Last weekend, our family attended a parenting conference sponsored by our church. We were blessed to be a part of this program - it helped to solidify that we are doing some things right, but also need to continue to work harder in specific areas.

The title of the seminar was "Parenting is Heart Work: Everyday Parents CAN Raise Extraordinary Kids". It was put on by the National Center for Biblical Parenting, and our guest speakers were Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. If I would have written this post the day after attending, I think it would have been twice as long. But, since I have a long list of "to do's" and a short amount of time, I just want to summarize a few key points that have "stuck".

First of all, this seminar dealt primarily with the parts of the conscience. The four parts are:
  • Do what's right
  • Deal with wrongs
  • Be honest
  • Care about others

The entire seminar is based on the principal of making the conscience more sensitive and developed. Sometimes that requires a heart change, and we have to work on developing these heart qualities to have the change be internal, not external. In other words, instead of behavior modification with rules and rewards, we will utilize conscience awareness.

So, sounds great in theory, right? Sure, we want to develop these qualities...who doesn't want a kid who is respectful, kind, considerate, truthful, etc? Well, first and foremost, these concepts are deeply seeded in God's word. God works with a person's conscience in these ways:

  • Convict of sin - John 16:8
  • Provide forgiveness -1 John 1:9
  • Helps fight temptation - 1 Corinthians 10:13
  • Provides power to do right and avoid wrong - Ephesians 6:10-18
  • Guides into truth - John 16:13
  • Confirms honesty - Romans 9:1
  • Reminds of the right thing - John 14:26
  • Lives inside believers- John 14:17
  • Makes God's teachings clear - 1 Corinthians 2:10-14

So, if these are part of God's plan for us, and our children, we are called to help guide their conscience and teach our kids to take initiative to to do the right thing. Some of my children know their conscience and listen to it very well, some have it buried so deep that we are needing to work hard at making him more aware of it each and every day. Do you say, "Good job" or do you say, "You showed great self control in that situation." How about, "It was nice of you to help your sister." vs "I really noticed you showing compassion in that situation." While they may all seem like positive comments, the second examples in each are using "heart" comments - comments that reflect the fruits of the Spirit. By using these as part of your compliments, as well as part of your disciplining techniques, you will continue to keep the conscience awareness in the forefront.

Tomorrow: Tightening your action point and using heart concepts while disciplining....

I wish I could afford to buy all organic foods....but I will feed my family the best I can within our budget.

I wish I could raise a cow on grass in my back yard...but I will keep an eye out for good prices on grass fed beef.

I wish I could bake all day...but I will make smart choices with using whole grains and flavorful ingredients.

I wish I could raise chickens...but I will buy omega 3 eggs as an alternative.

I wish I could eliminate trans fats and high fructose corn syrup from the foods that we love...but I will stop buying products with them in because they are so damaging to our health.

I wish I could memorize all the different ways MSG is disguised in foods...but I will make a copy of my list and keep it in my purse to help me remember and avoid it at all costs.

I wish french fries didn't taste so good...but I will avoid eating them at any time.

I wish our health care system would recognize supplements and antioxidants as a way to prevent disease and thus, reimburse for them...but I will take them anyway and pay for them out of my own pocket.

I wish that mass farming and production would not be lowering the nutritional value of our soils by overplanting, not rotating crops, and overusing pesticides...but I will take care to improve my garden by not doing the same.

I wish that I could say all these things and not be considered a freak or a fanatic...but I will continue to value my body (and my family's) as God's temple, and do everything I can to preserve and honor it.
I love aprons, yet I don't own one - I've asked for one for Mother's Day (as well as some other wonderful things...)so we'll see what happens. I constantly have a towel hanging over my shoulder to wipe my hands on, but I love aprons and feel the need to own at least one! :)

I came across this giveaway via Evening Shade Morning Latte. If you'd like to check it out, head over to the Apron Goddesses blog site and look around!

And thanks to Evening Shade Morning Latte for bringing this to our attention!

Visit Sandra for other Homemaker blogs
On my bedside table:
The Love Dare
Lies Women Believe

On my TV:
We're behind on about the only two shows we watch...
Dancing with the Stars
We'll try to watch them this week as they are on the DVR

On the menu for tonight:
(Still in the planning stages...)
Monday: Shrimp and pasta
Wednesday: Chicken tortilla soup
Thursday: Tator tot hotdish

On my To Do List:
Football sign up
VBS promotion timeline
May lesson plans
Garden prep (soil prep, purchase seeds)

New Recipe I tried last week:
Chicken Risotto (my first time - and it worked!)

