Monday, January 31, 2011

The Greater Works

I have stolen this title from my husband's sermon, but I know he won't mind since it wasn't exactly original with him!  One of the messages he preached yesterday referenced Jesus' admonition to his disciples about the "greater works" that they would do.  Greater than His works of healing the lame, the blind, the diseased, and raising the dead.  How is that possible?  The simple explanation is that all of those works are temporary.  In order that we do greater works, we must do things that have permanence and lasting eternal value.  Too many times my own works are all too temporal.  I rejoice over answered prayers (which is not wrong, by the way) but upon reflection, those prayers are far too often about things that have no eternal significance.  Why do we not see people saved?  Perhaps because we don't keep the burden of their soul in the forefront of our prayers.  That brother or sister who is away from the Lord will only be reached by the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man.  These are the greater works.  May the Lord help me to live with eternity's values in view.

I was glad today that I could redeem my last amazon gift card of the month from Swagbucks.  I barely made it, but I can now start earning toward February's gift cards.  If you haven't signed up for Swagbucks yet, do it today! Yes, that is a shameless promotional for a very temporal thing! :)

Showers of Blessings

We have had  showers of blessings today - both spiritually and literally.  There was a girl saved in the morning service, and a young man who received assurance of his salvation.  What a blessing to see people trust Christ!  We had dinner with the pastor and his family, and as always, had a wonderful time of fellowship with them.  I often wonder what other people think when they see us having such a great time talking about things of the Lord.

The rains came today.  They were gentle showers at first, but later on became heavy rainfall.  The locals are glad for the rain, because they think everything is dry.  It looks lush and green to us, coming from Indiana where the grass is brown, dead and under 6 inches of snow, but we won't argue with them.  I guess the more rain they get, the less they have to worry about fires later on this year.  I am so glad I don't have to deal with weather patterns like that!

I was visiting another great website earlier today.  I highly recommend it to any of you church pianists out there.  He has a great philosophy of music, and the man can "flat play," as we say.  I have several of his recordings and they are all great!  I don't know whether to be inspired to better myself, or to be discouraged because I don't think I will ever be that good as a pianist. :) He has some great tutorials on his website, as well as a blog with some very helpful insights.  I really appreciated his article on the church pianist and boldness.  You can read it for yourself here.  The average church pianist is plagued with fear when they should play with boldness.  I won't preach an entire sermon on here, but I will say, read the article!  I totally agree with him!

Speaking of piano, I miss mine... I have been working on another arrangement this weekend, and I hope to get it on file this week.  That is a rather ambitious goal for me with all the things going on this week, but I would love to get back to the "drawing board."  Well, I need to get going.  It is getting late, even for Pacific Standard Time.  Ta-ta for now!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Soaking in the Sunshine

We  made it!  All the way across the USA to sunny, southern California!  I am so glad to be here in the warm and wonderful 75 degree weather.  We had a pretty uneventful trip across Texas.  We stayed in El Paso and were in services there with Valley Baptist Church.  It was our first time to be there, and the people were so friendly.  I was unable to attend the evening services because Daniel started running a fever in the afternoon.  Poor little man - he was burning up, and eventually tossed his cookies.  Abigail had been sick a day or two before, and was really not feeling well, either, so I kept her home as well.  As is the custom, the bug had to be passed to the other family members, so Josiah had a raging fever on Monday and Tuesday, which meant our school schedule got all messed up (I HATE that!) and Esther had it on Wednesday and Thursday.  I could tell none of them have been feeling well, because they haven't been eating us out of house and home!  I think everyone is on the upward swing now, in regard to their health.

One of the highlights of our trips out west is the chance to eat at the In-N-Out restaurant.  In-N-Out is a western based, family owned chain of restaurants of the burger/fries/shakes variety.  You have never had fast food so fresh and so yummy!  I told Paul that I was glad we have some meetings out here so we can justify coming all that way to eat at In-N-Out!  I highly recommend it  - McDonald's will never taste the same again (not that it ever tasted that great to start)!

The truck is now fixed, and did a tremendous job hauling the trailer over the El Cajon pass last night.  The engine roared up one side, and the engine brake roared down the other side.  I stayed busy biting my nails down to the second knuckle on the downgrade.  We weren't going that fast, but the engine brake noise makes it sound as if we are in the NASCAR competition.  It cut over 100 miles off of our trip, so I guess in the long run, it was a good way to go.  now that we have been over it once, I think it will be our standard route to San Diego.

