Grace On Rainbow

Friday, July 24, 2009

Thankful . . .

In July of 1997 I made a very difficult decision. I decided that I needed to begin anew. I needed a fresh start and a new place to call home. I knew that I was leaving behind everything that I held dear - my family, friends, my home. I wondered if I would be able to make it on my own. I wondered where my life would lead me. I was a far different person then, yet in some aspects the same. I remember crying night after night as I felt a loneliness I had not known until that point. Everything was gone . . . my home, my family, my marriage. I felt lost in a world that continued to plunge forward despite my desire for it to stand still. Then without warning only three short months after moving here, God placed someone in my life that even to this day I don't fully believe it. I always wondered what true love was like. What was it like to be fully excepted with no expectations? What was it like to walk in a room and search for that one person? God granted me a gift far beyond my own desires or dreams. In October of 1997 He brought into my life someone who would fill emptiness even I did not know I had. He brought into my life more than a fairy tale's night in shining armor - He brought my best friend - my one true love.

Over the next 11 years our love has been tested - pulled - stretched. It has endured heartache, pain, disappointment, overwhelming joy, growth, forgiveness, and so much more. I have learned to balance my overwhelming love for this man - to know that he is not perfect- he is not without fault - he is not my god. Sometimes we can love something so much that it is placed above our first love - God. Sometimes without knowing it our heart becomes more devoted to something or someone than the God who gave us this special thing. Several years ago I had to learn this.

Now I rejoice and praise God for giving me such a wonderful and amazing gift. You see I do not take it for granted that I have a wonderful marriage. I know far too well what it is like to be in a marriage where there is no love, no respect, no hope. Yet I am thankful to my Creator because He allowed me to know what it was like to have a marriage full of sacrifice, love, respect, joy, peace, strength, and trust - a rarity in today's world.

I thank God for bringing Bobby into my life - not simply as my husband, but as my provider, protector, lover, teacher, helper, and friend. If you are struggling with your own marriage today, I ask that you turn to God for direction and guidance. He WILL give you strength and direct you. You must trust Him to fill your heart as ONLY He can. There is not a man on this earth who could begin to give you the love that God can give you. If you are blessed with a wonderful marriage than please do not forget to thank God for each day and to give Him first place in your heart. He desires to be our first love . . .
I found this picture today and absolutely LOVE the tenderness in it. It is what I desire for Bobby and I - to always remain close to one another and to God. To cherish each other until we are old and gray.

Have a wonderful day everyone and please remember to pray for those around you. There are people hurting all around us. Let us not shut our eyes to the needs of others.

Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
Psalm 86:11

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Our Weekly Pay Chart

So I have been wondering for awhile how to help the kids earn some money. We do not believe that we should simply give them an allowance every week nor do we believe that we should pay them for doing their "chores". Each of us has a responsibility to help keep things cleaned and taken care of - that is simply part of a family. Still the kids are at an age where they need to start keeping track and being responsible for their money.

This is the plan that I have come up with. We were talking one day about how Daddy gets paid for going to work and doing his job. We talked about that if Daddy just went and never did his job that he wouldn't be very responsible and he should not get paid for work he didn't do. . . . . Now comes the PayChart. Like I said before I didn't want to pay the kids for doing their expected work around the house - so I wrote down some of the things we are working on and this is what I came up with. . . (you can click on the image to make it larger)

Morning Routine Section: I included this section simply because they know that this is what is expected of them every morning - the only problem is often times I have to tell them to do this more than once -so I have included it so that they may learn to do this routine without me having to ask. They know that if I have to ask them to get dressed or brush their teeth (even one time) then they do not receive their "pay" for that day. This is something that they must complete independently and without being asked/told.

School Work Section: I did not want to pay them for doing their school work. This is something that is required of them to do. However, I did want to work on their attitudes when doing their work and that is why I included this section. I will give them one warning that unless they begin to (for example) do their work diligently and not be daydreaming then they will not receive their "pay" for that day.

