get caught up in the insanity and forget why we celebrate in the first place. I have much to be thankful for---and I hope I will have time to share some of our advent experiences with you. Thanks for stopping by~

Friday, November 26, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 26}

Today I'm thankful for a quiet day at home....I did some online shopping....mailed a package for Hannah....and watched Joshua and David play some football on Playstation---Joshua was IN HEAVEN! What a quiet, peaceful day----grateful for one of these before the insanity that starts for me on Monday! Enjoy the weekend~

Thursday, November 25, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 25}

So much to be thankful for----

.........but, when it all comes down to it---isn't it all from the Father? I have been so aware of all my blessings this month....I think because I have made a point to look for them. ALL these things I've mentioned this month are nothing compared to the riches I have in Christ Jesus~what a blessing that I am a part of His family. To be blessed with a family who names the name of Christ---these are the blessings that are too numerous to count.

Here's a picture of Hannah at her Thanksgiving meal in Kunming, China~

Thanks for reading this month---I hope your Thanksgiving was full of family, food, and the reality of Christ's love in your life!

{Papertrey November Blog Hop Challenge}

Good morning! It's Thanksgiving and pumpkin muffins are in the oven---I don't have long to chat here!

The challenge this month is below-it's from Nichole Heady's blog. You can find it here!

Recently the design team and I put together a variety of holiday tags that are perfect to keep on hand for quick wrap options.  Now it's your turn to inspire us and the rest of the Papertrey community! Design a holiday tag or two using all of your favorite goodies and share it with all of us!  We will all have plenty of inspiration to create a large stash and try to get ahead of the hustle and bustle of the season!

Here are a few of my tags---what I've done this year is just cut a bunch of different elements out and then put them together randomly with various accents~I just put a few together as I have time----it's been less stressful and lots of fun to put it together! All products are Papertrey Ink~let me know if you have questions!

I hope you are enjoying some time with your family today! Thanks for stopping by! My 30 days of thanks post will be up later!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 24}

WOW---what a day today! Here are a few things I'm so grateful for:
  • traditions--even if they are new---they are still fun
  • family dinners---with David out of town, we get very few of these now, and I'm very grateful for them when we are all around the table (Joshua said tonight to touch feet for Hannah, since she couldn't be here ---only a few of you will get that, but HANNAH will get it....)
  • Random games of Go Fish---Carson always wins---I'm trying to explain to him that this may not be a great idea---he's not listening
  • all things familiar----I appreciate them more this year---I'm sure there are many reasons why, but I'm very grateful for the things in my life and my family life that are familiar
  • Western Union---'nuff said---but VERY grateful for Western Union
  • laughter---I LOVE to laugh, and there are NO other people I'd rather laugh with than my little family---
SO grateful tonight for some down time with my family--

Missing Hannah---she had a Thanksgiving meal last night with her team. She said she had REAL turkey---not Tofurkey, so this was GREAT!!! She had sweet potatoes, oh and some chicken burritos---and pizza!!! And pumpkin pie---so this was a unique Thanksgiving meal, but she was QUITE thankful for some turkey! It was nice to know they enjoyed this time together. I'm so grateful for the lessons she's learning and the woman she is becoming! Just blessed tonight----SOOOO much to be thankful for---

What are you grateful for today? I've been overwhelmed with gratitude this month---I'm sure because I have been looking for things I'm thankful for---perhaps this should be a lesson to me to be grateful EVERY DAY---

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 23}

.....and he fixes stuff, too!

OK---here I go again, being grateful for the same person again in 30 days---WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? ;-D

Carson---my new son in law actually LIKES to fix things around the house---and since he is living here (for about two more weeks----WAAAAAAH!) he has LOTS to fix!!

Joshua took a shower in my shower last night and when I went in there a little later, the cold water knob would just turn all the way around, but not turn on or off----GRRRRRRR. Joshua assured me he didn't do anything, but either way, the cold water didn't work! I knew that meant that David would get home and have a "job" to do---WHICH HE HATES!!! He REALLY doesn't like fixing things around the house---so, tonight I was talking to Caitlin and Carson about the shower and Carson just walked in there and about 5 minutes later he had fixed it---AND he said this, "I LIKE to fix things--it makes me feel like I've accomplished something"---I'm just typing that out and publishing it here, so twenty years from now when he doesn't want to fix something at my house, I can remind him that he LIKES to fix things......Yep, he's stuck careful little mouth what you say.....

