Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ten Commandments for Beating Busyness...

I am finding myself in a bit of a 'writing slump' -- it's not for lack of thoughts swirling about my head/heart but I am fearful that if I try to compose some emotional/inspirational post right now that everything will come forth in a nasty mess of words & emotions and frighten you all away. So, until I can get a handle on all of that, I am going to share some practical advice I read in Focus on the Family magazine recently.

Spending a week in the much slower-paced Mexican culture this past week only accentuated the rapid rushing about of our American culture. Most of us are busy, busy, busy. And while it is acceptable to be going about the work of God, without clearly defined priorities it is hard to discern which choices are best & which are best left alone. The following quotes got me to thinking: "The really idle man gets nowhere. The perpetually busy man does not get much further." (Sir Heneage Ogilvie) and "The whole point of getting things done is knowing what to leave undone." (Oswald Chambers).
And then this list challenged me to make priorities which bring honor to God. Entitled "The 10 Commandments for Beating Busyness." THOU SHALT:
  1. connect heart-to-heart with your family each week
  2. let the Holy Spirit lead you
  3. be fruitful & productive, not simply busy
  4. take rest seriously -- for me this is huge 'ole CHECK; I take my sleep VERY seriously!
  5. use all your vacation time every year
  6. commit your time off soley to non-work activities
  7. have fun at least once a week -- this one shouldn't be hard but I definitely have room for improvement
  8. eat regulary, preferrably sitting down -- my Mom quotes this one OFTEN, specifically the 'sitting down' part :)
  9. exercise regularly
  10. use technology to gain time NOT consume it

Monday, July 28, 2008

Lots on My Mind...

While the weather outside is somewhat calm, a lazy summer day, inside (my heart & mind) feels a bit more like a whirlwind. I hope to post more details later but right now I cannot put much into words.

I simply wanted to let you know that my 'blog absence' is due to us being in Magdalena, MX for the past week and ask for your prayers that my hubby quickly recovers from whatever illness he picked up while there.

I thought, too, I would share with you my favorite picture from our week at the orphanage, my friend Gwen getting up-close-and-personal with a tarantula the girls found nearby our dorms.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Blueberry Pie Recipe...

It's fresh blueberry season; at least that's the case in Indiana. I bought 10lbs a few weeks ago and have been making yummy treats for family & friends. One of my favorite recipes - easy & delicious - is a fresh blueberry pie.

3/4 cup water
3 T. cornstarch
2 T. light Karo syrup
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup blueberries (fresh)
1/2 pkg. unflavored gelatin (moistened)
5 cups blueberries (fresh)

Cook the first 5 ingredients until thick, blue/clear looking. Moisten gelatin with just a dash of water, add to the mixture & remove from heat. Cool. Add remaining fresh blueberries and pour into a baked pie crust. Chill at least 1 hour.
If you have a favorite blueberry recipe, feel free to share in the Comments section. I hope to get another box or two before the season is over and would love to try something new.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My First EVER Baby Shower...

This past Saturday was my first ever baby shower! I felt like THE MOST loved person in the world. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! to each & everyone who came...who rejoiced with me, cried with me, laughed with me (and will continue to do so) on this journey to little Alexander.

The hostesses out-did themselves with amazing decorations & fun games/devotions/readings & fabulous food! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for sharing in my life in such a manner that you orchestrated the details of this event in such a way that was SO...well, so me! Your kindness was evident down to the smallest of the details.

The gifts were incredible & much appreciated. Blankets & bags. Sippy cups & safety stuff. Mattresses & sheets. Toys. Outfits. Bibs. Diapers. And I love books! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for your generosity & for helping us to prepare our home for the day when our little Alex comes to live here.

EXPLANATION FOR BELOW PICTURE. Blake was out-of-town for several days at a conference in Atlanta so I hauled all the gifts in and arranged them in the nursery so he could share in the fun/excitement of the gifts we received when he returned. I figure I will find appropriate places for each items closer to the date when our little occupant will be moving in :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Realistic Hope...

An excerpt from a devotional I was reading this afternoon (by Paula Rineheart)...

"It is true that one day our dreams and longings will be fulfilled beyond our wildest imaginations. Life will happen the way it's supposed to, the way we always wanted it to -- someday -- but not now. Now we plow through time, groping, learning, hurting, struggling, failing and sometimes succeeding. God can help us and strengthen us, but he never promised to keep us from pain. "Our Father refreshes us with some pleasant inns on the journey, but [he] will not encourage us to mistake them for home," wrote C.S. Lewis. Heaven is where our biggest dreams belong. Realizing that can help us make it through the here and now without placing a burden on the present that it was never meant to bear."

