[fall is here]

Finally, the first week of Fall 2014 is here. My most favorite time of year. It’s still warm enough to wear capris and short sleeve shirts and cool enough at night to wear a sweatshirt. The leaves are starting to turn, the wind is picking up and the days are getting shorter. You can smell Fall in the air and it makes my heart go pitter patter. It’s time to make bread (a first for me this year) and homemade taco soup. Olivia has been asking for it for a month but I told her we had to wait until Fall was officially here. So guess what she’s getting it very soon.

Fall is a time of reflection for me. As the leaves die off and fall to the ground it reminds me that I have to let some things go. As hard as it is God is showing me that it’s time.  I know He has plans for new life in the Spring.

He has been teaching and pruning me the last month with the Book of Acts.  At different times and events these pages of Scripture have come up more often than they ever have. I’ve read it many times before but it has taken on new meaning for me as He is showing me the power of the Holy Spirit as I’ve never felt it before. It is exhilerating and scary all at the same time. I know He has a plan and I am content to let Him show me that plan as He sees fit.

[last first day of school]

There’s something about flipping the calendar to a new month or seeing that “1” on my iPad that signifies a new beginning.  This beginning has a whole different feeling.

18 years ago as we were awaiting the arrival of our first born the thought of him starting his senior year of high school seemed like an eternity away and yet it has passed so quickly. He has grown up even though I keep trying to keep him little. But instead of trying to stop time I will embrace it and celebrate the young man he has become and the life he has in front of him.  I will continue praying for him as he seeks to make his own way in the world and contemplates the major decisions he has to make over the next year. I will continue praying that his relationship with his Savior will continue to be the most important thing in his life and that it will continue to guide his decisions.  
Tomorrow is his last first day of school and we will celebrate it as much as we did his first day of Kindergarten. 

[end of one season, beginning of another]

The past few weeks have been the end of a lot of things…those things that come to their end in May and June.  The end of dance classes with the culmination of the “Recital,”  keyboard recitals, Spring Play, Prom, the end of our Word of Life clubs at church celebrating accomplishments with gold medals and a pool party, last week of my precious ladies Bible study, and of course the last day of school for my babies.  I’m not sure who is more excited, me or those babies.  Just as the beginning of the year is exciting, the end of the year brings it’s own excitement and stress.  But once its finished we move on to the things of summer – Word of Life camp (my all-time favorite), lazy days with nothing to do and no where to be, 4th of July.  More time to read for fun, BBQs and ice cream!  Of course Vacation Bible School, Sports Camp and getting a team ready to head to West Africa are squeezed in there too.

I am looking forward to what the Summer has to bring, what God has to show me and how His mercies are new every morning.

Here’s a few funny pictures from a graduation party we attended last weekend.

[waiting]

Wow…three posts in three days. Not sure if I can keep this up. My goal is once a week but I’d settle for once a month. I have been letting my hair grow out. And it’s about this time that I get frustrated and chop it all off but I’m trying to hang in there. This is about 6 months. It takes sooo long but I thought I would track the progress. 


[new life]

May 1st – a new month, a clean slate, a new beginning. Having just turned 47, the big 50 isn’t that far away. To be honest I don’t feel that old. I feel like I am in my mid-thirties. Other then aging eyes and bones and about 30 pounds I feel pretty good. Of course 3 kids help with that as well (old and young all at the same time). There are so many things left to,do, to start, to see. Like visiting Disney (which we’ve never done) and a trip to Israel (maybe once the kids leave home). But today, I choose to make small changes, small plans that may lead to those bigger goals and dreams. So daily I choose to kiss my husband and kids and tell them I love them, count the gifts that I am thankful for, tell my story through a picture a day, spending time with my Savior through the Word He gave me and the studies His teachers have supplied. Exercising 3 times a week even when I don’t feel like it and fostering new and old relationships, loving others like Jesus loves me.



[good works]

I’ve been camping out on Ephesians 2:10 today. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” I think a lot of times we focus on the part that says we were created to do good works. But I know that a lot of times I ignore the second part that says those good works that God prepared in advance for me. There are so many good works in this world but I am only called to do those He has prepared for me. Those things that I say yes to that overwhelm my calendar may be the good works that He prepared in advance for someone else.

[perfection…not]

I took 2 weeks of vacation over the Christmas and New Year’s break.  We all got to sleep in and lounge around the house for 2 weeks and 3 weekends.  It was so needed…I think we rented a dozen movies from Redbox and watched every Hallmark, Lifetime and UP TV Christmas movie ever made.

The first week was baking and getting ready for Christmas.  By the second week we started to get into a routine of hanging out as a family, keeping the house straight and actually keeping the laundry up.  So when I went back to work the Monday after New Year’s I was determined that I was actually going to get organized and attempt to keep the house straight and maybe even make dinner a couple of times a week.

If you know me, then you know that I don’t have any domestic abilities at all.  Of course that is an exaggeration but keeping my house straight, let alone clean, is a major endeavor.  Add on that I am a perfectionist who will procrastinate if I can’t do it all exactly perfect at one time so you can imagine how much dust has accumulated over time.  Now I am the first to admit that I have done a horrible job of enlisting my children to help with the major housework.  That’s a project and a post for another day.

And so I digress…I searched around the web for the perfect organization tool that will whip me in shape and get this house looking good all the time.  It’s almost overwhelming all that is out there and how many experts there are to choose from.  I really wanted to have the spiritual aspect to this so I ended up finding The Confident Mom.  I had heard of her before and even bought the 2013 Weekly Household Planner but never used it.  So I downloaded the 2014 version (it’s free by the way).  For now I think it will work for me.  I like it because it is broken down by the week and she gives you examples of activities to do over the week to help you get it all done in little bites.  I know that I will have to adjust it to fit our lifestyle but’s that’s ok.  It’s a place to start and I guess getting started is the hardest thing to do.

So I started today and one project that was way overdue is our master bathroom.  Now when we built our house in 1999 we only had one child.  The house has 2 full bathrooms and one half bath and another potential full bath in the basement if we ever get around to finishing it.  We’ve since added two more kids who insist on using the master bath instead of their own.  So that means 4 of us are trying to get ready in one bathroom every day.  I cleaned off the entire surface and the cabinets underneath.  I filled up half of a large trash bag.  It was pretty gross.  I can’t tell you how much dust there was.  But here it is now and hopefully we can keep it that way.  I should have taken a before picture but let’s just say that the left sink was completely filled with stuff so we could only actually use the right sink.

That gave me a small burst of energy and I cleaned out my bedside table.  Threw a bunch of stuff away in there too.  How does it all accumulate?


On a side note we did get out of the house a little over the break…2 movies (Frozen & Saving Mr. Banks, both excellent), the trains at Bevell’s Hardware (an annual tradition) and for the first time the Newport News Celebration of Lights.  Our Christmas Eve service and New Year’s Day prayer service at church were very special too.

[2014]

A new year…new beginnings. A chance to start out with a blank slate, a clean white page, a new calendar. What does this new year hold? Praying for wisdom this year and a deeper relationship with my Savior.