With a VERY grateful heart---and a grateful husband, I'm sure.....

Monday, November 22, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 22}

Today I'm thankful for paper and glue----and LOTS of bling----(paper "bling"---not rings and things)! Now, if you have been coming to my blog for very long, you know that one of my favorite things to do is play with paper to make simple gifts look better. I won't show much of my inspiration for this day of thanks today, because it's all a surprise for Hannah, but I can show a few things. It's just amazing to me how quickly you can put some ink on a piece of paper and it can turn a plain little something into a wonderful surprise! Here are a couple examples of my simple joy today:

I love this little tree---it was simple, and quick---this is from the Holiday Button Bits collection from Papertrey Ink. I will tell you, I practically copied this from Debbie Olson---I didn't realize it until I had seen hers again, but it's true!

This is from the same set, Holiday Button Bits---I love this little Santa!

And last is this little package is from the Tiny Treats Christmas also from Papertrey Ink. I used a bunch of these little stamps for my Christmas packages---

Well, I'm not going into details  on any of these---if you have any questions, you can leave me a comment and I'll get back to you---

I hope you have enjoyed a simple joy today and were thankful for it all~

Sunday, November 21, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 21}

Today I am thankful for some time to bake cookies! Now, usually, I don't bake Christmas cookies BEFORE Thanksgiving, but I'm mailing a "party in a box" to Hannah's group in China, so it had to be done! I thought it would be fun to have a Christmas Party for the students to celebrate---I hope I can stuff everything into the box---cookies, icing, food coloring, sprinkles, plates, napkins, cups, hot chocolate---and more....all of this needs to fit into a 12x12x5 1/2" box. Yeah---we'll see!!

I have some other pictures of me and Joshua baking cookies, but this one was the most convenient to use---not the best composition, but you get the point! I took this one with my phone!

Anyway, I hope the cookies taste OK by the time they get to China---if they put enough icing on them, I'm sure they will be fine!!

I'm grateful that I got to do this with my son. He's so easy going---what a blessing! We watched a movie while we rolled and cut and baked---it was just a fun evening! I am always thankful for time with my children making good memories~

Saturday, November 20, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 20}

OK---today was the first day of my Thanksgiving break. I was looking forward to sleeping in, then working on the box I'm sending to Hannah for Christmas, doing a little yard work,  and finally going to a wedding of the daughter of a friend. A full day---but no real schedule except the wedding. THAT was before I woke up at 4:30 and couldn't go back to sleep. By 4:50 I was up with a cup of coffee checking my email!

I was amazed at the amount of work I had done by 10:00 AM! Around 11, I went out to blow the leaves in my yard....I finished about 2:30----YES---seriously. Now, anyone who lives in NC knows that this isn't unusual----there are LOTS of leaves on the ground right now, but still---2:30???. OK---now to the story....and the "THANKS" part.

As I was getting close to the end of the leaf blowing adventure, I ran out of electric cord----so, I thought, "well, I'm this close, I'll just rake the rest." I went to the shed (in the picture) to look for my big rake. It wasn't there, so instead of taking the time to look for it elsewhere, I remembered that I had a little rake that Joshua used to use--A REALLY SHORT RAKE---up on the side porch. So, I just finished the yard with that. I had to laugh at how it must have looked to anyone driving by---did they wonder if I had tortured myself and raked the entire yard this way!

As I was cleaning up---putting away my blower and mini rake---I had to laugh again at what I found when I put the rake up. It was my OTHER extension cord....I could have just plugged in the blower and finished in no time. As I stood there laughing at myself, I thought of how I do this with the Lord. When I have something to do, often I just barrel through and do it---never really pausing to "look" for the Lord, to ask his will in my life. I'm a "doer"---I can GET IT DONE!  So, he lets me do it MY way---which is probably MUCH harder than His way. I could patiently wait on him; wait to KNOW what he wants---instead of just assuming that I know best. But often there is no waiting---I'm going to "DO IT".