As you go about your daily tasks, may these words encourage your heart to not only remember but to celebrate the realistic hope which belongs to all who call on the saving name of Jesus. The disappointments of this life will instantly disappear when we see His face.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Little J & J...

My sister-in-law was in town this weekend with my two littlest nephews. Here are few shots of the little guys.
I know it's not normally flattering to post a picture with one's mouth open but I could not get Jared to offer up his usual smirk. Since I find this little guy adorable no matter the facial expression I decided he'd be okay with me posting this one...just this once ;) Here is Jonah reading to his new jaguar (or leopard...or cheetah) friend about BIG, BIG trucks!

Some Sunshine & Sailing...

On Sunday afternoon, I was invited to join a group of friends for a couple hours of sailing on Lake Michigan.

Although I have little (actually NO desire) to live within the hustle-and-bustle of the city on a day-to-day basis, there is something about spending a summer afternoon in the city that transforms my former farmgirl identify into one of city-sophistication & makes me feel young and carefree :)

The afternoon's weather was simply fabulous -- blue skies & sunshine along with a hefty wind from the west/northwest (which I learned, is the ultimate for sailing with speed & steadiness).

We had a first-time sailor onboard with us. Here are some shots of little Shae fearless & at the helm during his first sailboat adventure. NOTE: He was small enough he could stand on the wheel while his dad & Dan 'assisted' with the actual task of steering the boat.

Last Weekend - Nashville Pics

Last week I promised more pictures from our holiday weekend in Nashville but found myself sidetracked. Here are some shots of our time together.

The first collage is of each of my 6 nieces & nephews: Anissa, Jonathan, Moriah, Zachary, Emily and Elijiah.

Photos in this second collage were taken at Cheekwood, a botanical garden in the Nashville area. Beautiful grounds, stone buildings and plants of all kinds. It was a fun excursion on a hot & steamy afternoon.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Packing Tips For You...

We just returned from Nashville (a later post to come with more details & pictures). Should any of you plan on travelling to this part of the country in the near future, I wanted to offer some 'been-there-done-that' assistance in packing for the trip.

Suggestion #1 -- Waterproof clothes! The kiddos & Uncle Blake had some full-on water fights throughout the weekend and by the end, even 2-year old Moriah joined in the fun with some perfect aim!Suggestion #2 -- Anti-Itch Meds. I've spent a good portion of today attempting to avoid scratching off any of my bodily appendages. I have 50+ chigger bits currently in residence upon my being. I am told that chiggers are like mosquitos except that instead of biting you & going away to find another victim, chiggers burrough beneath the skin until they are killed via suffocation. I am trying NOT to think about the possibility that I have bugs constructing a complex, interstate highway system beneath my skin at this very moment!

The Plattners had some awesome ChiggerX in TN but it's not available around here except by placing a special order. No way! I need some relief NOW. The JewelOsco pharmacist offered AfterBite as an alternative. So good. The itching has been reduced from constant to intermittent :)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy Birthday, Miss Kara Marie!

My niece turns 6 on July 4th. For those who know her personally, I am sure you'll agree she is a fabulous combination of a 'firecracker' and 'drama queen' and gives us plenty of reasons to smile. We had a little birthday party for her last weekend where she serenaded us with an impromptu presentation of the soon-to-be-released single, 'I Love My Presents!' :)'s a SHOUT OUT to the little girl who loves all things pink (or purple). We love you, Kara, and hope you have a FUN birthday!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fun With Friends...

Last weekend, Blake and I travelled with some high school students to spend time with old/new friends in Champaign. We represented a small portion of the group which is planning to work & worship together later this month at an orphanage in Magdalena, MX.

The PRE-union was planned with the purpose of creating and growing friendships. It was deemed a huge success -- everyone had a blast! After an early-AM trip south, the day began in Champaign with a Sunday School lesson about orphans in the Bible such as Esther, Mephibosheth, etc. and was filled with laughter & fun throughout.

Here are just a few pictures from the day including one of the MANY arm-wrestling matches which took place. Boys must be boys, huh? The guys with buckets on their heads are getting ready for a badmitten toss. Many of the games included water balloons and squirt guns and since the day was quite steamy -- a SMALL amount of water was welcomed.

As we prepare for our trip, we are praying for positive relationships to continue to grow and that our time spent together at the orphanage will have an eternal impact; on the children & staff in MX and within our own hearts & lives, too.