Friday, December 31, 2010

My 2011 List

Inspired by Sprittibee's Big Fat Annual List, I decided to make my own goals for 2011. Hopefully I've made it realistic. Notice I didn't include scrapbooking. As much as I love it. It doesn't seem to happen. Maybe I can add it later. What's on your list?
  1. Develop a stronger prayer/devotional time
  2. Take down the tree/Christmas decorations
  3. Put John's schedule on my calendar
  4. Go out to lunch with Gabriel
  5. Go out to lunch with Hannah
  6. Attend Holly's Christmas concert 1/13 (postponed because of snow)
  7. Go shopping for things Gabriel and Hannah need for their second semester
  8. Find a reading aloud routine
  9. Send Gabriel and Hannah cards or letters weekly
  10. Find a new career - subbing isn't working for us
  11. Get family pictures taken in the summer
  12. Lose 10 pounds
  13. Plan Holly's 8th grade school year
  14. Make - and follow - weekly and daily to-do lists
  15. Read 5 non-fiction books
  16. Reestablish the habit of blogging
  17. Begin an exercise routine
  18. Lose 10 more pounds
  19. Organize/declutter our bedroom
  20. Begin Art and Science with Holly
  21. Practice clarinet
  22. Join orchestra at church
  23. DON'T have any major dental work done (I can hope!)
  24. Make weekly menu plans
  25. Have my hair professionally cut and highlighted
  26. Write a letter to my grandmother each month
  27. Get rid of clothes that don't fit or I don't like
  28. Lose 10 more pounds
  29. Organize dining room buffet cabinet
  30. Sell or donate books that won't be read again
  31. Buy new clothes for the summer
  32. DON'T find lost pounds
  33. Visit my friend/former roommate Mary Ellen
  34. Visit my friend/former roommate Cindy
  35. Work on writing a book about our life in Romania
  36. Encourage Holly in things that interest her - writing, crafts, cooking, photography
  37. Visit the Creation Museum in Kentucky
  38. Visit my grandmother in Kentucky
  39. Learn Spanish with Holly
  40. Reconsider 2011 list - add and revise as necessary

I Have Been Held

This year did not go how I had planned.
This year did not go how I had hoped.
The enemy stepped in and wreaked havoc in many areas of my life.
The wounds are deep and some will leave scars.
But through all the trials, I have been held by Almighty God.
The God of all comfort has held me in His hands.
He has hid me in the cleft of the Rock.
He has gently reminded me that trials lead to patience.
He whispered to me through His Word, reminding me of all His precious promises.
Reminders that He is always with me.
That His ways are not my ways.
That He knows the way that I take
And these difficult times will draw me closer to Him.
I am blessed with the knowledge that not only does He comfort me in times of tribulation
But He gives me hope for the future
In that I may forget those things which are behind, and reach forth unto those things which are before,
And when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Once Again

Christmas is over and the tree needs to come down. Some gifts still need to find a home. Laundry has piled up with the arrival of our two college freshmen home on their Christmas break. But I find myself with a more urgent need - the need to write. I began blogging in 2005 when an online friend told me I needed to and I fell in love with the concept. It quickly became a daily habit, a fixation even. But somehow the online obsession was quelled by the extreme life changes our family went through.

There was a trans-Atlantic move, a major career change, the need for me to work as well, high schoolers to homeschool and life in general. Our two oldest graduated from high school and left for their first year of college. Life with only one child at home has been different indeed. We have settled into somewhat of a routine but blogging has not yet found its way back into my life. I miss it. So here I am trying once again.

I know many long time blogging friends who have also gone through some major changes in their lives. Dear online friends, how do you keep blogging a part of your daily/weekly routine?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Waiting to Hear

Gabriel called today. Oh how good to hear his voice. Even if it was for a question about laundry. Now I am waiting to hear from Hannah. This is a new phase in my life - anxiously waiting for that hopefully daily phone call. How did my mom survive so many decades ago when all we had was a payphone in the hallway shared by 45 other girls? A weekly call would never be enough.

Many people have asked how I am doing. Am I surviving since letting two fly the nest? So far, yes. I am not sure what the answer will be when we walk into our home and notice the emptiness there. And they are doing well and having fun. I am excited for them. But how will I handle it when they have a rough day and I am not there to give them a hug?

John, Holly and I will begin our trek back to Virginia tomorrow. Our plan is to stop half way and spend the night. It's been a long summer and a lengthy trip and we just do not feel up to making a 12 hour trip in one day this time. Looking forward to being home.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I am sitting here in the quietness. An intense quietness. Such solitude I would have longed for in years past when I had a couple of toddlers underfoot. Now I find it peaceful yet odd.