In the craft basket:
Does anything and everything gardening count? That will be my focus for the next 3-4 weeks!

Looking forward to:
A fun, upcoming weekend (already looking forward to it, and it's only Monday)

Homemaking Tip for this week:
Taken from my friend, Dana: Have a dustcloth in your schoolroom. While you are giving spelling tests each week, dust off the computer and all surfaces.

Favorite Blog Post of the week (mine or other):Unfortunately, I buzzed through each and every one of them so fast, that I didn't stop to pick a favorite. I will do better this week, though!

Favorite photo from last week:In my mind, this reflects the true nature of South Dakota

Lesson learned the past few days:
Work with your children on increasing their awareness of their conscience. When disciplining or making rules, make sure to bring it back to the "heart" issue so the rules you have in your own come with a source. That way, when they leave the home and abide by their own rules, they will understand the deeper reasoning behind the ones they leave behind, and more likely cling to the ones with meaning. (More on this concept in my blog later this week)

On my Prayer List:
My pastor and family
Health mercies on church members and family
Our faithful military
My family

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
The Spirit says: Forgive.
The flesh says: Hold a grudge.

The Spirit says: Be temperate.
The flesh says: Eat whatever you want, whenever you feel like it.

The Spirit says: Give that money to someone in need.
The flesh says: Spend that money on yourself.

The Spirit says: Spend some time in the Word and prayer.
The flesh says: You've had a long day; chill out in from of the TV for the evening.

The Spirit says: Hold your tongue, What you are about to say is not kind or necessary.
The flesh says: Tell it like it is!
(From Lies Women Believe)

"You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness...through Christ Jesus the Law of the Spirit of Life set me free from the law of sin and death." Romans 6:18, 8:2
So much to say, and so little time to say it. I haven't even been able to blog about the nutrition seminar from last weekend, the xPo from this week, and now need to add a wonderful parenting seminar to my list of things to share. The days are full and flying by, but mark my words, one of these days, I am going to be able to sit down and type - a lot. But, since tonight is not that night, I leave you with this thought...

Parenting is hard, consistent work...kind of like your marriage. Yes, hard work for both. BUT, what a reward is gained from putting in the time and effort. I LOVE to be with my hubby, and I LOVE to be with my kids. I am blessed to be able to say both.

Until next time -(which hopefully will be coming very, very soon....)

Blessings to you all!
Brad had a continuing education class last Friday and Saturday so we ventured out with him and spent some rainy days at a new destination. We packed up the school supplies, and took it on the road. Here's where we went:

The town of Scenic - check out the two inhabitants:

Can you guess?

Well, we didn't venture far, but far enough to have a change of scenery. We love the Black Hills so ventured out there again for a few extra days on top of the continuing ed. We were able to do a lot of things, but skipped Mt. Rushmore this time in order to go to the Crazy Horse Memorial - we had just discussed the Battle of Little Big Horn, so this was a fitting field trip.

How about this one? Can you name the movie?

Yep, National Treasure 2!

We packed plenty in despite two full days of rain and cool temps. Brad had two days of education in nutrition, so I'm sure I'll share some of that information in the days to come.

The hour is late, though, and I still haven't had a chance to catch up with all of you. I hope to spend some time doing that tomorrow so I can feel caught up with my blogging family.

Until then, may God bless your day!
I'm back! We had a wonderful time and now I'm getting back to business. It's sure hard to come back from a vacation and face the laundry and all the unpacking. But, there's no place like home, that's for sure.

I have a very busy day ahead of me, along with a crazy rest of the week. I have to do an online presentation in just a little while, but then hope to get back to post some pictures and information about where we were and what we did. Then, I want to come and visit all of you and get caught up!

See ya soon!
We're going to head out for a few days and enjoy some time as a family. Brad has continuing education Friday and Saturday, so we decided to make it an extra long weekend in order to spend some time with him after he completes his coursework. I'll have pictures of our destination when we return!

I MUST get going on my packing - I've been sidetracked this morning trying to transfer data/pictures from old to new using my external modem. Unfortunately, it's giving me lots of fits. I keep giving myself 10 more minutes to make it work, and now I've wasted a good amount of time. So, this is the last 10 minutes and then I'm going to have to wait until I return to get it figured out. You know how I hate to leave something undone. :(

Anyway, hope you all have a good weekend. I'm sure I'll have pictures and stories to share upon my return.