Evening Routine Section: This is the same reasoning as the morning routine section.

Attitudes/Words: We have begun a pattern in our home . . . "Noah that is not how you speak to your sister." "Avery you need to stop chattering." I really needed to focus on areas where I was having to repeat myself over and over throughout the day. There are obviously a number of things that I could have put on here, but right now these are the areas I wanted to specifically concentrate on.

At the end of the week - we take the chart down and add up how much the kids have earned. After receiving their pay, they then mark this down in their "account books", which is basically just like a checkbook register only on a simpler version for them to keep track of where their money is going Savings - Offerings - Spending. (I will try to post more about this later).

Now just a few words about this . . . Like I stated before we do not pay the kids for responsibilities they have as being part of the family. They are still required to help clean the house (vacuum, sweep, take garbage out, wipe down cabinets, set the table, help with supper, put dishes away, clear of tables, switch laundry, etc. . . ) We also do not pay the kids for helping others. Noah helps Bob mow are neighbor's yard. We have never paid him or allowed our neighbor to pay him for this. It is more important that he learn the art of being a servant than earning a few bucks. There are times however that if they go above and beyond we will allow them to earn extra money . . . the other day Bob told Noah that he would pay him a nickle for every rock he picked up out of the back yard - well he knew he was in trouble when Noah asked him what came after 136. So now we owe little guy over $7.00 - who would have guessed !!!!

So there you have it - just an idea for some of you to think about. Just remember kids need to be able to earn money and manage it as well as being taught that there are responsibilities in this life that we do not get paid for - we do them simply because we should and ought to do them.

Hope you all have a great day - Lisa

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Wonderful Reminder . . . .

I have read and purchased several of Elizabeth George's books. I find her writing - simple, encouraging, to the point, and filled with scripture. She does not manipulate the word of God to make it say what is not there, nor does she hide and skirt-around what is there. Often times we forget that even when the world does not like to hear the truth, it does not make the truth any less valid. God's word is truth and need not be sugar-coated. We do people an injustice when we allow them to manipulate God's perfect and holy words into something more palatable. We need to remember . . .

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

II Timothy 3:16-17

I just began reading Mrs. George's book on trials and find it not disappointing. I wanted to share just a few of the things that have encouraged me . . .

Life need not be easy to be joyful. Joy is not the absence of trouble,
but rather the presence of Christ.
(William Vander Hoven

I think far too often we as Christians expect life to be without sorrow or pain or trials or tribulations . . . yet God clearly says that because we are Christians we can and should expect them . . . .

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
II Timothy 3:12

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

What an amazing truth we loose site of so quickly. Being a Christian does not prohibit our trials but rather guarantees them. Yet even through our trials God gives us grace and mercy . . .

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
I Corinthians 10:13

I am
thankful to know that through my trials, which I will have, I have the grace and promise of the creator of the all things that He will bring me through them. What an amazing God we serve. One that truly is worthy of our love and adoration. No matter what we may be going through during this time - it does not take away or lessen who God IS ! ! ! He is always deserving of our love and worship - praise and adoration. May this video remind you of who we serve. There are several versions of this song - one that I thought about putting on was with clips from the movie Passion of the Christ - but to be honest I have a hard time watching this - I know it is probably not even a glimps of how our savior died and the pain and anguish He bore for each of us, but my heart breaks everytime I see it protrayed through this movie (and I'm sure that was their point in making it).

Next Monday, July 20th is our new court date. I wont share everything now, but please pray that God will continue to be glorified through this time in our lives. I know I do not always mention it, but we would specifically like you to be praying for the hearts of the family of the gentleman who died. Death is sometimes the "untalked" about subject - but lives go to eternity everyday and no one knows when it will be. Please pray that the hearts of this family will be open to hear from God and be moved to bowing their knee to Him. It is a difficult time and I will not pretend to say that I am "overwhelmed with joy", but I am confident in the Christ who gives me strength daily.

