I'm staring at the computer and find I have sat here for a total of a few hours already this morning. After I took my dh to work, dropped off a car at the shop, stopped at Walmart for a beta fish they didn't have, promptly forgot the saline solution I meant to buy when I was there, I've perused multiple sites on the computer, searched for a kayak, checked into airline prices to San Diego, entered VBS registrations, monitored facebook, google reader, and three email accounts, set up payment with a past due patient account so they could avoid collections, walked up to the garden and picked some cucumbers, picked one almost red tomato (yea!), walked by the mess in my kitchen and living room, stared at the cupboards wondering what to fix for lunch, washed a zucchini to later make into bread, got out the playdough, and now I am back at the computer, feeling compelled to write something on my blog.

And, technically, I guess I did - write something that is.

Note how, really, nothing of any value is listed in that first paragraph. Where's the spiel on my relationship with the Lord and how I was building that up today? Where is the part about what I learned in my daily bible reading? Where is my challenge to others to dig deeper, search more, learn more, and do something of heavenly value vs earthly? To me, it's obviously missing.

I've come to the realization that I am a hopelessly selfish person. I've realized it over and over, but I hate when it comes crashing down on me yet again. The thing is, by the power of ME, I can not change it. I try, thinking I've got the world all under control, all the ins and outs of managing my life, but truly, I can't do one bit of difference in my life if I don't keep vested in the power of the Spirit. I am living proof of that fact. Today, I feel like I have a stinky slime of selfishness poured all over me - I lash out at my dh when he is not meeting my needs. I get short with my children when they don't do what I want them to do. I don't think of the feelings of others because it may mean I have to sacrifice something in the process. I hate the feeling, but sometimes I just wallow in it, digging deeper and getting more immersed in my "poor me" attitude.

It's directly related to my walk - if I neglect the Word, my time with the Lord, I easily slip further and further into myself and what "I" need. I become more important than others. All my good intentions go by the wayside and I can justify my behavior as being triggered by someone else. But, you know what? It's me. It's me. It's me. I'm the one at fault and the one who needs a heart change. A change from within, so that the outer view is a reflection of my clean and changed heart.

I need to get back in shape - spiritual shape. Summer is a time filled with SO many things - all can be good, but they also can be a distraction from the one and only thing that matters. My personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Thank the Lord for grace and mercy, which is new every morning.

I still have a list a mile long, but all this is for naught if I am not doing it with a joyful, thankful heart. May God continually do a good work in my heart - and yours.

Blessings to each of you today!
Beginning last Thursday, we started a streak of daily fun. Well, every day is fun, but this was a different type of fun - it was planned, detailed, executed in a non-spontaneous way, fun. :) JT's birthday started the daily onslaught of excitement, and each day brought new adventure.

We started with this, on a beautiful day, one of the few warm enough to actually get in the water. (Words I never thought I would speak in the middle of summer in South Dakota!)

The next morning, we got up early to travel a couple of hours to meet Grandma, Aunt Rebecca, and some cousins - Micah, Martha, Emma, Cade, and Max. We did some of this:

Now, Saturday, I had to get a bunch of these picked: But, when I finished, we didn't do anything with them but stick them in the fridge, because we had to get ready for hosting this down at our neighborhood cabana:

Sunday dawned bright and beautiful, and, once again, we were off! This time it was to participate in this:

So amazing - God has given these pilots such talent and I am so proud to be an American!

Needless to say, after doing all of those fun excursions, reality had to hit, and it did - the garden doesn't stop growing, so besides the beans that had to be done from last Saturday, we got these too: That meant the kids had to do more of this:
Which, ultimately, turns into this:

But, in the end, we truly had fun doing all of that!
I had good intentions of doing Happy Homemaker Monday today, but have found myself feeling the urge to instead spend time in prayer. It's amazing how you can be so pulled in to a story and another family's trials through the blogging world. I have been following Stellan for quite awhile now, and, unfortunately, he's crashing fast. They've called in family and are searching for options. Please join me today in praying over Stellan and his family. The time is now!

Praying today...
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It's a special day for my second oldest...he turns nine today! We are going to celebrate with him today and then drive to meet his cousins tomorrow for an extended birthday party lunch.

JT, you are kind, considerate and wise beyond your years. You care deeply for others and always put others first. Jesus is first and foremost in your heart, and it is reflected in you on a daily basis. You are the first to forgive those who have hurt you, quick to help, and respectful. Dad and I thank the Lord for you each and every day, and we know he has great plans for you. Always keep looking to him for your guidance and comfort.

We love you tremendously, and hope you have a wonderful year!

Thanks to Sandra for hosting!

