Monday, May 27, 2013

Rainy Day Fun

The weather last week was up and down, and we didn’t know what would happen from one day to the next.  Some days were beautiful and sunny, and the kids ran a played outdoors all day until I made them come in to get ready for the evening services. Other days, though, the rain drummed continually on the roof, forcing us all to stay indoors (six people living in an RV can really get crowded quickly under those circumstances)! 

The kids decided to get out the play-dough but found that the vast majority of the dough was rock-hard.  Great.  That meant that the remaining container had the equivalent size and value of the Hope Diamond, and whoever possessed the dough was, in effect, the reigning monarch – more like the not-so-benevolent dictator.  After many distressed cries and much whining, I decided that one blob of play-dough was not enough for all of my munchkins.  In fact, it was going to be a serious detriment to their well-being if they continued to fight over it.

So, I did the great American mom thing, and began looking for play-dough recipes online.  I have made play-dough before, in a pot on the stove, and while the end result was great, the whole process was messy and not so fun.  I ran across this recipe for Fruity Play-dough by my good friend, Laine. You can find the whole process here.

Fruity Play Dough

1 cup plus 1 tbsp.  all-purpose flour
1 package Kool-Aid (any flavor)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup salt
2/3-3/4  cup boiling water
Mix all dry ingredients in bowl and add oil. Pour boiling water into flour mixture and mix thoroughly. (You may need to add a few more spoonfuls of flour to get it to the right consistency.) After it has cooled a little, knead it with your hands until smooth. Store in an air tight container and keep in the refrigerator. (The play dough should last a few months.)

Let me say here, that this is an awesome recipe!  It smells so yummy because of the secret ingredient (Kool-aid) which also colors the dough, eliminating the need for messy food coloring experiments.  It takes less than five minutes to whip up a batch ( I think I made eight batches in about thirty minutes).  I also like that it does not make a batch of dough the approximate size of an elephant.  It is much smaller, more manageable batches.  Love that!  I made the first batch, and realized that it was too large to fit in the play-dough containers that we already had.  So, I halved the next batch, all but the Kool-aid packet, and it was perfect.  It fit perfectly in the play-dough containers, and I was one happy mama!  This also made the colors more vibrant, since it was effectively twice the coloring.

IMG_7657

The kids were so excited – they kept sniffing the dough and laughing and exclaiming over the different scents.  And… I got the awesome mama award.  Hugs all around, and lots of smiles.  And a play-dough pizza.

IMG_7662

I think that may be anchovies, but I am not sure…

IMG_7652IMG_7654IMG_7659IMG_7660IMG_7661

What a great way to spend a rainy day!

Monday, May 20, 2013

So Great Salvation

Last we was a frenzy of activity, since we were home for a few days.  I made a list and was checking it twice, trying to make sure that I completed all the necessary items before leaving town for a few months.

Winter clothes were removed from the trailer, summer clothes were dug out of storage bins in the house and placed in the trailer.  Junk was discarded, too-small items were given a new home, school books were switched out for the approaching school year (I really don’t even want to think about school starting yet), papers were graded, new clothes were sewn…  You get the picture.  The kids, reveling in their summer vacation, were everywhere at once, dragging out toys and games, and generally making a huge mess wherever they went.  It was absolute chaos!  Add to that, our church was hosting our annual missions conference that week, too. 

It was one crazy schedule.  There were times that I sighed within myself and wished for one whole uninterrupted day to get some things done.  Thursday was especially hectic, and my attitude was one of despair as we hustled out the door to go to church that evening.  I still had so much to accomplish, and I didn’t even seem close to getting it all done.  I am ashamed to say that I thought about staying home.  However, I went.  I decided that I would honor the Lord and just let the house be a disaster, if that’s how it ended.  I am so glad I did.

That night, in the invitation, Daniel, my youngest, asked me if he should go forward.  “Why?” I whispered.  His serious little face looked up at me and said, “I need to get saved!”  My heart leapt for joy, and I sat down and held a whispered conference with him, asking why he thought he needed to be saved, what is sin, and was he a sinner.  He answered each question with understanding, and I told him we would wait and talk with Daddy(who was playing the piano) after the service.  I knew Paul would want to be a part of this precious time. Accordingly, he talked to Paul, who quizzed him over the same things and was satisfied with his understanding and answers.  Then Daniel bowed his head and prayed the sweetest little prayer, asking Jesus to forgive his sin and come into his heart.  Tears of joy ran down my cheeks and I hugged him tightly, thanking God that salvation is so simple that even a little child can comprehend it. 

The next evening, since it was to be our last night at church for several months, Daniel was baptized.  It was hilarious!  The water was quite deep, so the pastor had placed a stool in the baptistery, but it floated away when he turned his back to reach for Daniel.  He picked up Daniel, who was quite excited until he saw how deep the water was, and the baptism proceeded.  Daniel had such a death grip on the pastor’s arm that he could hardly extricate himself.  In the end, Daniel was baptized, and we praise the Lord for this first step of obedience.

IMG_7643

Excitement and anticipation

IMG_7645

Explanation of what will happen in the baptistery

IMG_7646

Getting ready to go in the water

IMG_7647

Uh-oh!  This is pretty deep!

IMG_7648

There is no way I am letting go of Pastor’s arm!

IMG_7649

Down into the water!