UPDATE: Of course, I couldn't step away and leave it hanging over my head all weekend. I got it - pictures transferred! But, now I'm REALLY behind the eight ball! :)

Until next time...

My friend, Joyce, at Mom's Musings has been so kind as to bestow a sisterhood award to my humble little blogsite. When I started this blog, I wanted it to be a way to keep track of things in life, jot down some memories, and provide a creative outlet for me as well. I have found it to be so much more than that, because I have met some amazing, special women over the internet and learned so much in a short amount of time. I feel drawn to those who appear to have the same beliefs that I do, and strive to better themselves through the grace and love of Jesus Christ. Goodness knows, we can't do it on our own!

So, I, too, want to pass on the award to some of you who I feel a certain kinship with - a sisterhood, so to speak (how appropriate!) I read a fair amount of blogs, but these are some that have become near and dear to me over the past months. I am sure if I would do this list again in a few months, I will have many more friends to choose from as I am finding more and more women who love the Lord! Anyway, to all of you, thanks for sharing a bit of your life with me, and drawing me in to your world!

The rules:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate up to 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude!
3. Be sure to link your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Remember to link the person from whom you received your award.

So here are my self-proclaimed cyber sisters:

1. Bonnie at Simple Beauty - she has a great flair for keeping life uncomplicated and real. I enjoy her reflections and insight, and find it amazing that she is on the other side of the world from me!
2. Tiffany at Hillside Hollow is a mom like me, homeschooling, and trying to better her world. She loves her kids, and inspires me to keep on track.
3. Angie at Simple Thyme Primitives is so creative and it is fun to see all that she does and the process she follows. She has a great, upbeat attitude and I always look forward to her positive attitude.
4. Grasp the Love is Missy's blog - I know Missy through church, and her blog is very straight forward, sharing her highs and lows as a Christian woman. She has a great story to share and works hard to live her life for Jesus.
5. I haven't been following Karen for very long, but I do gravitate back to her blog now that I have found it. We share a love of books, and I have really enjoyed getting to know her better through her entries. I can see her being my friend and sharing ideas "over the backyard fence".
6. My next friend, Amy, is perpetual joy on two legs. This girl is on fire for the Lord and you will see that as you read her posts. But, what I like about Amy is that she is real, and shares her joys and her struggles. She always puts a smile on my face and challenges me to see life as a cup half full, rather than half empty.
7. A recent find is Barbara at Beyond Still Waters. When Barbara posts, I get myself a cup of coffee, and make sure I have some quiet time planned, because I am guaranteed to get a devotional thought upon which to ponder and reflect. I don't want to rush through her entries, because they are profound and filled with God's Word. They are a light in a dark world. Thank you, Barbara.
8. Ahhh, Chris...I love reading her blog for so many reasons. We met up when we were both working on The Love Dare at the same time (and I think we still are!) She always posts fun ideas, and shares her Christian walk at the same time. Plus, you can really relate to her blog title...Wash, Fold, Put Away...And Repeat...
9. My ninth nominee is Jen at A Good Cup of Coffee. Doesn't that say it all? Coffee at the Cabin meets A Good Cup of Coffee - a match made in heaven, right? Personally, I'm amazed at how much this woman can fit into her week! But, she loves the Lord and I enjoy having "coffee" with her whenever possible.
10. Last, but not least, is Sandra, who I read faithfully as well. She has so many great ideas, links to fabulous finds, and is a real mom who faces unique challenges every day, being the wife of a military husband. If you haven't checked out her blog, do yourself a favor and see what I mean.

Thank you, all my blogger friends, for making my day just a little better. I am excited to share the sisterhood of Christ with all of you!
(Hosted by Sandra, so click HERE to link to her blog!)

On my bedside table:
The Love Dare
Lies Women Believe - bible study
The Holy Bible
My prayer journal
Seed catalog
Lotion, pony tail holders, and misc. stuff

On my TV:
This week, we will again be DVR-ing:
Dancing with the Stars

On the menu for tonight:
Chicken Scallopine/Spinach

On my To Do List (for this week):
Lesson plans for the rest of the school year (why does this seem to be a reoccuring theme???)
Send out statements for work
Get taxes picked up
Clean house before we leave for a long weekend

New Recipe(s) I tried last week:
Phyllo Rolled Asparagus
Bailey's Cake (Adapted from Jen's Kahlua cake recipe)

In the craft basket:
Still need to cut off some pj pants and sew my swimsuit cover up

Looking forward to:
Heading out of town this weekend for a change of scenery while my dh has continuing ed. We plan to still do some school, but in a different site which always seems to help the productivity. We will also just relax and enjoy the great outdoors if the weather cooperates.

