Thursday, April 28, 2011

Home is Where... hang your clothes.  Home is the place you can enjoy putting your sheets out on the line on a beautiful day and letting the brisk wind whip the moisture out of them.  Today is just such a day - cool and breezy, but the sun is shining brightly.  The birds are singing, and the flowers are blooming.  The air is filled (at least in our part of the neighborhood) with the happy squeals and laughter of children.  Thank the Lord for this beautiful day!  I was able to wash and hang all my sheets this morning.  I love that line-dried smell!

The Lord gave me a verse this morning that I really needed.  He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. - Proverbs 28:26  Too many times I rely on my own ability to do what needs to be done.  The Lord has convicted me of trusting in my own heart when I should be asking Him for wisdom and guidance.  It is not in the "big" things that I lose sight of this truth, but in the small, everyday decisions that I must make.  I need to make the Lord more a part of my daily routine.  When I ask for His wisdom, I will be delivered from foolish decisions and mistakes.  Thank God for the convicting power of His Word!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring has Sprung!

I was amazed at the beautiful weather today.  The abundant rain has allowed the spring flowers to multiply.  Our yard was covered in violets this morning (before my husband mowed the lawn) and I was able to gather a handful of them for my windowsill.

The neighborhood lilac bushes are gorgeous, too.  Their sweet fragrance fills the breeze.  I gathered some of them for my table as well.  I love the fresh spring flowers!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Rain, Rain

The nursery rhyme, "Rain, rain, go away" seems rather appropriate for Indiana this month.  We found out upon returning that it has rained all but two days this month.  As we journeyed home, the rivers and streams were all swollen and brown, ample evidence that we have received showers of blessing!  I told Paul that I was rather glad we had been elsewhere for the last month.  We had a lot of sunshine and nice weather while in North Carolina.  In fact, it was downright hot at times!  We spent a wonderful, Christ-honoring day of services on Easter Sunday at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Kings Mountain.  What a glorious day of praise to our risen Lord!  I am so glad my Saviour lives!

We stopped today to help an older couple who had a flat tire on the highway.  We do not normally stop in the middle of a long trip, but Paul felt led to pull over and see if there was anything he could do.  In a strange coincidence, the woman grew up in the same area as Paul's parents, and knew his uncle!  Her husband had terminal lung cancer and this was, she confided to me later, probably their last trip together.  He was physically unable to do the repair, so Paul and I and another redneck who happened upon the scene of the crime all worked together to get the tire off and the spare back on.  It took quite a while to get the flat off, because it had come apart and wrapped itself around the axle.  We actually had to tie a rope to it and pull it off with a truck!  Praise the Lord, we were able to minister to this couple and give them a Gospel witness.  What are a few hours when compared with someone's eternal soul?  Pray for Carl and Betty, that the Lord would work in their hearts and they would see their need for a Saviour.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Remembering Nathan

Today was the anniversary of our son Nathan's birth and death.  He would have been eight years old today.  It is always such a painful time for me, because the memories are so vivid - just as if it happened yesterday.  I know that Nathan is in Heaven, but I think a mother's heart will always grieve her child.  The pain becomes bearable after a while, and like anything else, you can learn to live with it.  The death of my son has made me a stronger and better person, all glory to God.  We took our children to the cemetery today and gave them each a balloon to release in celebration of Nathan's birthday.  They also sang "Happy Birthday" to him.  It was a wonderful way to remember his special touch upon our lives.

I was thrilled to see a sign for fresh-picked strawberries today as we were driving.  We pulled over, and the most beautiful baskets of berries sat on the roadside stand.  I caved in and bought a basket.  This is what they look like!  Strawberry shortcake is on the menu! YUM!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tips for Swagbuck Success

Some of you have been asking how I earn my Swagbucks.  This year, starting in January, I gave myself a personal goal of earning $25 in Amazon gift cards each month.  Now, I haven't made my goal every month, but I have come close.  In any case, I am earning a lot of credit that I wouldn't otherwise have just by using Swagbucks.  Here is my strategy:

1.  Use the toolbar - it is easily downloaded and I earn 1 SB every day just for using the toolbar.
2.  Daily Poll - under the Earn tab on the SB home page.  Silly polls, but you earn 1 SB for each current poll.
3.  Trusted Surveys - under the Earn tabon the SB home page.  I earn 1 SB each day just for visiting the survey section.  In the rare event that I actually qualify for a survey (seeing that I have no life-threatening diseases and don't watch TV), I can earn anywhere from 25-200 SB for COMPLETING a survey.  Usually I get booted off halfway through for a disqualifying answer! :)
4.  Swag Codes - These are codes to enter in the "Gimme" box on the SB home page.  They are usually given in the blog posts throughout the day and have an expiration within a few hours of being posted.  There is a whole science to this, but I don't devote lots of time to it on a general basis.  Right now they are doing a Mom contest that gives you 6 SB for giving your opinion on who's the best mom.
5.  Searches - Instead of typing in a specific website, I will type the company name or website logo into my SB search box.  I earn SB at random intervals for this, and it is by far the most profitable way of earning SB.
6.  Games - under the Earn tab on the SB home page.  For those of you who like to play games, this is your way to earn.  You can earn up to 10 SB per day just playing games for free.  That is an average of 300 SB each month!
7.  SBTV - Under the Earn tab on the SB home page.  These are short video clips of different types - celebrity news, cooking shows, home improvement, etc.  Watching 10 videos will earn you 3 SB, and I don't know the limit on how many you can earn in a day.  If i choose to use this feature, it is usually while I am working on the computer, doing lesson plans or e-mail.  I let the SBTV run while I do my important work.  My kids love to watch the cooking shows (anything to do with food), so on rainy afternoons, I will put them in charge of "earning SB for Mama!"  They love it!
8.  Coupons - probably my favorite.  Under the Earn tab on the SB home page.  I am a dedicated coupon fanatic.  Each coupon that I print and redeem earns me 10 SB.  It takes several weeks to show on my account, but if I use them consistently, the flow of SB, once started, is consistent as well.  If you print a coupon you aren't going to use, put it next to the product in the store, and if someone else uses it, you will still earn the SB!  It is a great deal to save money and earn money at the same time!
9.  Referrals - these are harder to come by, since it depends upon others to take a leap of faith upon your enthusiastic reference.  Every referral gives you matching SB (for searches) up to 1000 SB.  So, if your friend earns 20 SB, you get a matching 20 SB!  I love that!  This is especially great on Mega SB Day, which falls on every Friday.  You can earn up to 10x the amount of SB doing your normal searches.
10.  Shop and Earn - under the More tab on the SB home page.  If you buy a lot of things online, this is a big one.  You earn 2SB for every dollar you spend when you shop through SB.  They have tons of stores and sites that qualify.

