Sunday, December 27, 2009

Back into the swing of things???

How how nice it was to go back to church today! Although I still feel quite terrible, I was able to make it to church to teach my Sunday school class and work the nursery. There was only one darling in the nursery.....the same darling that was my teacher's assistant during Sunday school because he didn't want to go to his class! With Carson's pneumonia, Colin's headcold, and my sinus infection, we had to miss church for the last couple of weeks. The last time I went was for Colin's Christmas program. Last Sunday night was our candlight service. I spent the entire day on the couch.

I hope everyone has been enjoying their Christmas. Colin got up yesterday morning and said, "Merry Christmas, Mama. Oh, Christmas day is over so I probably shouldn't say that." I told him that was ok. We should celebrate Christmas everyday! He liked that.

What a sweet season Christmas is! Growing up, I knew that Christmas celebrated the birth of Jesus. However, as a Christian, it is even more special. God gave us His son as a gift. What an amazing gift! Having opened my heart and received that gift personally, makes Christmas even more special. I savor the sights, smells, and sounds of Christmas. I'm in no rush to take my trees down and put my decorations away. I guess if it wasn't considered to be so redneck, I'd keep them up all year! Yes, I did change my blog background, but I am hoping to see some snow before we head back to school on January 4. A girl can dream can't she?!?

Merry Christmas to you, everyday!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An Invitation for You and Yours

You Are Cordially Invited To A Birthday Celebration.

Guest of Honor: Jesus Christ

Date: December 25th

Time: When you're ready, ( please don't be late, though; or
you'll miss out on all the fun!!! )

Place: In your Heart...He'll meet you there ( you'll hear Him
knock )

Attire: Come as you are...grubbies are okay. He'll be washing
our clothes anyway. He said something about new
white robes and crowns for everyone who stays till the
last.

Tickets: Admission is free. He's already paid for everyone..( He
says you would not have been able to afford it...it cost
Him everything he had! )

Refreshments: New wine, bread and a far-out drink He calls
living water, followed by a supper that promises to be
out of this world!!!

Gift Suggestions: Your Heart. He's one of those people who
already has everything else. He's very generous in
return though; just wait until you see what He has for
you.

Entertainment: Joy, Peace, Truth, Light, Life, Love, Real
Happiness, Communion with God, Forgiveness,
Miracles, Healing, Power, Eternity in Paradise, and
much more!
( All rated "G" so bring your family and friends )

R.S.V.P. Very important! He must know ahead so he can
reserve a spot for you at the table. Also He's keeping
a list of His friends for future reference. He calls it the
( "Lambs Book Of Life" )

Party Being given By His Kids ( That's Us )
Hope To See You There!!!






got this in my morning email devotion and wanted to pass it on.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Griswald Family Christmas

Saturday night, we had our annual Christmas party at our house. We had lots of yummy food, great company, and lots of fun. The kids exchanged gifts and the adults played Dirty Santa.


Santa showed up!

And this cute little elf!

Just before the last guest left, my boys crashed on the loveseat and couch. I spent the whole day Sunday on the loveseat, feeling horrible. Evidently, I caught a little something toward the end of last week when Carson was getting over his pneumonia. YUCK! Hopefully, I'll start feeling better soon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2 out of 4 isn't bad

Colin and Carson were really excited about decorating the trees this year. We were a bit late putting them up. The earliest we've ever had a tree up was when Jeffrey went to Japan. I think we put it up right after Halloween. Usually the latest is Thanksgiving weekend. However, we were in the mountains this Thanksgiving and knew Happy would have them torn down by the time we got back. We have four trees, but have room right now for just two. We are trying to get Carter's room ready and between that and stuffing Colin and Carson's room full of toys, we just don't have the room.

This is the tree in our den.


Now, if we can only keep the cat from tearing them down!

In Their Shoes

We've all been there....

Someone we know and love is going through something, and we tell them what they should do.
Doing this though causes conflict. We become frustrated and that person becomes frustrated. Why doesn't he/she just do what we say?

Well, because we aren't in their shoes.

It is so easy to stand there and tell people what they should do, think, or how they should act. What isn't easy is to just stop and listen. A lot of times that is all we need to do (openly) to help someone. When I say openly, that's what they should see us do. We should be caring and compassionate with whatever they are going through. The best way to do that is to listen.

What then? How is listening and not telling them what to do going to help?