SOOOO, today, I'm thankful for a lesson learned, for God's amazing grace in my life---that allows me to do things my way and then gently rebukes me. I am reminded of the verse in Romans,
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
                                                                                                  Romans 2:4

YEARS ago---I mean, REALLY long ago---college years, there was a song out with this scripture in it and it has stuck with me all this time. It has come to me in the midst of my sinfulness to remind me not only that the Lord longs for me to repent and loves me through my sin, but ALSO reminds me that I should offer the same kindness to those around me. So, with the holidays coming up many of us have an opportunity to "show kindness"---don't just barrel through things and "do things" so they are DONE---when perhaps it would be best to leave it undone, or do it differently.....I'm so grateful, I don't get what I deserve from this loving and KIND Father of mine.

Don't use the little rake----seek, search, the help is right in front of you---and it may make your life a lot easier!
...and now you know why I called this blog "nelson ramblings"..... thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 19, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 19}

Today I am thankful for

Shannon Royce, my just older sister. (by "just older", I mean, I have two and she's the ONE right next to me---of course she's LOTS older than I!) hmph~

I know I've already been thankful for her---and, of course, I shouldn't be thankful for the same person twice in thirty days---but I've said that before!!!  My posts each day are truly what I'm thankful for THAT DAY---usually something has happened the day I write my post for which I'm thankful. I haven't planned out posts and written them up ahead of time (as I'm sure you can tell!!) I just go through my day and things come up to help me see how truly grateful I am for someone or something.

Today, I'm thankful  not just for my sister, but for her courage. Shannon has started a new venture and her website went public today. Chosen Families is an organization that hopes to help meet the needs of parents who have a child with a hidden disability. The website isn't quite finished, but there's some good information there. I'm so proud of Shannon for stepping out in faith to start this new organization. What a blessing to see the Lord at work in her and through her. I'm sure we all know someone---perhaps someone very close to us who has a hidden disability. Check out her website and see what you think.

I'm out of school for a WHOLE week---that's another thing to be thankful for!!! I love Thanksgiving!! Until I'm thankful for something tomorrow~

~be grateful!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 18}

Harry Potter---

Yep---I said it--I'm thankful for Harry Potter---I LOVED these books. The girls and I would go to the midnight parties to get our books upon the release (yes, books--PLURAL) because I would have to share them with TWO girls, not just one. Usually, by the time I would finish MY OWN BOOK, both of the girls had read their ONE copy. They read like so fast!! So does their Daddy!

I was soooooo sad when the last book came out---I loved them that much. The movie is coming out in less than two hours and I can't wait to see it---they NEVER have been as good as the books. (And no, I'm not going to a midnight showing---sadly, I'd sleep through the entire thing---something about 5:15 AM on a regular basis sort of messes up the whole "midnight movie fun"---)



You just miss too much. YOU MUST read the book; some of the most enjoyable reading I've done. I think we all need a little entertainment in our lives---THIS is a great way to pass the time. Joshua and I are reading them aloud right now---we are getting close to the end of the 4th book and hope to watch the movie over our break next week---in our house, you have to read the books first! (did I already say that?)

I encourage you to read these books---if you haven't--they are a blast!

OH, and if you have read them, read them again! They are even better the next time!

Be grateful!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 17}

...let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such  belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.          
                                                                                                                                     Mark 10:14-15

I had this passage nailed to my forehead today by a precious little girl in one of my classes. I am currently preparing my students for our Annual Lessons and Carols Service, so we are learning our songs. At this point in the process, they know the notes and words and now we just need to"polish" them and make them beautiful. I KNOW this is the frustrating part to the singer---especially to my younger students because all they know is that Mrs. Nelson just keeps STOPPING THEM and telling them to DO IT AGAIN "THIS WAY"............only to stop them again. and then DO IT get the picture.

So, I decided I would explain why I was doing this through the following illustration:

When my girls were little, they LOVED to play dress up. This was the 1990s and accessories were BIG---even in dress up clothes. At the time, there were these jewelry sets that you could purchase called "Jewel Rocks". They were necklaces, bracelets, tiaras, etc. that had these holes in them to hold big "jewels". The fun of these sets was that the "jewels" came in a bag and they looked like rocks when you poured them out on the table. You would take the "rocks" and put them in the "magic container", fill it with water and SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE! (go ahead and sing it---you know you want to)~

ANYWAY, after the shaking, you could look into your "magic container" and your rocks had become JEWELS!!!! EEEEEK! Now, imagine that you are a four year old girl---BIG EEEEEK!!! Then you could use your jewels to adorn your lovely jewelry.

