Monday, July 20, 2009

Vacations

Since writing about my never ending quest to organize my house isn't very interesting, I thought I would try Friend Makin' Monday.

Today task ~ VACATIONS!!

This task has two parts {numbered ever-so-nicely for you}. You can do either one or both ~ it's up to you!

1. Tell us about the best {or worst} vacation that you've ever taken.

2. Tell us FIVE places/vacations that you would like to take at some point your life. It doesn't have to be next year...maybe it's the vacation of a lifetime or somewhere you just dream of going years from now.

1. Well, I don't know if I've ever had a really bad vacation. My mom might say it was when we went camping in Arizona and it was freezing. But I had fun snuggled up to the cookstove, drinking hot chocolate. Good memories. Perhaps I could mention an incident at Natural Bridge, Virginia when I was 16. It was just a small portion of our family vacation. One more stop when I was ready to just go home. I found the place boring. So I took off my sandals and walked along the two foot wall that bordered a creek. In one spot there was a bush. I looked down so that I wouldn't trip and there, just an inch away from my big toe, was a snake. I screamed. Everyone heard. I screamed so loudly that I scared the snake. It swam quickly away in the creek. I heard one man say, "That's a Cotton Mouth!" That is definitely the worst thing that ever happened to me on vacation.

2. Five places that I would like to go on vacation would include (and not necessarily in this order):

  • Hawaii
  • Mexico
  • San Diego
  • Venice
  • Romania
For more Friend Makin' Monday, visit Jolanthe at No Ordinary Moments

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Healing Broken Hearts

I wrote this just over two years ago, days after we returned from Romania.


The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Psalm 34:18

I was nearly 16 when we left my favorite place in the world, San Diego, California, to move to the Podunk town of Hixson, Tennessee. Someone certainly thought of an appropriate name for that place, I thought way back then. The high school years are a horrible time for such drastic changes in a teenager’s life. I had good friends and a good school. I liked my life as it was and I did not want it to change. I certainly did not want to move to a place where everyone spoke with a weird accent and talked about buggies in the grocery store and stove eyes in the kitchen. What were my parents thinking? What was God thinking? But we did move. My parents took me, practically kicking and screaming, across the continent and away from everything that was familiar. Eventually, it became home. I grew accustomed to the accent and even adopted it myself. I learned exactly how to say “ice” and that all carbonated drinks were called “coke”. The kids at school were normal kids, most of them. I really expected red hair and bare feet. I made friends and fell in love with the south. Years later, I realized that leaving California was the best thing for me. God had a plan for my life. He knew the best path.

Fast forward nearly three decades and I find my son in the same situation. We left Romania just days before his 16th birthday. The culture here in the States is practically foreign to him. He has left his best friend and a life he loved in a country he will probably never live in again. He is broken hearted and must be wondering what God is thinking.

Over the years, I have seen first hand how God has worked in my life. He has led me through difficult times, challenges, failures and tragedies. Time after time He has healed my broken heart and I have become stronger because of the trials. Now my children are growing up. I know that in this life, they will face their own struggles. The sorrow of life cannot always be healed with a mother’s kiss and a band-aid. Children grow up and they must learn to rely on the One who directs their steps, the One who loves them so much more than their mother. It is breaking my heart to see his heart broken. I kneel down and ask God to hold him close, so close that he can feel God’s presence and know that God does indeed have a reason for that path He has asked us to walk. I am trusting Him to heal broken hearts.

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

The Lord has healed Gabriel's broken heart. From time to time, he still longs for Romania, his friends and the life we lived there. We all do. Gabriel is growing up and learning to trust God to direct his steps. I am excited to see where the Lord is leading him.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Acutely Sedate

This has been a quiet but busy as usual week. Gabriel and Hannah left at the crack of dawn on Monday morning for camp in Tennessee. They are with our church youth group Meanwhile, Holly has kept me occupied. John was off on Monday so he took Holly out for some father-daughter time. I stayed home and worked on fall homeschool plans. Later that evening we went out to play putt-putt. Holly had only been once before. She really enjoyed it and wanted to go again. My score was horrible, perhaps my worst ever. I'd like to blame it on the sun. At 6:30 PM it was still too hot. And while I am sure that was a factor, I must admit that I'm just not that good at putt-putt. On Tuesday Holly and I went swimming, shopping and then came home and watched a movie. After dinner, we went to the library. For a child that doesn't like to read much, she really loves the library. I cannot figure that one out. Today we went to lunch with a friend of mine and her two children. The restaurant was Holly's choice - Ci Ci's Pizza.