We should pray. We should pray for God's guidance for both us and that person. We should pray for His will to be done in that situation. We should pray for that person's salvation. Then hand it all over to God and let him work.

It breaks my heart to see my loved ones hurting. However, I don't want to make them hurt worse by my words or actions. All I can do is show my loved ones I love them. I may not agree with what they say and do, but I love them.

After all, I am not in their shoes.

One of the most difficult things that I have had to do in my prayer life is to ask God for His will to be done even if it is to take that person from me.

I remember when my grandfather was sick with cancer again. Selfishly, I wanted Pa here. I wanted to be able to see him. I wanted that Popeye kiss and those whiskers rubbed against my hand. Even more though, I didn't want him to suffer. He was so weak and feeble, nothing but skin and bones. He was my Pa Tootsie and I was his baby girl. Oh, how it broke my heart to see him in pain. When he died, I was mourned, but yet found comfort in the fact that he knew Jesus. That gave me peace. I still miss him. I still go to the cemetery. But I know that I will see him once again.

My only two living grandparents are my grandmothers. They are both not well. Granny Uhls has always been independent (as long as I can remember). She worked hard. She cared for her gardens and family. After Pa Uhls died, she moved to Florida. I was happy for her because this was one of her most favorite places. Yes, I missed her, but the weather and climate were good for her health. Since moving back, she has had nothing but health problems. When she has her "spells," I know it kills her daughters to sit by and watch. She won't let them call for help. She will just sit there until the pain is gone. To me, I ask, "What kind of life is that, waiting for the "big one" to just take you?" But then again, I am not in her shoes. I don't know what it is like to be older and not capable of doing all the things I've always done. I don't know what it is like to live without the love of my life.

My other grandmother has always seemed weak. Well, in my eyes anyway. I barely remember her being able to do things well on her own. I remember her falling, breaking her hip and since then always having trouble getting around. For years, her and Pa Tootsie sat there in that smoky living room together, her saying, "Well, Tootsie," and him fussing back, "Damn it Reece." They were always together. She took care of him and he took care of her. Then in 2006, God called for him. Granny has been alone in that house ever since. Now, to us, it seems as she has given up. She stays sick, she won't eat. Last week, she was put in a nursing home. How it breaks my heart that she is ready for God to call for her. But then again, I am not in her shoes. I don't know what it is like to have my children all grown up and with lives of their own. I don't know what it is like to have spent so many years of my life alone with my true love and then have him go Home to then be left alone.

I don't know what it is like......
I'm not in their shoes.

Selfishly, I do want my grandmothers here when Carter arrives in March. Selfishly, I want them to see my boys grow up and become strong Christian men.

Selfishly....I think I have distanced myself from my grandmothers since they have been sick. Do I risk taking my boys to see their great grandmother, risking the chance of her falling out in the floor with a heart attack? Do I risk taking them to visit with their other great grandmother to then have to give breathing treatments and Benadryl to stop the allergies and coughing brought on by the cigarette smoke and their weak respiratory systems?

Selfishly, we do things.
Selfishly, we say things.
Selfishly, we hurt others.

Selfishly, we pretend to put ourselves in their shoes to try to make them do what we want....for us. But what is best for them? God only knows. That is why we have to pray for His will to be done, not ours, but His. That is why we have to pray for discernment in these situations. We have to pray for the ability to bite our tongues and just love those people regardless of what our will is.

After all,
We are not in their shoes.




Saturday, December 05, 2009

When is Your Birthday?

Unless one is born again,
he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:3

As a mom, I can attest to the miracle of having a child. The whole process from conception to birth is a miracle. The transformation from an infant to a child is also miraculous. Each milestone my boys reach is a miracle. With this baby growing inside of me, I am blessed to be part of yet another miracle.

However, being born again is perhaps the greatest miracle. When we celebrate our physical birthdays, shouldn't we celebrate our spiritual birthdays as well, the day we were born again?

My spiritual birthday was June 18, 2004.

My husband's spiritual birthday was June 20, 2004.

Colin's spiritual birthday was October 28, 2008.

Being born again is a gift from our Father through Jesus Christ. Because of sin, we are unfit for the kingdom of God. We are separated from our Father in Heaven. However, because Jesus humbled himself and came to earth to become the sacrifice for our sin, we are able to have our sin washed away to be bound for life to our Father.