I went on to explain, that our songs were a bit "messy" at the moment, like the rocks---we could perform them and everyone would be polite and think we were fine----BUT, I KNEW if we cleaned the songs up and "got all the gunk off" then we would REALLY be great. MORE than sounding good---we would make a beautiful offering to the LORD---because HE is the reason we get to celebrate Christmas! We chatted about this for a few minutes and then a beautiful, blonde-haired girl raised her hand and said this:

"That is exactly what Jesus does for us!"
OH MY GOODNESS---did that just come out of a  7 year old's mouth. So, I said, "Kharis, tell me what you mean" and she replied, "Jesus takes us and gets all the gunk off"----


I'm grateful today to be taught that simple truth again---that Jesus takes me in my "rock-y" state and makes me beautiful---WOW---thank you Father for using your youngest children to teach me a beautiful and timely lesson.

Be grateful~

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 16}

I'm so thankful for good teachers!!

It sounds a bit arrogant to say this since I AM a teacher, but I think anyone who reads this blog knows this is about my family---my hobbies, my personal life......NOT my professional one. SO, this is written from the perspective of a mama. This is not a treatise on education!

My children have had some amazing teachers....and some not so amazing. One of Caitlin's teachers (in a school OTHER than my current institution), would say to her when she finished her work, "You go and help the stupid kids." SERIOUSLY---this was one of the "not so amazing teachers". Hannah had a teacher who required her to read Pride and Prejudice in the sixth grade. Hannah was telling me about it one day after school. She LOVED the book and was so animated as she described it. She then began to compare Austen to Dickens  as I drove her home from school one day....I nearly wrecked the car from the tears streaming down my face. "AMAZING"---I still believe this is one of the reasons she loves British literature today....because she was inspired by a passionate teacher. Joshua has had his share of inspiring teachers as well. None more amazing than his Kindergarten teacher. She has taught several grades in the Lower School, but Joshua had her for Kindergarten---he LOVED HER. He loved school---he loved learning.

This week, some of Trinity's Lower School students have had a "guest lecturer".  Ian Finley of Burning Coal Theatre, here in Raleigh, has been there to teach the students about Shakespeare. I have not had the privilege of seeing him in action, but EVERY child who has had him this week has entered my classroom talking non-stop about him. BUT NOT JUST about Ian Finley---they have been inspired and fascinated with SHAKESPEARE! I LOVE IT!!! Isn't this what a great teacher does? Helps the student find their passion to learn? Helps the student have a GREAT TIME learning---even if the material is hard, so it's worth the effort because learning new things is so FUN!! Joshua---who is hard to please.....has come home the last two days talking incessantly about "Mr. Finley" and all that he's learning. What a wonderful blessing this is to THIS mama--to have her child come home and chatter on about school that day.

Hannah put it well in an email to me the other day. (She was "rambling on"----I'm not sure where she gets that?) She hopes to be a teacher eventually---maybe even a professor. She is teaching English right now in China. Here's a bit of what she said---I've edited it liberally!
So obviously, China  is really important to me--meaning what we're doing here is important. Because I want to teach someday. And I'm teaching--it's a great experience! But WOW. It's hard! And the teacher inside of me (because I think there is one) is just wanting to spend time with and inspire these kids--but I have NO idea how! Because I have no clue what I'm doing, and then there's the fact that, HELLO I can barely communicate with them! I personally felt like our lesson today was a total disaster and it was just PAINFUL. Ugh. I mean they thought we were awesome 'cuz we're American, and I think they basically got the lesson, but did it inspire them? Are they excited for actually LEARNING next time? I don't think so. They're excited to see the Americans again! And maybe that's a barrier that I can't breach, but I dunno.
Great teachers are hard to find. Good teachers----lots of them, but GREAT teachers---amazing! The hours that a great teacher puts into the job---you wouldn't believe it--unless you ARE one or are MARRIED to one! Who was your favorite teacher growing up? I'll bet you had one---you should write them and tell them thank you---
Be grateful~

Monday, November 15, 2010

(30 Days of Thanks~Day 15}

The beauty of God's creation---this is what I'm thankful for today. I am so blessed to live in a part of the country that TRULY experiences all four seasons. Every Fall I swear that it's my favorite season of the year, and then Spring rears it's beautiful head and I LOVE IT just the same!