John and I took Gabriel and Hannah to Pensacola Christian College on Sunday afternoon. They checked in on Monday, moved into their dorm rooms and registered for classes. On Tuesday we kissed them good-bye, gave them a long hug and came back to my parents house where Holly was staying.

Hannah's phone quit working on registration day. We are thinking it has something to do with her taking it for a swim a couple of weeks ago. So it's been hard to communicate with her. We have another one on the way for her to use. Today is their first day of classes. I am anxious to hear what they think! They also have a ton of meetings this week. I told them to expect the first week to be very overwhelming and also a lot of fun. I am encouraged that they have already made friends and seem to have terrific roommates!

Of course we are not empty nesters. Holly has six more years of school to go. My dad took her to the Space and Rocket Museum this afternoon. I am looking forward to all the individual time that John and I will have to spend with her. Homeschool begins on Monday!

Stay tuned for the adventures of Gabriel and Hannah at PCC and the Homeschooling of Holly - all right here. I hope you'll come back!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Forgive and Forget

"Forgive and forget." How many times have we heard that? Or what about, "I can forgive you but I won't ever forget it." Forgive and forget may be the more godly of the two expressions but in reality the second one is what is practiced more often. Picture the bitter, offended person saying it. Or someone who has been deeply and unforgettably hurt. So how does, how can that person, any person who has been horribly wronged, forgive and forget? They cannot. I am not a scientist but I have been told that the human brain remembers everything. Somehow or another the brain stores up every event in a person's life, including all the pain, agony, grief, sorrow, and rejection. Recall is a different story. We lose our keys, forget birthdays and appointments, study for tests but don't score a 100. But those are usually minor things. Forgetting the deeper hurts is another story.

So how does one go on? How can a person deal with the unbearable heartache caused by another? Hebrews 8:12 says, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." Our Omniscient God has made a conscious choice to not remember our sins. But we are not God and trying to
not remember something traumatic and painful is a difficult, if not impossible human task. Why do we forget the minor things like the placement of car keys or the answer to a test question? Probably because we are not focused on those things. They do not get enough of our attention to be "on the front burner". Remembering and forgetting is all about our thought process. Do we constantly dwell on what that person did to us, how they crushed us, how thoughtless and uncaring they were? Or do we focus on good things? How has God blessed us? How is he working in our lives? What are the positive, pure and lovely things that we can meditate on? No, we may never truly forget the wrongs of another against us. But we can forgive. And it is mandatory to purposely focus on something else besides how hurt we are. Someone told me once, "I don't know how you can forgive me after what I've done to you." I told that person, "My other choice is to be bitter, hateful and miserable." I don't have room in my heart for those feelings. So I gave them all to God who has abundantly pardoned me and promised me beauty for ashes. How can I not forgive others?

"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you." Phillipians 4:7-9

"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Isaiah 55:7

"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;" Isaiah 61:1-3

Thursday, July 1, 2010


June was . . . busy for a lack of a better word. Perhaps I could use a few synonyms such as engaged, swamped, active, overloaded. My parents came to visit, Gabriel and Hannah graduated from high school, I had a yard sale and our church had Vacation Bible School. Those are a few of the major highlights.

I have just finished eating an amazing dish of chicken with peanut sauce that John made for us tonight. It was delicious. Now I am contemplating July, August and September. Tomorrow will be catch up day. Laundry and cleaning have been pushed aside too much. Sunday is not only our church's 4th of July picnic but my spiritual birthday. I am hoping it will not be too hot. We will also have some friends visiting next week. Gabriel and Hannah have plans to go to DC and Kings Dominion with them. I am seriously skeptical with the 100 degree temperatures that are forecasted. For the remainder of July, I would like to find new homes for things that did not sell in my yard sale - hopefully on ebay.

What can I say about August and September? Gabriel and Hannah will both be going to Pensacola Christian college in Pensacola, Florida. My first two children will fly the nest at the same time. It's only 863 miles away. There are just too many emotions for my heart to deal with right now. So like Scarlette O'Hara, I'll think about that tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Poster Contest

Holly is really enjoying being in the youth group for VBS this year. Today they had a poster contest. We got a large sheet of poster board and Holly did a great job decorating it. Several kids made posters but only one other girl had one as big as Holly's. Holly won for best looking and biggest. I asked her how she won for the biggest poster when another girl had one the same exact size. She said it was because some of the sequins were hanging over!

Not the best picture because it was taken with my phone. Tomorrow is the cookie contest. I'm not giving any clues to what we are doing!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Graduation Day!