There were times in my life I never felt good enough for anyone or anything. There were things in my life I was ashamed of and felt those things made me unworthy. But the more I learned about God and the love He has for me (and you), the more I saw and knew that I was good enough for someone.....HIM. He had a plan for me. I had to realize too that Satan had a plan for me. I had allowed him to control my life and it was difficult to turn away. It was so easy to believe I would be made fun of, ridiculed, and still be a fool. But on that Friday morning in June of 2004, I made a decision. I decided to let God have control of my life. Yes, it was MY decision. No one could make it for me. At the time, when I decided to make a visit instead of a phone call, I was unaware of what was ahead of me. God knew, and He gave me the wisdom to turn my car around and go to my pastor's office. I can't explain how it all happened. I don't know why that day was any different than any other. I just know that a battle was going on that day, a battle for my soul. God was victorious.

After I opened my heart to Jesus that morning, my life was different. I felt different. I saw things differently. I thought, spoke, and acted differently. Of course it didn't happen all at once. It was a process. Just like when we grow as children, that is a process. We have to grow and develop spiritually just like we do physically. We can't compare ourselves to others spiritually just like we can't compare ourselves to others physically. We are unique creatures. We are not like anyone else. God made us special that way.

What better way to show we love Him than to accept the gift of His son Jesus Christ? We have to humble ourselves which isn't always easy. For me, I feel like I'm a pretty independent person. I hate to ask for help or let people volunteer to help me. It is difficult to say sometimes, "I've messed up. Please help me." We feel like a failure if we do. However, in God's eyes, I think we are a failure if we don't. He wants us to tell Him we've made a mess of things and allow Him to work through us. That is nothing to be embarrassed about.

As you celebrate this Christmas, I pray that you may also be able to celebrate the fact that you have a spiritual birthday. If you have not yet asked Jesus to be your Savior, I pray that you would humble yourself and do that. It will be the greatest decision of your life.



Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Vacation

On Thanksgiving Day, the boys spent half the day in their PJs. We watched the Macy's parade, ate a huge dinner, and just enjoyed not rushing around.The day started out lovely, we were barefoot on the deck enjoying the sunshine.

Then later in the afternoon, it started snowing. I don't know who was more excited. Me or the kids! Of course it was a wet snow that didn't last very long, but it was still beautiful.

Friday was a beautifully cold day. Colin was ANGRY that it didn't snow more than what it did the night before.

Our first stop of the day was the aquarium. Colin was 3 years old the last time we went (I was pregnant with Carson then). So, he really didn't remember it very well. Both boys LOVED the aquarium with the big, "talking" fish.

After the aquarium, we decided to head to New Foundland Gap so Colin could see some snow. There was some on the side of the road and it was VERY, VERY COLD!!!!!!






Friday and Saturday nights, we went to Fannie Farkle's and The Village (2 of our most favorite places). The boys loved the Christmas trees and the fountain in The Village. The little scavengers were patting down their daddy for more coins to throw in the fountain.

Before coming home, we had to stop and get the traditional National Park picture. Carson had never been in one before.


Although we missed our families, we feel blessed to have had the chance to go on this vacation (I'm sure the last before our new little guy arrives).
We are looking forward to decorating for Christmas and just watching the wonder and amazement of the season on the kids' faces. Although we have fun with gifts and decorations, we are sure to explain to the boys the real reason for celebrating Christmas. We let them know that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus, that He was God's gift to us. What a wonderful gift!


Monday, November 30, 2009

Boys

I love this guy.
And this one....

Oh, and their dad isn't too shabby either!






Can't wait to meet the new little guy in March!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How is Your Prayer Life

A few days ago, I had the chance to sit down with my cousin and talk. Something we never get to do. I was humbled that she felt she could talk to me about a burden she was carrying. She was struggling with her prayer life and just felt like maybe she was going about it all wrong.

I think to a point, we all struggle with our prayer life. One of my struggles? I feel at times I don't pray enough. The Bible says to pray without ceasing. We can all find excuses on why we don't pray as often as we should. We are busy with jobs, housework, children, church, and other extra activities. But honestly, while we are busy with all of these things, we can still pray.