One of the  things that Hannah has missed while she's been away is the Fall---the changing of the leaves, the vibrant colors and smells of Fall----It's reminded me not to take ONE DAY of this Fall for granted. I hope you have been able to see some of God's amazing creation this fall in all it's glory. If not, go looking for it---its out there!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~ Day 14}

Today I'm thankful for friends---now, I could write this everyday---honestly, I am so blessed with precious friends. I have so many I couldn't list them here. You probably have "friends" who have children in each of your childrens' grades. I know I have had that experience. I have friends who had children the same age as Caitlin, Hannah and Joshua. Some from each "group" I have kept up with---some only occasionally.  I have friends at church, friends in my neighborhood. But the friends I'm really grateful for today are a group of friends who have helped me through some very dark times---they KNOW me---they know everything about me; the good, the bad, and the very ugly---and they still love me. These are the ladies who are the first I think to tell  my joys and my sorrows to (besides my family, of course). These women are the first on the email list of prayer warriors on behalf of my family. These are the ladies who make me laugh hysterically.These are the friends that even though I have very little time with them in this time of my life, they are there for me---we are there for each other. They are my "people"----aka Grey's Anatomy Meredith & Christina. Now, yes, I know that Meredith and Christina just have a "person", but I can truly say,  I have more than one "person"---how amazing is that?

I remember when I left Tulsa nearly fifteen years ago, I thought I'd NEVER have friends like I had there. And, frankly, it took a long time. But the Lord has SO richly blessed me with women who love me, who love my children, who are willing to rebuke me when necessary, who point me to Christ, who love their husbands and families, who support me when I need them---and even when I don't know I need them. I AM GRATEFUL today for my sweet friends. SADLY, I don't have many pictures of my friends---what is up with that? I will work on that in the next 6 months.

Make time for a friend this week---and be thankful for her~

Thanks for stopping's silly how happy it makes me!

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 13}

Yes---I know it's the 14th---but I'm still on the thirteenth. I'm so thankful for my home.

This is a picture of our backyard in January when we had a nice snowfall.

And this is our backyard---a bit rough---at Hannah's graduation party in the Spring.

Part of our side yard--

Our kitchen

I looked through my pictures briefly for a picture of the front of our house, but couldn't find one--I know I've taken them, but these are just a few that I ran across. You know, it's funny. There are so many things we would love to do to our home, but frankly, we haven't had the funds to do this---other priorities have taken us in other directions. But our home is warm and comfortable. We don't have an updated kitchen, or bathrooms. Our carpet is ancient. But we are happy here. I'd love to have a sparkly, new kitchen---but, we have  great family dinners around our 35 year old table with the "faux" wood top! Our home is a place of respite after a long day---and this is what I want it to be. There will be other houses for us---I just hope they are as wonderful as this one---We are so blessed to have it and I know it is a gift from the Lord.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 12}

SOOOOOO, a crazy day yesterday and I didn't get to post---so here's what I'm thankful for YESTERDAY! You know you can't be thankful TODAY for yesterday---hee!

HIM--I'm thankful for my husband!

I love this man. He got home yesterday. If you didn't know, he has taken a job at UNC School of the Arts. The school is in Winston Salem, so he's gone all week. I treasure the time he's home and so enjoy our time together. Our little family is changing---of course, it's all wonderful, but it does change your relationships within the family. I'm so grateful for the weekend----not because it's the weekend---well, that too--- but because David comes home! This is always a happy day!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 11}

Today there is so much to be thankful for. I certainly can't forget those who have served our country in the military since this country was founded. Men and women who fought courageously for the freedom that I so quickly forget I even have. My father and father-in-law served; my brother in law served---he was on a nuclear sub---we still believe it's effected him to this day......hee!

But, today I was so thankful for some time with my son. We went on a field trip---ok, this was no sissy field trip---this was a "get to the train station in Cary at 6:30 in the morning, stand there for thirty minutes, ride the train to Charlotte, go to the Discovery Place children's museum, do lunch, buy dinner to go, board the train at 5:00pm, leave for Raleigh and get back home around 8:15" sort of trip. We had 74 people in the group....Josh wanted to hang out with his friends (I wanted to hang out with mine----he won!---and, of course, I did, too!) He is studying North Carolina history this year so this trip is part of that unit. It was a really fun day. All of Joshua's friends who went, had their dads along----SOOOOO, it was the boys, the dads and Kathleen. I'm sure they were ready to get rid of me---but, they were all really sweet! I did spend some time with some amazing women on the train---three actually. We were able to have long conversations and I really enjoyed that. I love meeting and spending time with women who love Christ and want to know him better. I'm blessed to have an abundance of these kind of women around me to share life with.