Pray for us - the children are still struggling to get over whatever it is that they contracted last week.  Pray that God will give us a tremendous meeting this week in Escondido, CA.  Pray for souls to be saved, and lives to be changed.  I want God to work in my own heart as well.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another day in the Life...

Things have been busy around our house the last day or two.  The truck has been in the shop, and we got word this morning that we need to have the transmission rebuilt - again.  This was a definite bummer for us, because of the time and money involved, but we won't be going anywhere without it!  I know the Lord will provide, though, so there is nothing to worry about.  Hopefully, this time, the people doing it will do a good job.  We are at the mercy of the mechanic! 

Abigail had a fever all yesterday and last night, too, so I had to stay home from church with her.  She feels somewhat better today, but she still has a slight fever.  I hope whatever it is doesn't spread to the other members of the family.  

Paul had a unique opportunity today to go hog hunting.  Feral hogs are a great nuisance here in Texas, and the youth pastor of the church asked him if he wanted to go.  Paul said, "YES!"  He has wanted to hog hunt for a long time, so he jumped at the opportunity.  I am glad that he is able to do "man things" with fellow Christians.  It wouldn't hurt to have some wild pig meat in the freezer, either!  I've heard it can be quite tasty!

I was able to get another $5 Amazon gift card with my Swagbucks this week.  I love earning money by doing internet searches!  If you haven't tried it yet, sign up today.  I am saving up for next year's Christmas gifts! :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In Reverse

Greetings from Fort Worth, TX!  We pulled into the church parking lot around 10 PM CST last night.  It was a grueling trip with more stops than I can count.  The only bright spot is that I was able to get several scrapbook pages put together while we were traveling.  We pulled around the building to park, narrowly missing the low-strung power lines behind the church, and tried to back up into the RV spot.  No luck.  The truck has completely lost reverse capability (again).  Why?  Well, it all began less than two years ago when we had our transmission rebuilt at a nation-wide company who obviously hires people with three hands to do their work.  Two weeks and $2400 later, we got our truck back, only to have the reverse gear go out in NYC two weeks after having it rebuilt.  Hmmmm... I wonder what they did?  We had to take it back and lose another week, but they "fixed" it free of charge, due to their nation-wide guarantee.  It has never been right, though.  The truck struggles to go backwards, and can hardly push the trailer at all.  So last night, it just gave up entirely. This comes at a rather bad time (but really, when is a good time for your only vehicle to break down?) but because we drove all day to reach our destination, we have a bit of time to spare.  Word to the wise: don't ever take your vehicle to AAMCO.  Their shoddy work was also responsible for the destruction of our flywheel a few months ago.  Anyway, the Lord kept us safe, and we are very thankful for that.

The girls were both smitten with one of their friends last week.  As if the puppy love isn't bad enough, they were both interested in the same oblivious little boy.  I was greatly amused at their antics, and tried not to make a big deal of the budding infatuations, hoping that they will end quickly.  I cannot ignore the fact that my girls are growing up, and in a way, I dread the boy-cognizant years.  So many emotions are just around the corner!  I pray the Lord will give us wisdom in dealing with those issues in the future, not just with the girls, but with all of our children. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Happenings

Sundays always end up being exciting for one reason or another.  Today was no exception.  I woke up this morning to a strange smell.  I asked my husband, "WHAT is that smell?"  It smelled like vegetable soup... oh, yeah, I forgot that I had put soup in the crock pot the night before.  Ham and beans - yum!  Anyway, with the morning mystery solved, we were off to a good start.  I always make a habit of laying out all the clothes for the children the night before, so there is no scrambling on Sunday morning.  Everything was in place except one of the girls' black dress shoes.  Of course, there was a meltdown over the missing shoe.  While trying to apply my makeup and fix my hair, I was shouting out possible hiding places - really, how many places could a shoe hide in a 38 foot trailer?  Finally, I suggested looking in the under-bed storage area.  The only reason I thought of this place was because it had been open earlier in the week when we were trying to thaw out our frozen water tanks!  Ta-daaaah!  There was the missing shoe!  All was joy and smiles once again!