Pray
before getting out of bed
in the shower
while brushing your teeth
driving to work
on your break
at lunch
while waiting on your doctor
when working out
driving home
while watching your kids at practice
while preparing dinner
when going to bed

Imagine if
we all put our cell phones away while driving
we spent less time online
we spent less time watching TV
turned the radio off while doing chores
and spent that time in prayer. I think the outcome would be amazing!

Prayers don't have to be extravagant. My cousin and I talked about humbling ourselves in prayer and what that really means. Do we have to always kneel? Do we always have to hold our hands a certain way? Do we have to use big words? I don't think so.

I think that to humble ourselves in prayer means
to acknowledge who God is
to thank Him for who He is and what He has done
to ask for his guidance by admitting we can't face life alone
to admit our sin and shortcomings
to ask that His will be done, not ours
to be honest with Him

My prayers are not always the same. Some are more formal than others. It depends on the main purpose of the prayer. My prayer for someone who is going through a difficult time is going to be different than the blessing for my meal. The prayer of thanksgiving for a good doctor's appointment is different than the prayer after I'm not proud of myself for my behavior or when I'm at my wits end and don't have the words to express what I'm feeling. Sometimes I talk to God has my father. Sometimes I talk to Him as my friend.

I think sometimes people do get frustrated with praying because they feel like their prayers are not being answered. This is when we have to step back and think (honestly) about what we are praying for. We are to pray for what is in God's will, not ours. If we continuously ask Him for things that are not part of His plan, we will be disappointed. God has 3 answers to our prayers: Yes, No, and Later. If we stop and think about the things we have prayed for and not gotten, we may see that those prayers were answered differently for our benefit.

In his book, Hope for Each Day, Billy Graham writes "Prayer isn't just asking God for something we want. Prayer should also include confession of sin and praise to God for who He is and what He has done for us. But prayer should also have an additional element, and that is thanksgiving. It is easy to be thankful when God blesses us with something good. But the Bible says that we should "give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for us in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessolonians 5:18). Thankfulness drives away a sour or prideful spirit."

It would be good for us all to remember this and to reflect upon the purpose of our prayers.


Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2



Monday, November 23, 2009

Everyday is Thanksgiving

If you haven't already, COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS. We should be thankful each and everyday, not just on Thanksgiving Day.

Before playing the video, mute the playlist at the bottom of the page.






Friday, November 20, 2009

One of these days

I'm going to write a book. You see, my life is worth living, so I have plenty I could say. Like:

The logic of a three year old says, that "Whatever," is a bad word, but "Whatever you say," is ok regardless of the sarcasm added to either.

The logic of a seven year old believes it is better to let a sore, loose tooth dangle back and forth for days than to pull it and deal with 30 seconds of bleeding regardless of any deal that could be made with parents, grandparents, and the Tooth Fairy.

The logic of a fourth grader is that, "I'll use my teacher's example for my answer so I will get a good grade." Low and behold said teacher refuses to accept the work. Said student then changes one word. Therefore, we now know that "the giraffe has a special adaptation called a death roll. When in danger, the giraffe bites its predator and rolls on the ground with it until the predator dies. The giraffe can then eat the other animal." Same student on previous test draws and labels the life cycle of a baby. Although incorrect (again), the student did know that it is better to get pregnant as an adult. Teacher still doesn't quite know what the arrow coming from between the pregnant person's legs was. She was too afraid to ask.

When talking about marriage, a 9 year old student says, "I can't get married. I'm not 15 yet! And then I can't get married until I have kids." Um, yea....

I know that these things are great!

How do I know? I've washed one in the washing machine, of course! The seven year old owner had no idea where it was. Yet, Mom heard it clanging against the dryer as she threw wet clothes inside. With water dripping from the flash drive, Dad placed it in the refrigerator to draw the moisture out. Mom was amazed at that trick (Dad is so cool)! After a few hours, the flash drive was as good as new. The seven year old owner was VERY lucky!!!!

We have a visitor in our home. You may remember hearing about him in the Bible. Lazarus is leaning against the wall in my utility room. You see, he has had difficulty being raised from the dead lately. Hopefully, he will be fixed soon. His getting a bit creepy watching me come in the back door in the afternoons.

Parents DON'T know how to drive. I don't know how we ever made it anywhere before our children were born. These back seat drivers are great. They know exactly how to get to school, church, and the Chinese Restaurant. Parents should ask directions before leaving the drive way. Seems children are quite amazed, however, when parents go an alternate route and still get to the intended destination!