Homemaking Tip for this week:
If you have a spice drawer like mine, you can only see the lids of the spices. Write the names on the top of each one to save picking each one up to figure out what it is.

Favorite Blog Post of the week (mine or other):
I always hate to choose because I love reading all my posts of my blogger friends. But, I think this week, I would have to pick two, but doggone it Missy, I can't find your post for, if I find it, I'll have to post that another time.

But, I can post my other favorite for the week, from Bonnie at Simple Beauty. It is a repost, but I missed the first time she put this up, and I was inspired by her pictures and views of God's amazing creation. Check it out!

A favorite picture from last week...
Unfortunately, I haven't transferred my photos yet or loaded my new software, so this week I'll have to sit this one out. :(

Lesson learned the past few days:
You are never too old to experience the thrill of Easter morning, and sharing in the joy with others. It is so special and such a freedom to be able to freely shout, "HE IS RISEN!"

On my Prayer List:
My husband and children
Our military
Loved ones with special concerns
Married couples that they will join hearts and put the other person first
Friends who have just lost loved ones
Friend whose mother was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
Two things stood out for me this week:
1. The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said." Matthew 28:5-6
2. Before the fall of man, a snake was regarded as a beautiful creature. It was not one to be feared, or to shy away from, or to cause one to shudder. All was perfect in the Garden of Eden, including every creature that God created. Now, we have a negative connotation of the snake, due to the form the devil once took. In the same way, deception can come in many forms, and often times we do not see it looming until it has reared its ugly head. Be on guard for those subtle lies that too quickly can become engrained in your life.

Have a blessed Monday!
Just wanted to take a quick moment and wish all my friends a very blessed Easter. My plan for tomorrow is to celebrate the joy of my Lord's Resurrection throughout the entire day. Tomorrow will be filled with the amazing truth of His Word, the excitement of singing "Hallelujah" over and over, and the awe of God's love for each and every one of us. We will be spending the day together as a family, along with some extended family, so I am not sure I will be hopping on the computer at all tomorrow. (No Easter bunny pun intended...)

Until next time, may God bless each and every one of you. I pray each of you will take the time to reflect on this special gift, which is far beyond human understanding. Praise the Lord for his wonderful gift of salvation. Praise the Lord!

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said." Matthew 28:5-6

Happy Easter!
I am excited to head to church tonight...I like the somberness of the Good Friday church service. I love the fact that the focus tonight is on the death of Christ and the importance of this HUGE sacrifice. That may sound crass and dark, but, by focusing on the agony, the pain, and the torture that my Lord Jesus Christ endured, I am much more able to see the contrast on Easter morning. I am able to partially feel and suffer along with Christ as he took my sins upon his shoulders and, with all finality, cast them into the depths of the ocean, never to be seen again.

Today, I dwell on the depth of this sacrifice, the pain, the agony, the doom, and the despair. Today, I thank and praise my Lord for bearing my sins and the sins of all mankind. Today, I reflect on the awesomeness of this pain. Today, I ponder how horrible it would be to lose a child. Today, I inwardly reflect on the blackness of my soul.

Today, I want to feel the burden, for soon it will be removed, never to return.

Today, I ponder his great suffering.

Thank you, Lord Jesus.
As usual, today was a busy day. I managed to find a bit of time to continue the process of re-establishing all the programs on my computer. I was able to successfully load back on my Microsoft Office components, restart my Outlook program for email, and load on our office software to be able to again work from home. Next, I will start transferring files and pictures...I'm excited about once again being able to view and share pictures!

This day was also full with the responsibilities of teaching my kiddos, a VBS meeting, and a "coffee chat" with some fellow homeschoolers. During this chat, I was convicted of something that has been bothering me as of late. My oldest child, age 11, seems to be at the age when anything and everything can innocently become a volatile situation. What may start out as a basic request or question can, amazingly, all of a sudden become a source of contention and frustration. JD seems to be, at time, fighting and struggling with all types of emotions and I truly thing he just doesn't quite know what to do with all he is feeling. There are great days when everything just runs so smoothly, and then we have days where we start out on the wrong foot and it all goes downhill from there.