After the morning service, in which I was asked to sing (last minute substitution - gotta love that!) I was standing out in the foyer with the pastor's wife.  Esther decided she would open the drawer on the small table in the foyer.  Daniel thought he would like to see what was in it as well.  The drawer was a bit stiff, so she gave it a tug, and out it came.  However, that same tug caused the tall vase on top of the table to topple over onto Daniel's head..  The vase bounced off of his head and onto the floor where it broke.  In the two seconds that this took to happen, I gawked in horror at the scene unfolding before me.  Daniel started crying, and I noticed that he was bleeding profusely where the vase had hit him.  Thankfully, it was just a small nick.  The vase suffered far worse damage, but we are hopeful that some glue will fix the broken base. 

I also took my weekly CVS trip in which I scored some free mouthwash, and 4 packs of Orbit gum.  Abigail went with me after washing the dishes (she will do anything to avoid taking a nap).  We had a nice time together, and she found $.27 lying on the ground.  That girl finds money everywhere!  She was really excited about that. 

Tomorrow we head west... by next Sunday we will be in El Paso, the Lord willing.  It will be a difficult week, but the Lord gives grace to handle the long days on the road.  Goodbye to "normal" life for a while and back to evangelist life! :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Computer Issues

I was told this morning by my dear husband, that if I valued the things stored on my computer, that I would back them up, and quickly.  This is not on my top ten list of things to hear on a Saturday morning.  Consequently, much of the morning was spent sorting, deleting, and organizing my files and documents.  I had backed up my pictures in March, but seeing that I have 13,000 + photos stored on my computer, I took stock of what I would lose just over the last several months of picture taking.  It was not a good feeling.  I decided to make use of all that unlimited free photo storage that one of my online picture sites offers.  So far, I have only been able to upload about 500 pictures today.  I would have more than that done, except for the fact that the uploading takes so long.  It may take me several days to get is all situated.  Groan...

The pastor's wife, a good friend of mine, took me out for lunch today.  We had a nice time over our burritos, and then ran a few errands.  I really enjoy the fellowship of Christian ladies.  Too many times I get stuck in my own little world with my own problems and forget the greater picture.  It is good to focus on the Lord and what He has done.  It is also nice just to share some adult conversation (mothers, you can insert a hearty AMEN here!).  Tomorrow will be busy, as Sundays always are, but we love it.  Until next time, Have a wonderful day!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Path of Life

Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.  Psalm 16:11  This verse was referenced in a service recently, and I have been pondering it for several days.  Life is like a path - not an easy, open road, but a narrow, winding trail with treacherous places throughout its duration.  Each day brings new choices, some great and some small.  How we make these choices determines the direction of our life.  God has promised to guide and direct us, showing us the path of life.  His Word gives light to our path.  I am so thankful that I have God's Word to direct my life.  I don't have to face hard decisions with my fallible human wisdom alone.  I can rely on the ageless wisdom of Almighty God.  He will never lead me astray.  When we follow the path He has laid out for us, we can have fulness of joy.  We are not given just a little bit of joy, but an overflowing cup that strengthens and encourages others.  Serving God is not without its difficulties, but I ask you, what path in life does not have difficulty?  The small business owner struggles and sacrifices to build a business that will hopefully turn a profit.  The budding artist spends irretrievable hours of his life working to perfect a talent that may or may not be recognized by the world.  All of their work may, at the end of their life, be in vain.  The business could struggle just to make ends meet, or be a total failure altogether.   The artist may never sell a painting, a recording, or a book.  How much better to serve the Lord with a promise of direction, joy, and pleasures for evermore!  That is the best guarantee of all!  We will never have to look back upon our life and say, "I really should have done this a different way."  When we allow God to direct our lives, we not only have His blessing on earth, we have a commendation of "Well done" awaiting us when we stand before Him.  What a privilege to serve such a wonderful God!