Joshua and I went to a 3-D movie about sharks and then we went to this IMAX movie called Legends of Flight. It was really interesting. It was about the Boeing 787---We saw an explanation of light---specifially UV light. This picture was what happened whens she was showing what happens to helium when a flame is near---WOW!!! Well, I do have some other great pictures, but I'm falling asleep----so I'll share them this weekend, I hope.

Thanks for visiting~I am grateful for you, too!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

(30 Days of Thanks~Day 10}

Oh my---so much to be thankful for--but today, I'm thankful for this:
 Yes, Joshua decided it would be funny to have the Pottery Barn crow in the picture---CAITLIN IS PREGNANT---and it's a GIRL!! It's crazy, but true! We found out in July and the Lord has walked them through all this change so far! It's funny---I wanted to move to a different part of the house for this photo, because this isn't the prettiest room in my house, but I met some resistance, so here it is. I bought that lovely Almond refrigerator in April of 1989 one month before Caitlin was born---and it's still running, despite our fervent prayers that it will die and the Home Warranty would actuallykick in to buy me a new one.....who would have thought that   
  • A. We'd still have that refrigerator 21 years later
  • 2. Our daugther would be married and expecting all before her 22nd birthday!!!
It's so crazy how the Lord works! I can't wait to meet this little girl---I've resisted buying too many clothes for this child---but I did buy "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" by Bill Martin and Eric Carle, the other day!!!

What a blessed life I have!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 9}

Today I'm grateful because my husband is back in town! Well, NOT really "in town"---but, back from being overseas. I'm always happy for him to travel---even if it's work related. To have the opportunity to travel to a "new" country is AMAZING---but, I'm always even happier for him to be home-back in the familiar land here. Now, if I could just talk to anybody there? China + Internet = no talking to Hannah......

Be thankful today!

Monday, November 8, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 8}

Today I'm thankful for God's forgiveness.

I could just end the post right there---there's so much to say and yet, nothing else needs to be said. I am sinful. That's the truth in my life---don't worry---no major confession coming here! Read on!

I had a moment of deep humility today after showing my sinfulness. I sat at my desk later in the day when I had a moment and just thanked the Lord for his grace in my life. What did I do to deserve this gift? Why would a just God love me/forgive me when he sees me like I truly am? I have no answer for this, but I am so grateful.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2: 1-2

Do you need forgiveness today? Thank the Lord it is offered freely to all~

Sunday, November 7, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 7}

Today I'm thankful for the ability to read, the desire to read, the time to read...for me and for him.

Joshua struggled a bit, ok, a lot with the ability to read.....this really hinders the desire to read. You cannot know what joy it was for me Friday night when he said, "I miss D.E.A.R."

D.E.A.R. means "Drop Everything And Read". One of Hannah's teachers did this sometime during the week every week. He would just say, "It's DEAR time" and no matter what you were doing, you would scoop up the latest book you were reading, get comfortable anywhere in the room and spend at least 30 minutes reading...HANNAH. LOVED. IT!! So, this summer in order to encourage all of us to put the technology away I would call for DEAR time everyday. Hannah, Joshua and I would drop what we were doing (usually, I would choose the time when I was cleaning or doing laundry---hey, if it's DEAR time, you HAVE TO STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING---IT'S MANDATORY) and pick up a good book---or a bad one, but we had to read. Since school started back, it's been hard to fit the DEAR time in. We still read every night---often I read to him, but he needs to be reading on his own too.

I had been looking for a book series that Joshua would enjoy reading this summer---one that would help him develop a LOVE of reading, so I bought book after book---none were interesting to him, until I found the series Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.
 I had heard about it from a few of my students, and while we were desperately trying to find something this summer, I saw one and picked it up---it took! Now, trust me, I know it's no Chronicles of Narnia or even Harry Potter, but MY. SON. IS. READING! He begged me to go get him the last two so he'd be ready when the new one comes out on Tuesday. I came home from Barnes & Noble today and he hasn't moved except to eat a quick dinner. He has devoured the third book in the series and has started on the fourth.