The weather in my neck of the woods:
Cloudy, cool, with a lot of dampness in the air. It has been one of the most beautiful weeks of summer so far, but I will be happy to see a bit of rain

One of my simple pleasures:
Reading all the blog posts from my friends

On my bedside table:

On my TV:

On the menu for tonight:
Fresh veggies - beans, summer squash, beets, pea pods - probably a stir fry of sorts

On my To Do List:
Oh, the list is long and the time short:
VBS registration
VBS adult seminar promotion
JT's birthday this week - planning and executing!
Fertilizing the garden
Picking, weeding...

New Recipe I tried last week:
I made oodles of cookies as it was cooler and wanted to get some in the freezer for the hot days of summer - I tried a new peanut butter cookie recipe, but I thought they were kind of dry

In the craft basket:
Any and all things garden

Looking forward to:
VBS being over

Homemaking Tip for this week:
Keep vegetables longer by not washing until you need them

Favorite Blog Post of the week (mine or other):
Didn't have much chance to read any this week

Favorite photo from last week:My professional "bean stemmers"

Lesson learned the past few days:
There is never enough time in the day... :)
And, a good night's sleep always helps for a new perspective

On my Prayer List:
My husband and family
My pastor and family
Our military

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
Psalm 19 - God's beauty is evident in everything - we just need to take the time to look around and notice it!

Have a great day - hope to find more time to blog soon!
My brother and family just left after spending three days with us on their way home from the Black Hills. We played some games, hung out, and the boys were able to get out and golf once as well. He helped me pick beans (yea!) and we just enjoyed the fellowship. The kids had a wonderful time with their cousins, and my daughter was near tears this morning as she realized her one year younger play mate would be leaving after being virtually inseparable for the past few days.

Now, it's back to to be done, phone calls to make, garden to be picked -all the things that quickly go by the wayside when more fun activities are at hand. It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood as well, so I hope to spend a bit of time with my bible on the front porch.

Praising God on this glorious day!

Upper garden done for the day - now on to the lower one. Then canning, and freezing, and pickling. :)

Aren't the purple beans beautiful? I guess they turn green when cooked.

Well, now we're all caught up. This is what I have been doing, am doing, and will be doing for the rest of the summer. God is good and is blessing our garden tremendously!

But, don't worry - I love it all. Plus, I'm married to a good chiropractor!

Well, as usual, I should be doing numerous other things rather than spending time on the computer, but I wanted to share a few pictures and highlights of our wonderful week of family bonding time. A little history - when I was young, my family would head up north to Cohasset, MN. Cohasset is a little town outside of Grand Rapids, MN, and home to Sunset Point Resort on Bass Lake. Every summer, my dad would take a week off from pastoring our church, and we would rent a rustic cabin to get away from it all. We would pray the one phone at the resort would not ring, calling with some emergency to send us all back home. While that did happen a few times, I relished the time that my dad could get away and we could all enjoy a family vacation.

My dad passed away when I was twelve, so some years were spent regrouping - moving, my mom starting a new job, switching schools, etc. But, sporadically through the years, my family would continue to head up to the resort. I seemed to never be able to go due to work obligations or something. But, three years ago, we surprised my mom by all meeting up there for her 60th birthday. We've decided to go back now, year after year, to continue to the tradition. It is such a great opportunity to bring all of our families together - we hang out, drink A LOT of coffee, read books, play games, swim, you name it. We mostly enjoy just being together and bonding.

This year was unique because it was COLD! These are rustic cabins - no tv, no internet access, just the bare essentials which call you to simpler times. Our nights got down to the high 40's, and the first half of the week had highs in the mid 50's. Who would have thought that we would need to have the heat on in the cabins for the first few nights at the beginning of July??? But, we all made the best of it - it didn't rain, so the kids were still out from morning 'til night. They played army, tetherball, tag, capture the flag, eenie einey over, kick the can, built sand castles, baseball, played on swings, read, talked, ate, played inside games, tried to go swimming, froze, and started all over again the next day. They relished the time together and milked it for all it was worth. As adults, we drank coffee, ate, sat, read, played pinnochle, bananagrams, Wizard, 5 crowns, Blokus, talked, ate some more, laughed, and snuggled under blankets. On Thursday and Friday the kids were finally able to get into the COLD water, but enjoyed it despite their blue lips. Being together was all that mattered.

It's only Tuesday, but it feels like we were gone eons ago. Thank goodness for pictures which keep the memories alive - here are a few of my favorites...

Sunday morning church around the campfire - or, actually, a pile of sticks...

Army time...

Girl time...

Wildlife time...

Water and beach time...

And, finally, what would Sunset Point Resort be without sunset pictures?

I am so blessed - to be able to take a vacation, to be with a family who loves the Lord, to be immersed in God's creation each and every day, to experience the beauty of a soaring bald eagle along with the melancholy song of the common loon, and to be surrounded by the love of family. Praise the Lord for all that he has done for me- now, and forevermore!