Friday, May 31, 2013

1000 gifts: a record blessing month

This May was a record month - remembered to write down a lot of blessings! I had a couple tough things that hit me hard this month, too, including a bonafide public meltdown! But looking back on it, the blessings far out-number the tough stuff.

618. Discovering James 5:11 
This is a reference to Job I never really noticed before:  "you have heard of Job's perseverence and have seen the end intended by the Lord".  Job is the most special book in the Bible to me, because of how God used it show Himself to me many years ago and then again just recently (more about this soon).

619. Learning scriptures with a friend
Blaze's school friend Hailee coming to AWANA with Blaze almost every week and learning scriptures. She even came with us to the award ceremony.

620. Saving a bunch of money on our bathroom remodel
With 7 of us living in one house with two showers, both of our bathrooms desperately need remodeled. B. could do the work, but the fixtures are so expensive! We discovered a Habitat for Humanity store that sells donated household items and found a nice barely-used sink, faucet, counter-top and vanity all for under $100.

621. Learning to read
My kindergartener Serious sat next to me in bed and read several of the Bob's books out loud to me ALL by herself. I haven't sat down to read with her in a while, so it was thrilling to see what progress she's made and that she loves to read.

622. Riding an elephant
Took the four girls to the little circus that is in town. Haven't been to one since I was a kid and was surprised at how fun it was! The girls awed by the tigers and the elephants and the beautiful girls doing acrobatics hanging from the ceiling.

623. Word clouds
For Mother's Day, Blaze made me a word cloud in the shape of horse, using a web site she learned about at school where she entered her favorite words to describe me: Bookworm (love it!); Riding Teacher; Loving; Beautiful; Baker; Friendly, Sweet; Kind.

624. Tickls (tickles)
Dreamer wrote me a beautiful card for Mother's Day too. "I love my mom more than the sun, more than books. I love my mom more than toys. I love my mom's tickls but they give me gigls [giggles]. I love my mom's hugs and her snugs. She gives me gifts."  It's true I do love to tickle my kids to make them giggle!

625. Cross country jumps
It was an "open" day for people to ride on the cross country jump course and Blaze's first chance to try some of more than 20 jumps, banks and ditches set up in a great big field. Her horse Spring stopped at the first couple fences, but before long she was jumping everything Blaze pointed her at, pricking her ears and enjoying every minute of it. They even did some of the higher intermediate jumps.  I didn't have a safety vest or I would have been jumping with her but we all took turns riding alongside her while she went around the course. 
Bridling her horse Spring - getting ready to jump together!

626. My three-year old Children's Church class
I've been co-teaching the three year old class for 4 years now, and am continually amazed by what a blessing it is to teach these little people about Bible stories. A lot of times we act out the stories together. For Mother's Day we practiced Proverbs 31:28 "her children rise up and call her blessed". Blaze has been helping me lately, and she wrote out this verse in pretty script with lots of hearts and stars for decorations, and then we took pictures of all the little ones holding up the verse and printed them for their moms.

627. Fruit and veggie box
After church on Mother's Day when we went out to our car, someone had left a big box of fruits and veggies in the front seat - an anonymous gift. Last year, many of these veggies might have gone to waste in our house, but we're all trying to eat healthier and I put them all to good use.

628. Midnight movies
I took Blaze and Dreamer with me to the midnight opening of the new Star Trek movie, Into Darkness. They were so excited! Of course we were all exhausted for school/work in the morning, but it was worth it. I am determined to make them into little Trekkies! Maybe we will go to the StarFest conference down in Denver one of these days too.

629. Ladies Prayer Retreat
Our church had a prayer retreat up at the beautiful Snowy Mountain Lodge. I invited my mother, and she came!  We had a beautiful dinner and worship and Bible study on prayer, and on the drive home we had a long talk... she was impressed by everyone's sincere desire to please the Lord and to learn the Word at the conference. She does value prayer but doesn't see the need for studying the Bible. But still, so encouraging that she came with me. At the second day of the retreat, I had a couple opportunities to pray with some ladies at the church I haven't met before or have talked to only in passing. So thankful for this opportunity to get to know them better.