Today, I thought it would be fun for JD to share the adventure of math with his brother JT. Through an activity called "Marshmallow math", both of them were to work together to solve a number of area and volume problems based on different geometric shapes and a marshmallow ruler. I thought this would be quite fun for them both, and certainly an opportunity to work together and share the camradarie.

Of course, I was wrong. Problem one was that I waited untl about 4pm in the afternoon to do this activity. Nothing good school-wise happens after 3:30pm in this house, at least for the oldest. His brain is done, turned off, and onto other much more *important* things by that time. When he saw that the activity was four pages long, he hit the ceiling and went into full fledged melt down. Bottom line, the work ethic was not to my standard, and I needed to remove him from the situation to calm down and regroup. JT was instructed to complete the activity independently and JD would return to work on it when he was in a better mindset and had his emotions under control. Needless to say, the outburst just came out of nowhere which I think is typical of this age group.

Through all this, I have realized that I am doing him no favors by assisting him with certain school activities when he is perfectly capable of doing it on his own. While he may try and fail, he at least is in a safe situation, and we can use it as a learning activity for working harder and more thoroughly in the future. I have done this particularly with history, where I have been reading the text to him to make sure he is spending enough time and effort on the content rather than allowing him to do it independently, as he was not grasping the information he needed to. He is a smart kiddo, but fails to take the time to prepare and "inwardly digest" the material due to his tendency to just "get it done". He may just have to learn that he will end up redoing a unit and lose that much time if he fails to do the work to the standards that have been set. He is at that age where he claims to just be making silly mistakes, or "I didn't read that" or "I didn't understand.." It's time, I believe, to call a spade a spade, and work on these study skills that will only help him in the long run. The challenge will now be to balance his difficulties in writing and spelling with his lack of concern for being thorough and complete. Now is as good of time as ever to establish the boundaries, expectations, and consequences, so we can finish the school year strong. It's going to be a tough road, but I am sure it will be worth it.

Anyway, I am excited to have just one day of school left this week, and then a wonderful Easter weekend ahead of us. I am hoping to now go check out some of the blogs that I have been unable to stop by as this whole transition has been taking place. By the way, my aunt's procedure all turned out well, in fact, there were no heart issues after all the tests and procedures were completed. A false positive echo, a negative angiogram, and a number of symptoms culminated into a variety of preconceived notions in regards to a diagnosis that ended up being unfounded. She is heart healthy and now will pursue different options in order to determine the cause of her issues. But, we are thankful it appears there is nothing life threatening.

Off to organize the Resurrection eggs for tomorrow's activities...if you want some great ideas and the details of these eggs, head over to my friend Chris's blog to get the details!

Until next time...
Okay, for those of you who read my blog on a consistent basis, you know I could never sit and stare at a computer and not do something about it. I am pleased to say that I now have my computer up, running, and internet accessible. Life is SO good. I'm almost too excited to go to bed, and it's 1:00am. I want to play and get everything to work to my OCD specifications.

But, alas. Other commitments will be calling me early, early tomorrow morning. So, until then, I'm signing off. Sweet dreams...
To sit and look at a new computer and not be able to even get it plugged in? Well, sitting and looking at it is an exaggeration. I haven't sat until now, and that's to type on my old computer, while I drool at the new one, halfway unboxed, with the monitor sitting silently and lonely on my desk, longlingly desiring to be connected to its counterpart, and ultimately, to be turned on. :)

Remember how I had set the rule that unless I had my desk cleaned off and everything neatly filed in its place, I would not be able to set up my computer? Well, I did what I had to do. Met my goal and deadline. Computer was set to be delivered yesterday, confirmed through the Fed Ex tracking system, and I waited with bated breath until finally, at midnight last night, I realized that there would be no package for me.