On Saturday, June 12th, Gabriel and Hannah graduated from high school. I do not think the fact has sunk in that a major stage in my life with them is over. The ceremony was great. It was held down town at the convention center with 198 other homeschool graduates from all over the state of Virginia. I went prepared with plenty of tissues. I knew I would cry as soon as Pomp and Circumstance began. I regained control of myself by the time the first 189 students marched in and was able to give a big smile to Gabriel and Hannah. We were privileged to hear Ken Ham speak.

Then the parents presented the diplomas to their students. So I pulled from my drama experience and was able to go on stage with a big smile. After that, the graduates flipped their tassels and we stood and sang "Be Thou My Vision". Well, I guess just about everyone else sang. I was all tears again and could hardly eek out a note.

Afterward, we had a party with family and friends. The next step in our lives is to make sure we have everything we need for college which is only days away. I am sure I will shed many more tears. Tissues are on the list!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tears and Laughter

John's graduation from the Virginia State Police academy is this Friday!! Excitement is in the air at the Woodward house. We have several families coming from Rochester, NY - John's two brothers and a high school friend. We have so much cleaning and shopping to do. John and I were talking about plans for the party afterward. I am already starting to get emotional. For those of you who do not know me in real life, I cry easily and frequently. I cry on both joyful and sorrowful occasions. And I just can't help it. I have read romance books where a woman bites her lip to keep herself from crying. It just doesn't work for me. When the tears want to come, they do and I can't stop them. Emotional occasions such as the one coming up on Friday are the perfect opportunity too. It reminds me of my wedding day. A day when I was sure it would be Niagara Falls. But something else happened. I was up on stage in front of everyone, facing John, when something struck me as funny. I don't know what. Perhaps it was just nerves. But I started laughing. It wasn't an out loud guffaw as seen on you tube of late. But I was afraid it would end up like that. I couldn't even look at John. I looked over his shoulder and said my vows while trying not to bust out laughing. I actually pulled a muscle in my side in my attempt to hold the laughter in. I tried to think of something sad but couldn't'. Then I looked at my older brother and he had a tear coming down his cheek. Awww!! His love and care for me did the trick and I was able to make it through the rest of the ceremony. But what will I do on Friday? I am not ashamed to allow a few tears of joy to run down my face. But I don't want to be there boo-hooing buckets either. And I certainly don't want to laugh! I think I need to watch a really sad movie and get all the tears out of my system. Meanwhile, I think I'll get a good night's sleep. Any suggestions for a good tear jerker?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Learning to Trust

I was a school teacher in 1987 when I married John. He was a Richmond City police officer. Everyone who knew John acknowledged the fact that he was in the right profession. Police work was in his blood. He loved what he did. He became a Virginia State Trooper in 1988 and I never saw a change in our future. I imagined living life in that one city; stable, secure, certain. Little did I know that God had a different plan when He called John into the ministry just four years after we were married. Since that time, John has worked at a rescue mission, gotten a BS degree in Biblical Studies while he worked full time and finally we went to Romania as missionaries. All the while, I was raising babies, youngsters and then teens. I was learning to be frugal on a slim budget and doing my best to teach them at home. Our life has rarely been stable or certain as I had imagined it would be; chaotic and sporadic are the adjectives that pop into my head. But throughout these many years, God has taught us that He is faithful and true. He is the Rock that we can stand on when the storms of life are raging all around us. He alone is steadfast and unchanging. He alone knows the next step of our journey. I am learning that He knows all about my tomorrows and I am learning to trust Him for each day.

The above paragraph was written on March 16, 2007, the day after we returned from Romania. We had absolutely no clue as to where our life would end up. At that point we never dreamed that God's path would lead us back to Virginia and the State Police. Never did we imagine that after giving up our life in 1992 that God would give it all back. My heart is full and I have many more things to say about this subject. But for now, I just want to say that God is good. All the time. Praise the name of the LORD.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Five Things I'd Like My Children to Know

Happy New Year! I am backing up my old blog and found this post. I'd like to share it once again just as a reminder to my children. I love you Gabriel, Hannah and Holly!!! May God richly bless you in 2010.

Someone tagged me with this meme a long time ago. How do I put into five thoughts all the things that I want my kids to know before they "grow up"?

Here’s my list. Actually, I think they already know these things but I want them to remember them for the rest of their lives.

1. That I love them with all my heart, no matter what, always and forever.

2. That God loves them even more than I do.

3. That God will be with them even when I can’t.

4. That He is faithful and true.

5. That they would learn to see beyond today and beyond themselves.