Today I'm thankful that he is learning to love something that will be a love for a lifetime. We sat and had our DEAR time tonight and I smiled as I thought of all the joy I've gained hiding away in a book for a day, or a week. I thought of how much I've learned while reading....about myself, about history, about others. But mostly I thought of the joy it is to see your child wrapped up in a book and begging for "10 more minutes". Oh, OK---if you have to. (BIG GRIN.)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 6}

Today I am thankful for:

 time with my sister Shannon--shown here with her youngest, Nathan at Caitlin's wedding.

She is here on business and visiting for a few days. She's staying with me tonight and I can't wait to have some time with just her! This is a rare and beautiful thing! She is a dear friend, sister, soulmate. We have LOTS of memories---one of my favorites involves a can of bug spray and a hole in her bedroom door.......I'm sure you can figure out WHO put said hole in the door....but I'll never tell! Off to enjoy some time with her~I am blessed. Tomorrow she is running the half in the City of Oaks marathon, so we can't stay up late....of course, she's ALWAYS been an early riser, so we couldn't stay up late anyway. There are more "teenage years" stories attached to the early riser thing, but I'll spare you.....for now. They will all be in my salacious memoir someday!

Friday, November 5, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day5}

Today I'm in thankful for a quiet evening and simple entertainment.
Joshua and I watched this tonight:

We went to see it with Hannah when it came out in the theater. NOT the movie you want to see right after your child graduates! But I DO love these characters! Joshua and I would have loved for our entire family to be together tonight, but it was just the two of us. In spite of that, we really had a fun evening laughing and talking. God is good to give me this child to love! Sometimes the little things in life are the sweetest. I hope you make some sweet memories this weekend and you are thankful!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 4}

Today I'm thankful for this:

OK, he's not really a "this"---he's a young man---my son-in-law. I haven't said that very often---it's strange to be an inlaw. You know, that's what your parents are---NOT YOU, right?

BUT, I am so grateful for him--Carson. Ever since Caitlin came into this world I have prayed for her mate.
  • I prayed that he would love her, and show her the kindness that everyone needs. 
  • I prayed that he would love the Lord---with his whole heart, that he would lead his wife to love him more and teach his children to do the same.
  • I prayed that he would be a motivated worker in whatever job he wanted to do. 
  • I prayed that he would be a loving and active father in his kid's lives.
  • I prayed that his parents would stay together and love each other.
OH MY--did the Father answer my prayers! It was just over a year ago that Caitlin and Carson were engaged---that's unbelieveable to me---SOOOO much has changed in this last year. In that one year I have started to get to know this gift to our family and he's such a great fit. You know how inlaws need to "fit" right? :) He's everything I prayed for. I'm so grateful to the Lord for his provision to Caitlin and our whole family.

 My heart is full of gratitude for his parents who loved him and raised him to love the Father. What a gift this is to MY family. We are all so happy to have a larger family now! AND, a sweet little granddaugther to fight over....uh, love! ;D But, that's another thing I'm thankful for, and that's for another day!

This is what I'm thankful for today~

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 3}

WOW---so much to be thankful for. It sounds crazy with all of God's blessings, family, amazing friends, that I would be so thankful for this---but TECHNOLOGY has been a blessing in my life---and I can say, especially today!
  • I'm thankful that I can get an email from my child who is traveling the world within a minute of her sending it.
  • I'm thankful for the same technology to be able to email with my husband who is overseas on business. (and can I say I'm grateful that he doesn't travel all that often---I like it when he's home!)
  • I'm thankful for Skype-the fact that I can talk to people here in Raleigh or on the other side of the world as long as I have internet access---oh, and can you say FREE!!!???
  • Even MORE crazy---I have skype on MY PHONE---insane!
  • I'm thankful that I can catch up with old friends---via facebook---'nuff said about that. Oh,---that's on my phone, too--more crazy!
  • I am thankful that I can sit on my bed and have mindless television playing while I type this blog post==uh, that there are such things as BLOGS---and "the interweb"---;-D I'm thankful for that, too!
Again, I know in light of eternity, these things aren't that significant---but it certainly makes life easier when your loved ones are overseas (or just out of town) and you can have instant access to them. I think of the missionaries I would hear of when I was growing up who went overseas and would RARELY talk to their family members---much less anyone else. Now, they are able to still be a part of their lives with the aid of such advanced technology---WOW! Technology keeps me in touch with my family---at least for today---for this, I'm grateful.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 2}