Meanwhile, while I sat and questioned why, oh why my computer had not arrived, I received a phone call that my aunt would be coming by ambulance to my city today to have an angiogram and a shunt placed to appease some unstable angina. My cousin called to see if I would be able to watch her three children (5 months, 2, and 5) while she was at the hospital, and I figured I could do so - what's six children when you already have three? (Well, double, and I soon found that out!) Anyway, long story short, we booked through some school lessons this morning, cleaned quick to ensure an immaculate (HA!) place for everyone to lay their head tonight, and then opened the doors for the little ones. Needless to say, all hands were busy, and my children were wonderful in their endeavors to entertain the extra bodies who wanted some TLC and attention. Somehow, I managed to make supper with one hand as I was always holding a very happy infant, but when the doorbell rang at 5:30, I knew the uniformed man on the other side of the glass was bringing presents. I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve who has 12 hours until presents can be opened, except my hours will probably transpire to an entire day.

So, rather than rushing through the process at this time of the night as all the bodies (with the exception of my three) are snugly tucked in their sleeping bags and pack-n-plays, I instead choose to experience delayed gratification and sit and stare and ponder what joy will befall me tomorrow evening when I sit alone, with my keyboard, and all will be right with the world again.

Yes, I do need to get a life.

By this time of night tomorrow, I hope to have it.

(And, please understand, there IS much more to my life than pining away for my computer...and chances are, I'll continue to tell you about it, whether you like it or not. ;))

Until then...

On my bedside table:
The Love Dare (yes, still)
Waiting for Summer's Return by Kim Vogel Sawyer

On my TV:
Tonight, I'm sure my dh will watch the NCAA final
For the week, we will have Dancing With the Stars and Survivor on the DVR

On the menu for tonight:
Chicken tortellini soup, homemade bread

On my To Do List:
Menu planning for the week
Grocery list
Fold two loads of laundry and start a third
Upstairs landing area cleaned

New Recipe I tried last week:
Egg and Cheese Strudel

In the craft basket:
Digging out past Easter crafts and projects to add to the week

Looking forward to:
Starting a new bible study tomorrow: Lies Women Believe
Holy Week - love this week!
Getting my new computer - I am hoping it arrives today!

Homemaking Tip for this week:
Mix lemon juice with a bit of water in a bowl; microwave for a few minutes to loosen any items in your microwave. Wipe microwave clean with a cloth.

Favorite Blog Post of the week (mine or other):
My favorite blog post this past week was one in which I reflected upon the impact my dad had in my life. I don't usually like to refer to my posts as my favorite, but this one is near and dear to my heart.

Favorite photo from last week:I am fascinated by God's intricate design of this jellyfish...

Lesson learned the past few days:
1. When you are sick, run down, or just a little "off", perspective is harder to gain. Seek out the Lord and call upon him to grant you patience and insight as it is very easy to blow things out of proportion when you are feeling more vulnerable.
2. Take the time to rest and reflect in the Lord. Quiet times with God are not just going to happen- Satan will make sure of that. You need to be purposeful in finding time to spend with Him.

On my Prayer List:
My family
Our country and leaders
My pastor, to have stamina this week as he prepares many Gospel messages

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
"I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

Blessings to all of you this Easter week!
We've had all three in the past 24 hours. The Lord blanketed the area with a beautiful cover of white over the past day. If a snowstorm like this hits in December, we stay home. When it hits in April, we shrug it off, and figure we'll go anywhere we need to. Half of the 6 to 8 inches we received is already melted, and the other half is well on its way to disappearing. The sun is out, and with all its power and glory, it is blindingly bright against the fresh white canvas.

I am the only one inside at the moment, and enjoying some silence and solitude. Brad has ventured out to visit with his brother for a bit, and the kiddos are outside for one last adventure in the snow. I have a bit of a cold, nothing serious, but enough to make me want to curl up on the couch and take a good nap. The temptation is strong, but I am going to resist in order to finish working on the office and hopefully check this room off my list for good. With any bit of luck, my computer is scheduled to arrive tomorrow, and I promised myself I wouldn't open it if the office and school room wasn't organized and clean. so, that's pretty good motivation for me as I am tired of sharing! :)

Like I said, I am enjoying the quiet, and have no music or anything playing in the background. I find, as I am getting older, that these types of quiet moments are few and far between, but I love to not fill them with any "noise". I pray I can become better about sitting still during these moments of solitude in order to hear God's voice. I am often too busy moving from one thing to the next that I don't take the time to reflect and "Be still and know that He is God." Our pastor noted today that often times we pray for guidance but never stop long enough to actually listen to what God has to say. We are so busy moving on and taking care of problems on our own that we don't necessarily follow God's direction. I was quite convicted of this as times of peace and rest are few and far between, often from my own doing. My prayer is that I can look and listen for God's direction, before I act and speak of my own accord.