Go ye therefore - Lisa

Friday, July 10, 2009

Lego Crazy . . .

Well our little guy is just crazy about Legos . . . Here is some of his latest projects
(and he even took the photos expect for the first one)

Can you guess what he wants for his birthday. We went to Toys-R-Us yesterday and I got the whole rundown of every Lego known to man. I think we are planning on getting him the Star Wars ones right now as he and his little buddy Lewis are really into Star Wars. It will give them something to build when he comes over to play.

Well I am all blogged out - so I'm off to see what needs done around the house.
Have a great day everyone.

Projects I finished this week

So the kiddos have been gone to Marshfield this week and I decided it was time to finish up some projects - here are a few of the ones I finished and actually took photos of . . .

The first photo is of my fabric . . . all neat and stacked up so pretty. I found a tutorial on how to do this (see link below). The only thing I did differently was instead of folding my pieces (except for the larger pieces) in half I folded them in thirds so I could get two deep on my shelf. Everything ends up being the same size and fits great.

This is the white cabinet I have for all my "crafty" things in our front room. I debated and debated what I was going to do . . . should I keep it . . . should I stop crafting . . . should I sell the furniture . . . should I . . . should I . . . should I. . . Finally with the help of my dear husband we just decided to leave things as they are and see what happens this next year. But I HAD to organize and clean out if it all was to stay -so here it is pretty much done except for all my ribbon that will go in the emptyish (I know not a word but it works) spot after I get it all wound on "bobbins" and put in the drawers.
This is a bag that I crocheted for Avery years and years ago (okay not that long ago) but it has been a few months ago. Matter of fact when my mom was here last she had pity on me and crocheted one of the straps for me. Well I finally got the straps sewn on and the felt flowers cut out and attached.

Yet another started project. I decided that I really do enjoy crocheting again. Bob asked me the other night if it was wrong to be jealous of my twittaling (that is what he calls it) I just think that if I am sitting down - wherever that might be - I might as well be doing something.

Well here are a couple of baby washclothes I worked up for gifts. I also made a few for the house here too, but of course I didn't get pictures of those.

I had this tiered basket sitting around from the craft show I did last December - so I thought it might as well be making itself useful. So I wound up some balls of yarn and stuck it next to the piano - it works for now but we'll see.
Well that is all I got for now. I think I might actually be caught up on posting to the blog - maybe this will put me back in the good graces of my father-in-law who gave me a hard time about not keeping up with the blog. . . yet again (but I know he only missing me and misses reading my words of wisdom - what can I say he only has one daughter-in-law so he's stuck with me).
Have a great day everyone - Lisa

Bilingual Church - Kids Room Renovation

I know some of you were wanting to see how the kids' room at the bilingual church turned out. I forgot to take my camera with me the day we started - so the first photos were taken using the cell phone - but at least you get the idea of what it looked like before.

We really wanted the space to be fun and colorful for the kids - yet still be usable as well. So this is what we came up with. There is a little corner "room" off to the side that we thought about making into a nursery, but for right now it is just our storage area.

If you click on the photos it makes them larger and easier to see, especially the after photos.

Here is the BEFORE:

Here is the AFTER:

The walls were a little challenging in that there was a lot of painting required. It took Bob and I about 3 days to complete all of the painting. The chair rail in the middle of the wall helped to break up the top from the bottom - but basically it doubled the painting time because we had to trim out about three times as much woodwork. But I really like how the colors turned out. The black door is actually sprayed with chalkboard paint (thank you Mike) - which worked out really well - I was a little concerned about how it would clean up - but it is the same paint we used for the menus for the restaurant and it cleans up with just water and paper towels.