Today I am thankful for my job---I work at a smallish Classical Christian School here in Raleigh, Trinity Academy of Raleigh. I've posted about numerous activities there, about my children's acheivements there, but I'm not sure I've posted about my job there. I teach music in the Lower School---besides my natural desire to be a wife and mom, this is what God created me to do---seriously, I'm quite happy doing it. Now, anyone who really knows me woudln't be surprised to hear me say I'd rather be a full time wife and mom, but this job blesses my family by giving me some income to help us pay for our children (now only ONE) to attend there.

So, why am I thankful for my job?
  • I love the people I work with. The Lower School at Trinity is separated into two buildings---my classroom is in Building B. I love the teachers on my Hall---we laugh, and cry, and pray, and rant with each other on a daily basis. I am so blessed to have godly women to work with who encourage me to do the right thing everyday---
  • I love the students! Seriously---I have taught for a long time, in several different environments and these are the best children ever. Of course, they aren't perfect---there's plenty of frustration....but I love them and I laugh with them. We have FUN learning and that's what it's about.
  • I love the families of these children. Again, I've seen a lot of "parents" in my teaching time and the Trinity Community is a unique place. They are such supporters of their children and all that I do with them. You won't find better parents~
  • My job is part-time---:) This is one of the BIG reasons I love it! Honestly, I don't think I could do this full time---I'd fall apart! There's just so much to do and if I worked full time I'd have no time to do any of it! This year, I have a great schedule---working Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday---very sweet!
  • I love the community at Trintiy---the entire community is a special place. I wish I could describe it to people---there's something unique and precious about the Trinity community and this makes my job even more enjoyable. 
  • I love our Head of School---Robert Littlejohn. He's a great visionary---he loves this institution and what it stands for. I trust him. He's been good for us and I hope he will stay with us for a very long time.
Oh, I could go on---but I DO have thirty days to be thankful, right? I don't have to be grateful for EVERYTHING today! Are you looking for a place in Raleigh to put your child in school? My own children have been at Trinity since 1998 (yes, I'm that old!) and I can truly say, it's a great place. I'd be happy to talk to you about it if you'd like! (and no---no one asked me to do this---you're too cynical)

So, do you like your job? What are you thankful for today?

Monday, November 1, 2010

{30 Days of Thanks~Day 1}

Hello my two faithful readers! I haven't forgotten this blog---I actually have several posts typed up, but I'm waiting to get my pictures on my computer---that's another story!

30 Days of Thanks---WOW---that's hardly enough days to tell all the things I'm thankful for---but I'm going to do my best.

I'm thankful for my family. Life isn't perfect---but it's good. I have a great family---we laugh, we love, we live life together. This year is proving to be our most interesting yet! One wedding, one new job, one child traveling the world, one husband working out of town during the week, one baby on the way, one crazy fourth grade dancing man, two extra people in the house for now, one house in need of some work.....and the list goes on. But in the midst of this insanity, I have learned to treasure my family more than ever---to NEVER take them for granted, and to LOVE any time I get with them---because it is fleeting. Life moves at such a crazy pace that I DO try to stop and enjoy the moments.

Extended family---people always laugh when others talk about extended family---but I'm grateful for mine. OH, Don't get me wrong---there's plenty to laugh about in our family as well---but fortunately we choose to LAUGH about it, instead of scream, or cry!!! MY SIDE: My sisters are precious to me---and my parents, as well. My brother in law and nephews are dear. I need more time with them---again with the insane pace of life......

DAVID'S SIDE--some of my most treasured memories with my own little family have been in the company of these people---hearing Pam and Rick fight---again!, (just kidding---sort of!), watching my nieces and nephews grow up---from afar, much of the time, but watching nonetheless (9 of them!!). Most are grown now---several married, new babies---it has happened. The "Kids"---"us", are now the grandparents and the "children"--"they", are now the parents. Let's all sing "The Circle of Life" and go to bed!

Enjoy your month of Thanks---what are you thankful for today? Let me know---I probably am, too!