Off to spend some quiet time with him BEFORE I resume the organization 101. Have a great day in Him!
April 2nd is a special day for me. It is a day that is permanently ingrained in my memory bank. This day resounds with triumph and victory and great rejoicing. April 2nd, 1980, is the day my father died. Yes, you heard me right. It is a day filled with joy and excitement. You see, my father was a Christian. In fact, he had dedicated his life to ministry and he was a pastor until his dying breath. So, April 2nd was the best day of his life, because he finally attained his earthly goal - meeting his Lord Jesus Christ. What a celebration there had to be in heaven that day!

I was twelve years old when my father died. I have never had a great memory of things in the past, but I do have a few "snapshots" of moments that I always can picture in my mind.

The day my parents told me dad had a brain tumor.
The day we learned that it had returned three years later.
Sitting at lunch with Aunt Ruth's black mascara streaming down her cheeks as the prognosis became apparant.
Being woke up in the middle of the night to head to Grandma's house so dad could go to Mayo Clinic.
Being home alone with dad when he started to choke.
Snuggling with him in his chair when he was home.

But, these are the ones that really made an impact:

Dad had gone blind, but if you placed an open bible in his hands, he would "read" it by reciting verses from memory - long, lengthy passages. He knew and had memorized his bible! He truly thought he was reading, and found great comfort and joy in doing so. Within those words were the truths of hope and everlasting life. All he needed was within his grasp.

Dad had lost all ability to speak toward the end of his illness. One night, we gathered around him to pray together before bed as we usually did. (He was able to be cared for at home). That night, miraculously, he said the Lord's Prayer with us and raised his hands and gave the blessing. What a gift that was for that was the night he died. We had been blessed with one last memory, and what a powerful one it was.

Our God is a good and gracious God. You see, dad was once asked, if he could pick and choose when he was going to die, what would he pick? He always said that he would like to die during Holy Week, so he could celebrate Easter in heaven.

My dad died the Tuesday of Holy Week, and his Celebration of Life was the day before Easter. What a celebration of Easter he had that year! God is amazing, and rewards those faithful to him. He gives us the desires of our heart, and draws us to him. I just can't imagine the joy on my dad's face to greet Jesus for the first time, be healed of all his pain, and know that we would all be reunited again, as fellow believers in Christ.

So, this is a special day for me as well. This day causes me to reflect on my memories of my father, but, more importantly, it challenges me to have a faith that is firmly rooted in God's word, in God's promises, and in God's faithfulness. My father was a witness to me, even in his death. However, this day would have an entirely different feel, and be one of intense despair and sadness, if we had not all been granted the GIFT of eternal life with Christ Jesus, due to his death and resurrection. The lifelong plan of salvation has been fulfilled through Jesus. As the song In Christ Alone reflects:

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

Will you join me today in rejoicing in this great and awesome gift that we have received? If you have not embraced this free gift of salvation, do it now. Ask Jesus to forgive you of all your sins, and come into your heart. Now is the time - This Easter season, grasp the joy and peace you can only find in Him.

Thank you Lord Jesus.
Thankfully, they finally lost the fever about mid afternoon. However, they had one last hurrah when I went up to get the long anticipated shower - I was going to use the "facilities" but found mine tp'd to the hilt, complete with tape and construction paper. To their credit, they sufficiently achieved top scores due to leaving an end in the water, thus showing the absorbency as the moisture crept up and spread throughout much of the paper. Ick! Gross!

But, I have to chalk it up as a memorable day.

Now, off to tuck them into their short sheeted beds. I just pray they notice.
This is the day that you just don't want to be a mom left at home with her children.

It is a day filled with apprehension, fear, dread, and trepidation.

At least in this house.

Three children, three imaginations, and the so-called permission to commit any type of prank they can think of in the name of April Fool's Day.

So far, I have had vinegar in my coffee and a (fake) scorpion in the bottom of my coffee cup. Both were done quietly and with great stealth, and I have to say that I didn't expect either of these tricks.

Now, all these children of mine are milling about, waiting for me to leave the comfort of my chair to go make lunch. Hmmm. They have never been so hungry all at one time. The pressure is amazing. I can't imagine what may befall me as I exit this room.

So far, all I can think to do to them is short sheet their bed. Heck, they're small enough they probably wouldn't even notice.

Little punks. Gotta love them...:)