That briefly sums up the first part of my week. Busy but quiet. Way too quiet. Days without Gabriel, who was born without volume control, are acutely sedate. There are those who think that Hannah is my quiet one. She is, comparatively. But like the rest of my offspring who all have a huge dose of Woodward DNA, she has no problems being articulate. Their absence is severely noticed. I am left at home with only one chatterbox to keep me company. And she's doing a great job!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer Learning - Art and Insects

Holly is "done with school" for the summer but the learning never ends. Last week we found an interesting bug on the vinyl siding just outside our apartment. It stayed there for several days. I tried to get Hannah, our talented photographer to take a picture of it for me but she refused. Her answer was, "Mom, that's like asking you to go take a picture of an interesting snake." While I don't understand her fear of a bug that just sits there on the wall, I do understand fear. So I took the picture myself.




This morning, Holly worked on drawing the bug. This week's assignment at Sketch Tuesday just happens to be to sketch an insect. Here is Holly's sketch:



Next, we are going to try and identify it. Do you know what it is?

Update! A former student of mine (who is now a homeschool mom of 4) has identified this bug for us. It is an
Ailanthus-Webworm-Moth She found it at Insect Identification.org I never would have thought this bug was a moth. It looked more like a beetle. I guess I was looking in the wrong places. Thank you, Arin!

Sketch Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by Barb at Harmony Art Mom.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My Story - Part 1

This is the beginning of my story of being called to be a missionary and my life in Romania. I posted this on my other blog and thought I would share it here. I will post more later.

Like any story, there is a beginning and this is where I will start. Not the very beginning. That would be Genesis 1:1 and I was not there. Not my beginning either because I do not remember it. Instead, I thought I would share my first thoughts of being interested in serving the Lord.


Most missionaries do not have a blinding light experience like the Apostle Paul calling them into God’s service. God’s voice does not thunder down from heaven telling them exactly the next step to take. My first thought of full time Christian service had a much more humble beginning. It was in the lunchroom of a rural elementary school in the state of Kentucky. I was sitting with my best friend Susan talking about who knows what. Susan and I became best friends from the beginning of that school year and we were inseparable. We shared a birthday and each of us had an older brother named David. Those were important commonalities for ten year olds. I do not recall our conversation that day but the words of the boy across the table were unforgettable. I had a secret crush on him. However, I was much too shy to ever let him know my feelings, even when he was chasing me around the playground. I do not remember the date or the many other details of that day but his words still ring clear in my memory. “God has called me to preach,” he proudly announced. Our response was deplorable. We laughed out loud, hysterically and recklessly. The boy was deeply hurt and the agony was visible on his face. I laughed because Susan laughed. I laughed because it was the only thing I could think to do at that moment. It was then that I knew I would be a preacher’s wife.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Blessings and Thankfulness

In our family, we typically begin each meal by giving thanks and asking God's blessing on the food. Next week I will begin to make serious homeschool plans. Before I find myself buried in the multitude of decisions about curriculum and schedules, I want to give thanks to God for the many blessing in my life and ask Him to bless our homeschool year. I have previously written this list and today I decided to read it once again, rewrite it and tweak it just a bit. Here is my list of things that I am thankful for in no particular order.