IMG_7650

My sweet boy!  I am so proud of him!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother’s Day

Today is the day on which we honor our mothers for the love and sacrifice that they have shown through the years.  It is a special and exclusive day, since motherhood is not bestowed upon all women.  I know that some hearts ache on this holiday, some with as yet unfulfilled dreams, and others with regrets.  However, let us not neglect to honor those to whom honor is due, just because it can be deemed exclusive. 

Motherhood is not easy, and from my perspective, it seems to get more difficult the older the child becomes.  I am so thankful for my own mother, who is such an influence on my life.   I am thrilled to have the kind of relationship with her that gets better each year.  If I have a problem or difficulty, she prays with me – often.  I really appreciate that.  She has been an example of faithfulness over the years, and while not perfect, I have learned much from her.  She taught me to cook, clean, and sew, for which I am eternally grateful.  I got her hooked on scrapbooking, so we enjoy crafting together.  We talk on the phone several times a week.  In short, we have become more than mother and daughter  - we have become friends as well.  Her love and support has helped me through many a trial.  I thank God for my mom.  I love you, Mom! :)

I am also thankful for my mother-in-law.  She helped to shape the character of the man that I married.  She has been a great friend, and a wonderful addition to my life.  Of all the mother-in-laws in the world, she must be the best!  I love you, Mom Crow!  :)

And of course, I love the ones who call me Mama.  Each one of my children is special to me, and I enjoy seeing them grow and develop.  I tremble at the thought of the responsibility I have been given, especially when I see my own faults and inadequacies.  However, God knew each imperfection when He gave those precious children to me, and not only can I teach them, I can learn from them as well.  I love you, munchkins!  :)

IMG_7620

Happy Mother’s Day!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Life In A Glance

The last few weeks have been very busy, traveling, holding meetings, traveling, finishing school, traveling, and  - well, you get the picture!  I haven’t taken a lot of time to keep my blog updated, so I am going to try to catch up all at once with a lot of pictures from the last two or three weeks.

IMG_7287

On the road – traveling through Atlanta {groan}.  The traffic is always dreadful.

IMG_7296IMG_7300

Food and fellowship with friends – one of the great perks of being on the road!  :)

IMG_7314IMG_7315IMG_7322IMG_7319

Field trip to the Air & Space Museum in Hampton, VA.  What cute little astronauts!

IMG_7379

Munchkins just acting crazy for the camera!  Typical…

IMG_7456

Peacock at the petting zoo in VA.  I am amazed at how gorgeous this bird is!

IMG_7472IMG_7481

Having fun at the playground.

IMG_7494

Boys will be boys.  And I love them for it!

IMG_7500IMG_7505IMG_7509IMG_7503

Day-old baby goats in Ohio.  There were triplets, and they were adorable!

IMG_7525

And, speaking of adorable… My baby brother entertaining us with puppets. LOL

IMG_7530

Joint birthday party for the girls at Grandpa & Grandma’s house.

IMG_7561

The girls sporting their new fashion scarves.  Ooh la la!

IMG_7575

My baby girl is nine!?!

IMG_7578

More crazy munchkin pictures! Love these guys!

IMG_7598

Beautiful, fragrant yellow roses growing at a church in Macon, GA.

So, that’s life in a glance from my perspective.  Lots of wonderful adventures and memories, and I am so happy to be able to share them with all of you!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

When Bad Things Happen to Good Friends

Life has been running rather smoothly for our family the last few weeks, minus a few inconvenient trailer issues, and a couple cases of the sniffles.  School is over for the summer, and we are enjoying our summer break.  The Lord has given us some great meetings, and we are excited about what He is doing.  Sometimes in the euphoria of the “good life,” we can be oblivious to what is happening in the lives of those around us.

This morning, I was reading a blog post by a dear friend of mine, and I found that she had some very unexpected, scary news.  My eyes filled with tears as I read her candid thoughts as she faces this uncertainty.  Her testimony is so precious.  Many people are already praying for her right now, and I know that she is trusting God for grace during this time. 

What is the typical response when a friend goes through a trial?  We assure them that we are praying, and perhaps for a few days or weeks, we do.  Notes, cards, and phone calls fly during the initial stages of whatever the trial may be, but after a while, we get on with our lives, and that person falls by the wayside.  The longer the duration of the trial, the fewer people are around to offer encouragement.  I do not want to be a “fair weather friend” who neglects to pray for my hurting friends when they are in the deepest part of the valley.  Here are a few Biblical ways to help a friend who is going through a trial.

1.  Weep with them that weep. Romans 12:15

2.  Rejoice with them that do rejoice.  - Romans 12:15

3.  Bring them before the Lord in prayer.  - Philippians 4:6; Psalm 62:8

4.  Encourage them in the Lord.  - Colossians 3:16

5.  Remember that God’s way is perfect, even though we may not understand it.  - Psalm 18:30

Sometimes, we do not know what to say to a friend who is hurting deeply.  Many times we do not want to bring up an uncomfortable topic, especially if we have never experienced something similar.  For example, someone long ago said to me, “I always think about Nathan on his birthday, but I don’t want to bring it up and make  you sad.”  My answer was, “I am already thinking about it.  It helps to know that someone else remembers, too.”  Sometimes the elephant in the room needs to be addressed.  Be discerning, and try to do for that friend what you would want someone to do for you in the same situation.  Allow them the freedom to discuss their thoughts and fears.  Assure them of your prayers, and then PRAY  for them.  Every day.  Every time the Lord brings them to mind.  Let them know you are praying from time to time, and that you have not forgotten them.  Knowing that others are praying is such an encouragement, and can lift the spirits like nothing else.