630. 1990's worship songs
Got to discover my friend Amy has been hiding a talent for music. She led the worship time at the prayer retreat and I loved that she picked  several old worship songs from the 1990's that I hadn't heard in years, brought back such wonderful memories.  "As the Deer" and "Oh Lord, You're Beautiful."

631. The Horse and His Boy
Reading this book with my girls at bed time. One of my absolute favorites when I was growing up.

632. Making up silly giggles
 One of the characters, Lasaraleen in the Horse and His Boy, supposedly has this really silly giggle. As I was reading to my girls, I tried to make a silly giggle. Then they, all FOUR of them, had to take turns making up their own version of a silly giggle.

633. Painting with my daughters
Remodeling our bathrooms inspired me to put a fresh coat of paint in our entryway and the railings along our stairs. Of course all four girls wanted to help. The littlest ones are too dangerous with a paintbrush in these circumstances for very long, but Blaze (11 years old) turned out to be a real professional painter and a huge help.

634. Carpet shampooer
In anticipation of visiting family for Stars' high school graduation, we got the house all spick and span. I purchased a carpet shampooer and started in Blaze and Dreamer's room. The girls all piled on the beds and watched me run the shampooer with intense fascination!

635. Binkies
While cleaning my room, I pulled our bed away from the wall to vacuum underneath, and discovered one of the twins' binkies (pacifier). They are six years old now, so this must be from at least 4 or 5 years ago. But oh it almost made me cry, bringing back so many memories of my tiny little babies!

636. Building a jump course
In addition to fixing the inside of our house, we also planted flowers outside and even got the horse pen all cleaned out. (Two giant belly-dump loads of manure!!!) Then Blaze took all the leftover stump not yet cut up for firewood, and extra fence rails, and designed her own jump course in our big pen. When Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Monica and Uncle Tyler showed up, she rode Spring through her new jump course to much applause. Love her creativity. 

637. My mother's delicious cakes
 My mother made the cakes for Stars' graduation party; she is the master of delicious cakes. I thought her triple chocolate torte couldn't be beat, but her orange creamscicle cake for graduation is a new favorite!

638. Rocking horse ornaments
My mother collected rocking horse toys and ornaments, and I'm always on the look out for any to add to her collection. Without knowing that I collect these for my mom, a friend was cleaning out a storage shed and gave the girls a bunch of her old toys horses and at least 6 or 7 beautiful little rocking horses. Very pleased with the other toy horses, my girls didn't mind passing on the rocking horses to their Grandma H. 

639. Stars' high school graduation
She was four years old when she came into my life - I can hardly believe she's 18 and graduated already!
Me and my stepdaughter

Friday, May 24, 2013

Eight "B"eautiful things I've learned

Our church hosted a prayer conference/ladies' retreat at the Snowy Range Lodge, and I'm finally getting to type up some of the beautiful things I learned there.

My pastor's wife, Kristi M.,  whom I've known 18 years now, sometimes shares things that are completely new to me. She talked various fears she's faced in her life, from childhood  onward, based on one of her favorite verses, Psalm 34:4 "I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears." This is also one of my most beloved verses, as I found this verse 14 years ago, after directly after sharing my anxieties with God about marrying a divorced man and becoming a stepmom, and asked for confirmation that it was His will I should marry B. 

Another thing she shared that really struck me is that when she got saved at age 14, she would sit outside her parents' door at night while they were sleeping and pray for their salvation. She prayed for 17 years for her father's salvation. "He compels us to pray even when we're hopeless."  Her father did trust God and surprised her with a a visit one day, and prayed over her. Of course this gives me hope regarding my own parents. This November 2013 will mark 20 years since God revealed himself to me and  I trusted Jesus as my Savior, and 20 years I have been praying for my parents to come to know Him too.

Another lady from church who I know a little from Bible study together (Claire) shared with us, and she was such a dynamic and humble speaker, I just loved discovering this new side of her, not to mention what she shared:  Eight B's:

1.  When we take "B"aby steps toward God, God will leap toward us

2. God goes "B"eyond and above what we expect

3. He takes the "B"ad and turns it to good

4. He goes "B"eyond our belief:  He is faithful even when we doubt

5. He "B"lesses obedience

6.  He "B"lesses through perservence

7. God grows our faith "B"igger

8. We need the "B"ody of Christ