On a more frivolous note, I was able to get a great deal at Bath and Body Works last night.  My longsuffering husband drove me through Memphis to the mall so that I could get my free item of the month.  I was amazed to find that when I presented my card, I received a free soap of my choice, a travel size hand sanitizer, and a sanitizer holder.  Very nice!!!  I also had a $10 off any $40 purchase coupon, so I loaded up on their sale items.  In the end, I walked out of the store with 9 bottles of soap, 4 body mists, 2 shower gels, and the hand sanitizer for only $34!  It averaged out to $2 per item, which is a good deal. I won't be needing to buy any hand soap for a while!  I took the girls with me, and it was like a chick party.  We were spraying scents and sniffing lotions and candles like there was no tomorrow.  I am glad that we are able to enjoy girl stuff together!  Thankfully, the ride home was short, so we didn't die of the fumes! :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tweaking...

Okay - first post up and running. It may take me a few days to get things exactly how I like them on the blog, but I don't foresee any major changes.  My husband has graciously given me a few hints on how to make my posts look better... I will try his suggestions!  :)

I have been in a frenzy of paper grading the last few days.  It is amazing how quickly the papers pile up!  I am almost caught up.  the poor kids have lots of corrections to make, and then the papers must be checked again.  At times, it seems like a never-ending process!  Procrastination does not make a good teacher's pet.

Some of you may notice the Swagbucks sidebar on my blog and wonder what in the world it is.  About a year ago, I set up a Swagbucks account.  Instead of using Google to do my searches on the internet, I use Swagbucks.  I am periodically rewarded for my searches with Swagbucks, which I can then redeem for prizes (I love to get Amazon.com gift cards), all for just doing my normal internet work.  If this sounds like fun, check it out and see how great it is!  I was able to redeem $25 in Amazon gift cards for Christmas gifts last month. If you save up all year, you can really get a lot of stuff for free! Swagbucks introduced a new feature today – FREE games!  You can find a tab on the left hand side of the swagbucks.com homepage. 
Plus, when you sign up for Swagbucks today THROUGH FRIDAY 1/14, you can use the code SBGames to get an additional 30 Swag Bucks in their account.   (In addition to the 30 that you get just for signing up.)  So you can get a total of 60 Swagbucks for signing up by Friday, January 14!
You have 2 options when playing the games.  You can play for free and randomly earn 1-5 Swagbucks.  Or you can pay 3-8 Swagbucks to enter a tournament and play other people to get a chance to win 40-80 swagbucks!  OK - the shameless promotion is over!  Go try it out!

New Year, New Venture

Welcome to my blog!  This is a new venture for me personally.  Maintaining a blog has never been a huge "gotta do" thing for me, but here I am, breaking forth upon an astonished world! Just kidding.  My real reason for starting a blog was an outlet for expression that would still allow me to maintain contact with the many friends I have scattered across the globe.  For some time, I have had a Facebook account which allowed me to peer into the exciting lives of my friends, their daily activities, trials, and triumphs, and vice versa, they into mine.  After numerous recurring technical issues, accompanied by a disenchantment with the minutia of most of the content posted, I have decided to abandon Facebook altogether.  There are several features that I will miss, but in the end, I think I will be happier with the results.  So, those friends that still wish to know what is going on in my life can keep up with me here. 
We have a very busy year ahead of us, with some great possibilites.  Presently, we are in Southaven, MS, preparing to head across the country next week.  We have had some problems with our water this week.  It was so cold that our water froze inside the trailer.  I am really thankful that the church had a shower, or we would have been a very smelly bunch this week!  It is all thawed out now, and hopefully we can keep it that way.  We are looking forward to being in sunny California in a few weeks!
Today marks our 100th day of school - only 80 more days to go!  Every home-schooling mother rejoices at such milestones!  This will be my last year to have only two in school.  Esther will begin kindergarten next year.  Josiah will be in 5th grade, and Abigail will be in 2nd grade, learning to write in cursive.  I haven't yet steeled myself to begin potty training Daniel, although I think he may be ready.  So many things to do!
I continue to pursue my passion for scrapbooking, although it has been some time since I have completed many pages.  I hope to keep busy recording my memories as we travel.  Abigail is my scrapping buddy - she loves to scrapbook with me, and is developing an eye for a good layout.  Coupons are another huge interest, and a great way to save money!  I get excited about a good deal!
The new year stretches out before me like a race to be won.  I have many goals that I would like to accomplish, many obstacles to those goals, and probably a few delays along the way.  Travel with me and share in the blessings that God brings to my life.