There are 8 photos like this one that I hung on the walls. This is actually some clipart that I downloaded and then just printed off on photo paper and framed. Just be sure that if you are going to do something like this in a kids area that you buy the frames with plastic rather than glass in them - accidents do happen and it is better that things crack rather than shatter.
We really wanted to have some type of Bible theme on the walls, but since we don't know how long God is going to keep us in this building we didn't want to paint on murals. I ended up finding these characters at IPA (teacher supply store) and they worked out really well. The colors are vibrant and the kids had fun seeing who each one was and which one was their favorite. The first half starts with the Old Testament and then wraps around on the other wall to the New Testament.
This is the teacher supply closet. We picked up some plastic shelving units from Wal-Mart and some containers and now everything has a place and is labeled so you can find where everything is at. The shelf on the left has a blue mail slot box which holds the construction paper. I picked this up at the teacher supply store as well and it worked great for sorting out the colors and keeping everything together. I found this cube organizer at Target and it helped to get all of the toys and books organized and out of the way. Since we have multiple ages in this room - we divided the cubes into animals, blocks, baby toys, toys . . . everything is labeled so the kids know where to put things back and cleanup is a little easier.
These three windows look down into the sanctuary - so I needed to make curtains that still allowed you to see down - I decided just to do a valance in a blue and cream strip to add a little more color to that wall and break up all the windows. The other thing was that they had to be lined in the back so when you looked up from the sanctuary you didn't see blue striped curtains - just white. They actually were easy to make and hold their shape better with the lining. Another issue was this large window in the middle of the wall - It looked into the small corner "room". You can see in the first photo of the before pictures that it was just covered with black paper. I took some of the clipart again added the scripture and printed it out to poster-size on my computer. Each 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper is marked where to tape the next page so all you do is follow those mark and now you have a poster-size picture. I took a piece of foam board and attached it to the wall with thumbtacks from the corner room and now we can change out the "poster" any time we like.

It was a lot of fun to see this room come together and the surprise on the kids' faces. I am so thankful that we were able to do this. God truly is wonderful in allowing us to serve and bless those around us.

Have a great day everyone - Lisa

Avery's First Driving Experience

I worry . . . a lot . . . I blame it on being a Mom and here is why I worry . . . Bob lets the kids drive the lawnmower. Noah is actually really good at it and helps Bob mow our neighbor's yard. He will do the mowing while Bob weed eats. . . well it took me a while to get use to that, but I'm OK with it now because it does teach him about serving others and responsibility (and no he does not get paid to do it). But now Avery she is a different story . . . let's just say she gets a little over zealous. A few weeks ago we bought the kids a little wader pool - nothing big just one of those rectangular ones so they could cool off. Well the water needed changed in it so Bob decided he would hook up the wagon, fill buckets with the pool water to water my plants, and let the kids take turns driving it around front to the flower beds.

So here is the scene . . .

Avery is on the lawnmower - Noah is getting ready to climb in the back of the wagon - and Bob is just about ready to take a seat behind Avery on the lawnmower seat when she announces "Everybody ready" and kicks the lawnmower from "park" all the way to 4th gear - yep 4th gear. Needless to say Noah never made it into the back of the wagon - Bob never made it to the seat - and Avery was a little surprised.

The result . . .

The only thing that stopped Bob's fall was unfortunately the wagon and hitch behind him. His leg took the brunt of the fall - but both arms were bruised and needless to say he was a little sore. Fortunately right before this he had told Avery that if she ever needed to stop the lawnmower that all she had to do was "push in this pedal" - and thankfully she jumped down and pushed in in with her hands before the lawnmower ran into the side of the garage.

Kissing daddy's boo-boo.
So now you know why Mom's worry . . . we have reason to - Now ask me if they drive the lawnmower anymore . . . .
It's worse - Bob got a new lawnmower so now the old one belongs to the kids and they even get to paint it. Now I have to worry about the paint fumes killing off their brain cells.
I tell ya - it's a wonder I'm not gray (oh wait). . .

How do you eat a chocolate chip cookie?