Former neighbor almost calls police on possible burglar. She puts down the phone when she realizes it is just the dog peeking over the 6 foot fence. Another neighbor asks, "Did you hear that old woman outside about midnight banging a pan? She is crazy!" Embarrassed dog owner replies, "That was our dog throwing his water bowl against the patio door and on the patio." Dog owner must get out of bed one night to toss a metal chair over the fence because the dog is tossing it around.


You see, I have so much I could say. I'll stop here for now, but I could always go on!





Thursday, November 19, 2009

Questions

Lots of people have been asking questions about how Jeff joining the military will affect our family.

The most common question is, “Do you have to move?” No, we don’t have to move. He is supposed to be placed with a unit near us.

The second question is always about boot camp. His initial training is not the regular boot camp that most soldiers go through. He will definitely be doing physical activity to help stay in shape, but a lot of his training will be for his specific calling, being an Army Chaplain.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask one of us. You can leave me a comment here or leave one on Jeff’s blog. We want everyone to understand what this journey will consist of.




Sunday, November 15, 2009

It is Official!

Last night was Jeffrey's oath of office ceremony. What a wonderful evening we were able to spend with our family and friends. We were blessed to have so many share their talents at our celebration. My aunt Connie made our wonderfully delicious cake (some couldn't decide which was better, the service or the cake). Our friend Leslie sang for us and the Wilshire family video taped the service and took pictures. Bro. Copass did a wonderful job speaking. The ladies from Jeffrey's Sunday school class hosted the reception. What a blessing that was as it was one less thing we had to worry about on an already busy day! God has certainly placed a loving group of people in our lives. I think the ceremony really helped people understand exactly what a chaplain does. Colin had created a powerpoint in honor of his daddy and it was shown at the end of the ceremony. He was such a big boy! All three of my guys were dressed alike and looked handsome. Carson slept through most of the service.

Jeffrey has posted more on his blog about the ceremony. He has also posted some pictures from the evening. Click here to check them out.

After the ceremony/reception, we went out to eat with some family and friends. After we sat down, a man came up to Jeffrey, shook his hand, and thanked him for his service. WOW. I was humbled. That one moment, made the entire night all the more real. It was the icing on the cake that told us, yes, this is what you are supposed to do, to go out there and make a difference in the lives of others by serving God and our country.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Big Day Ahead

Saturday is the big day.  I can't believe it is here.  In a way,  it seems like it has taken forever to get to the point, and then again, it seems like it has gotten here so quickly.

The boys are excited.  They have their own Army uniforms they will be wearing.  They will look very professional during the ceremony! 

I still can't get over the work God has done in our lives.  I look at where we were 18 years ago when we started dating.  Then 10 years ago when we got married, 7 years ago when Colin was born, and 3 years ago when Carson was born.  This was never our plan. It was HIS plan.  All we did was trust and obey.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Chaplain Update

The whole Chaplain "thing" (not sure what else to call it) started out slow and discouraging. Just seemed like it would never happen. Now, things are moving quite quickly. In fact, on November 14, we will be having Jeffrey's swearing in ceremony at church where he will take his Oath of Office. He has started his own blog to share his process and adventures with other Chaplain candidates, our family, and our friends.



Please continue to pray for us as we continue this journey.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

And now we know.....

that I am totally outnumbered!



YES! We are having another boy! We are excited, thrilled, overjoyed, and mostly BLESSED! The ultrasound today showed a very active, healthy baby boy.



For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made your works are wonderful. All the days ordained for me were written inyour book before one of them came to be. ( Psalms 139:13,14 & 16 )





As you celebrate this news with us, please pray for sweet Stellan. Although this is a family I've never met, I do pray for them often. As a mom, I can't imagine going through what this family goes through. Please pray for his healing and strength for his family.





"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart." ( Jeremiah 1:5 *NIV )



Please

Please visit this site and pray for this precious baby. I've included his picture on the right side bar before.



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Which will it be?

Pink?
Blue?


If little one cooperates, we will know tomorrow. My only prayer, that all goes well.


Not wishing for a boy.


Not wishing for a girl.


Only praying for a healthy baby.



Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Vacation by Scripture

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was[a] on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.

Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:1-10




So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply." Genesis 1:27-28







I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
Psalm 32:8





And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. Exodus 18:20





Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
Psalm 126:2





Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:3