There are other ways to earn as well and special promotionals throughout the year.  They try to keep things interesting.  It all depends on how much time you want to spend working at it.  I hope these tips are helpful and that you can maximize your Swagbucks experience!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday -

I had a post written for Monday, but due to some unknown issue, it would not post on the blog.  I have tried several times to post is since then, but I cannot get it to work. :(  You will have to live in suspense now!  I think it will work if I try something else.  Here goes!

Perhaps that seems like an unlikely title for my post, but we can celebrate the fact that taxes aren't due for another year!  In honor of tax day, I treated myself to another gift card, courtesy of  Swagbucks.  I haven't had regular Internet access over the last few weeks, so my Swagbucks balance has suffered.  However, I am glad to be back online again.  As of today, I have earned $70 in Amazon gift cards this year alone by using Swagbucks!  If you aren't signed up yet, start today! 

Our family has had several exciting events in the last couple of weeks.  We had five or six people saved in our Philadelphia meeting on last Sunday.  Praise the Lord for answered prayer!  The following day we went to Independence Hall and had a field trip.  I love it when we can visit the places the children are learning about in their studies.  We also visited the Liberty Bell, which was declared by Esther to be the "biggest bell in the world!"

We drove back to North Carolina and picked up our trailer.  The kids were able to spend the night with some friends, and had a marvelous time playing.  We only had a short drive to Gastonia, where we are holding a meeting this week.  Gastonia is like our old stomping grounds.  When we lived in King's Mountain all those years, we did a great deal of our shopping in Gastonia.  The weather is amazing, too!  Today is a beautiful, breezy day and the sun is shining brightly.  I am glad that Spring is finally here!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Time to Scrap

One of my favorite things to do is take the time to scrapbook my memories.  I have not been in the "scrapbooking mode" for some time, just for lack of time and opportunity.  I was able to bring some of my stash along on our trip to New York City, though.  I still love scrapbooking in the truck while we drive.  It is an art that I am still developing.  Many people have asked me, "How do you scrap in the truck?"  The answer is, I pile my favorite tools, papers, and embellishments around my feet, on my lap, and on the dashboard.  My actual workspace is only about 16x16 inches, so it gets a little difficult to sort through my things while holding a layout on my lap, but the sense of accomplishment is worth every minute of the cramped ride!
My scrapbooking birthday party 2010

Christmas morning 2010 - Abigail
True North


Daniel's 2nd Birthday

Popsicle Joy - Daniel
The pastor's wife and I hauled out our scrapbook things while the kids played yesterday, and both of us were able to get several pages done before dinner.  We plan to get it out again today if we get half a chance!  It is always more fun with someone else.  Here are the pages I have done so far this week.  Some of them were done in the truck, and others were done in the normal way! :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Back in the City

After about three weeks with little or no internet connection, I am finally able to post again.  I have had a lot of great things happen in the meantime.  I will tell you about some of them.

Josiah had a great time at the Master Club Regional competition in Indianapolis.  He cam home with several ribbons - a second place for "Digging in the Word," as well as two fourth place ribbons for team events.  He said the team dragged him down!  There are times when having a team is not helpful, but we are so proud of him for the hard work he put into the competition.

We drove to North Carolina and we able to catch part of Ambassador Baptist College's Bible Conference.  We heard some tremendous messages, and it is always great to reconnect with friends who show up for the conference.

Last week I had an interesting experience.  We held a meeting in which the pastor and his wife were former students of mine.  Talk about feeling old!  There were only a few years between us, since they were high school students, but it was a weird feeling.  However, we had a tremendous week and I know we left better friends than we came.  My moment of "oldness" ended when a waitress asked the pastor's wife and me (we went out for lunch one day) if we were old enough to sample the wine!  We told her we were, but we didn't drink! Whew!  At least we don't look old yet!  We are looking forward to spending some more time with them when we head back to North Carolina to pick up our trailer.

We are back in the city...The City... New York City.  I absolutely love this place!  I don't know what it is about the city that I love so much - perhaps the bustling people at all times of day and night, the lights, or the possibility of being mugged at any minute!  I do not love the traffic, but I suppose you learn to deal with it if you live in the Big Apple.  We are looking forward to a great week here.  Our meeting coincides with the annual mission trip of a large Christian high school, so we are all staying in the church.  There are lots of people everywhere, and they have a tight schedule to follow.  Our schedule is not so hectic, since I planned a spring break from school for my kids.  I am already enjoying that, and it isn't even Monday yet! 

I hope to post a little more frequently this week and keep you in the loop, so to speak.  Hope you have a great day!