With the spatula of course . . .

Avery's First Photo Shoot

So I was going through the pictures on my camera and pulling off which ones I needed to edit for the blog. . . . well all of a sudden I come across these ones. . . . Can I just tell you I have not laughed so hard in my life.
Here is the story . . . .
The other day Noah asked me if he could use the camera to take some pictures of his legos that he had made. I said sure . . . well then Avery wanted to take some pictures of her stuff too . . . well the camera's battery was almost dead so I didn't think she actually got to take any - boy was I wrong. . . . so here is the results of little miss' first photo shoot.

She actually did pretty good at this one. Nice and clear and everything. I would say she was trying to get her stuffed animals on her bed.
This is the photo that sits on her dresser of her giving her best guy "daddy" a little smooch . . . a little blurry but still not too bad.
Now is when I just about lost it - these have to be the BEST self portrait pictures I have ever seen. She is such a corker . . . I absolutely LOVE how much life she brings to our lives. You are truly unique Avery Kathleen and we LOVE you ! ! ! !

End of the Year Patch Performance

Our little sailors. . . .
Morning rehearsals . . . .

Here are our Navigators (the older kids) . . . The workers all did a great job in making the palm trees and decorating the stage. The kids did a FANTASTIC job and worked really hard on all of their parts.
I am so thankful that our children are being taught and trained in God's word. We have very dedicated "captains" who work hard every year and love these children.
It takes more than just bringing our children to church for them to develop a heart for God. They need to be taught God's truths through His word by memorizing scripture - understanding the meaning of what they are studying and serving others. I am thankful that the children have had this in their lives - it is something that I regret not having in my own life.
God is so gracious in allowing us to be able to have the wonderful and amazing job of teaching and training children - whether they are our own or someone elses. Each of us has a responsibility to show God's love to the children around us - it is truly an amazing task we are blessed with - we have the ability to change the hearts and minds of generations to come - It is sad that so many of us do not see it this way and forget to look in the face of a child and make the difference.

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Camping . . . City Style

Okay . . . . this was actually quite a bit ago that we decided to "go camping" but the pictures were too good not to share. We are limited to where we can go camping - we can't just jump in our pick-up truck (if we even had one) and head out to the woods and set up camp. . . . no . . . . no . . . . no - Here in the big city there are rules and ordinances and laws. We can't even have a campfire unless it is in a fire pit. Well there are a few places that allow you to camp, but we didn't want to have to pay or drive for an hour or more to get to them, so we decided just to pitch our tent in the backyard to see how the kids even did camping. Noah camped out under the stars a while back for Fall Festival - but this was the first time for both kids' to sleep in a tent. So do you know how long it has been since we have had to set up a tent . . . lets just say it has been awhile. So here we are trying to figure out this contraption . . . Where do they get their goofiness from you wonder ? ? ? - You will see. VICTORY! ! ! ! We have a tent that is not collapsing on itself or us.
Our massive bonfire. - Hey it works for cooking hotdogs and roasting marshmellows - the two most import things about camping. Trust me we definately did not need it to keep warm since it was 80 some degrees at night. I LOVE this picture of Avery - it is SO her!

Ready with pillow and sleeping bag - Do you really think that there is going to be any sleep?Nope . . . Not for a while at least - but they had a great time.
So are you still wondering where they get their goofiness from. Bob will tell you that it is from me . . . but oh no . . . now I have proof in black and white (or rather color) . . . it is all Bob! ! ! ! We had a great time and the kids actually did really well. But next time we are only 100 feet from our house - there will be no sleeping on the ground for this chickadee . . . no sir're . . . I will have my air matress pumped up and in the tent with me - it's not cheating it's SMART. It would be different if we lived somewhere that you would actually be sleeping on dirt rather than rock - but our 1/2 inch of top soil does not make for a very comfortable night's sleep - so air matress it is for me. Have a great day everyone.