  1. God's mercy
  2. God's grace
  3. Salvation freely given
  4. Eternal life through Jesus Christ
  5. A relationship with Almighty God, Abba Father
  6. His love so richly bestowed upon me
  7. The privilege to go boldly before His throne of grace
  8. His Word
  9. Casting my cares upon Him because He cares for me
  10. His thoughts toward me that cannot be numbered
  11. A husband who loves me
  12. Health
  13. Air conditioning
  14. A kiss from my sweetheart
  15. An ice cold drink of water
  16. My mom
  17. My dad
  18. Two brothers
  19. Being raised in a Christian home
  20. Gabriel
  21. Hannah
  22. Holly
  23. Being able to homeschool my children
  24. A multitude of resources to accomplish the task
  25. My 93 year old grandmother who is still able to welcome us into her home and cook delicious meals for us
  26. New mercies each morning
  27. A sun-shiny day
  28. Seasons
  29. A cool day in the summer
  30. Wisdom
  31. Music
  32. The library with books written in English
  33. The laughter of my children
  34. Ears to hear that joyful sound
  35. Eyes to see my family's smiles
  36. My youngest child reading aloud to me
  37. Singing together
  38. Making plans
  39. A free country
  40. A comfortable bed
  41. A soft pillow
  42. Wall to wall carpet
  43. Swimming
  44. Dinner with my family
  45. Time to myself
  46. A chance to blog
  47. My computer
  48. The internet that helps me feel so much closer to my family and friends who are so very far away
  49. My computer desk
  50. A day to relax
  51. Our church
  52. Youth group for the kids
  53. A chance to praise
  54. A dishwasher to clean the dishes and spare our skin
  55. God's provision
  56. The many "I love you's" from my husband and kids
  57. My children's artwork
  58. Memories
  59. Encouraging comments
  60. Clean clothes
  61. A washer to wash them in
  62. A dryer too
  63. A husband who loves the Lord
  64. And is zealous about His Word
  65. A husband who spends time with his children
  66. And talks to them about big and small things
  67. Trees to shade us from the harsh summer sun
  68. Gentle rain
  69. Every breath that I take
  70. Every beat of my heart
  71. Every moment that God is watching over me and I don't even think about it
  72. Brushing my daughter's hair who is only little for a little while longer
  73. A God who knows my name
  74. My Lord Who knows the path that I take
  75. My Redeemer Who lives
  76. A car that has A/C
  77. Another day with my family
  78. Coupons
  79. A little girl who loves to cook
  80. And play with dolls
  81. And give me hugs
  82. Two girls who love to sing
  83. A teenage girl who loves photography
  84. And being with mom
  85. And gives me hugs
  86. A son who loves drama and politics
  87. And is much too quickly growing up
  88. And loves the Lord
  89. And still gives me hugs
  90. A nice big stove to prepare home cooked meals
  91. Sweet tea
  92. Two girls who know how to make it perfectly
  93. Ice
  94. Comfortable tennis shoes
  95. A good night's sleep
  96. Sandals
  97. Cookouts
  98. All the colors of the rainbow
  99. Blue
  100. Reading out loud to my children
  101. Their attentiveness
  102. Their energy
  103. Orange juice
  104. Milk
  105. Cereal, especially the many varieties available here in the USA
  106. My family watching a funny movie together
  107. A God who calls me by my name
  108. A Lord who calls me His
  109. The gospel preached to others
  110. A chance to serve
  111. The promises of God
  112. A new career for John
  113. Fellowship with friends
  114. More than enough food
  115. Books
  116. Rest
  117. Hope
  118. A peaceful heart
  119. A song in my heart
  120. God's Word to light my path, especially when I do not know the way
What's on your list?


In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Be Strong in the Lord

Last night at church our pastor talked about being strong in the Lord. He mentioned what should have been obvious to me but had somehow escaped lodging in my long term memory bank."Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." This verse found in Ephesians 6:10 is a command. It is not an option, not something we hope to achieve someday. We are to be strong in the Lord - right now.

There have been many times in my life where I have been strong. However, these past two years I feel as if I have been struggling; stumbling upon confusion, uncertainty, even doubt. Too often, I have tried to fight my battles with my own, inadequate strength. Forgetting, or choosing not to remember, that God is the One who will fight the battles for me.

Thank you, Pastor, for the reminder. Thank you, Lord, for your mercies that are new every morning. Thank you that I can pick up the sword once again and face the enemy with Your strength, not mine.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Summer Plans

What does this summer hold for us? Well, first of all, let's not mention that it is already July 7th. Before we know it this month will be gone and the summer will soon follow. At the end of May we were in Kentucky and Alabama visiting friends and family. Hannah and I were privileged to meet Josephine, Jordan and Sarah Lirette on that trip. They took us to Tennessee to an Amish area and we actually were able to go inside one of their homes. It was amazing. I tried not to stare and resisted the temptation to take pictures, close up anyway.

June flew by with unpacking, a yard sale, Vacation Bible School and the annual, state-mandated standardized tests. Suddenly it is July and I don't know if I can hold on to this merry-go-round as it spins faster and faster. So far this month we have continued in our effort to declutter this small apartment in hopes of making our meager square footage more livable. Our walk-in closet is once again a walk in. John did most of the work and added some more shelves. Now I can actually find purses and shoes.

Gabriel and Hannah leave for camp in Tennessee next Monday morning. It will be quiet around here without them. Other than that, we will all stay close to home, enjoying the pool, a more relaxed schedule and squeezing in some more declutering when we can. Gabriel will have his wisdom teeth extracted in August. I am not sure who is dreading it more, me or him.

A New Beginning

"It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him."

I decided today that it is time to begin again. For far too long, I have been frustrated with my other blog. It has issues that I cannot fix. Those who can fix are either too busy or too expensive. And so I begin again. With this new beginning, I thought I would choose a new title. John and I and our three children have spent ten years as missionaries to Romania. Now we are on a new road. Without God's mercy and compassion I know we would not have made it this far. With this new adventure and one of my many favorite verses, I selected "New Every Morning" as my blog title. I hope you will join me as we travel this road on which our merciful and compassionate God is leading us.

New Every Morning

It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

Lamentations 3:22-24