Organizing My Life in 2012

I honestly don’t even know where to start on organizing my life this year.  There’s a lengthy list I need to work on starting off with:

1. walk with God. More prayer time and reading/learning His Word and walking closer to Him than I ever have.  I’ve been working on memorizing Colossians, but am currently taking a break from it.  Thank you for understanding, Cindy!   Your encouragement and friendship is such a blessing.

2. to be here for my children and husband more than ever.  That’ll mean a lot less time on the internet.  Seriously, I waste way too much time.  Funny how if I’m not wasting time with one thing, it’s with other things.

3. better health – a friend posted  this link to a Free Calorie Counter, etc at and I’m going to look into that for Eric and I this year.  I have to sign up and get started, but it couldn’t hurt.  If you want to be my friend on there, I’m Emily3314. 🙂
4.  Work on my Mommytography 101 Homework Assignments.  Gotta get better at using my camera!   🙂  I am going for the daily photographs on my Photography Adventure blog.  If you don’t see many posts here, do know there is going to be a photo each day on my photo blog. (that is my goal)

Other things that aren’t so important to name right now and are just little things I’d like to do if I don’t have time or if I use my time more wisely.  These aren’t exactly resolutions, just goals that I truly need to work on in the days, weeks and months ahead.

I’m also going to merge my homeschool blog with this blog once I figure out how that works.  If anyone has any pointers, please do share!!  Thanks!   It’s just too crazy trying to run 3 different blogs.  🙂  Imagine that, huh?

Have a Happy New Year growing in the Lord!


Women of Faith Weekend (Oct 7-8) (Pt.2)

The Women of Faith weekend was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.  I’ve been to conventions of different kinds and I guess all of them are unique in their own ways.  This one was just what I needed at this point in my life.  It’s always amazing how God works things out to give you what you need and when you need it.

I’m not even sure exactly where to begin.  There was so much to take in this past weekend.  My favorite speakers were the first day speakers, though I did enjoy them all.

One of the things I noticed is that they all spoke TO the audience, not AT the audience.  These were women and a gentleman that knows we are all fallible, messy people and were not acting like they were super special because of what God did in their lives.  It’s because what He did in their lives that they were able to share their stories with us.  Share the amazing power of God in their lives and how we can all be open to that power of God though His Word.

Sheila Walsh has such a neat story and that woman can sing!  I had no idea she sang so beautifully!  My limited knowledge of her was from wayyy back in her 700 Club days.  So much has changed in her and in her life since those days.  She dug in to God’s Word and opened my own eyes to very familiar passages that I hadn’t even thought about!
For Example:
The one passage that is familiar is the woman in Mark that had the issue for 12 years.  I never thought about the Jewish law at that time.  When someone was unclean, they were not to be touched or to use anything of anyone else’s because it or they would be considered unclean.  The person that would so much as touch her would be unclean for a week afterwards.  So this woman was alone, completely.  I can’t imagine a life where no one could even give you a hug or a handshake or anything.  How completely and utterly alone.  That’s when she touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and was healed by her faith.  Jesus knew what had happened and told her to “Go in peace.”  I’m pretty sure I can’t even imagine how that woman felt after that.

Then Sheila Walk sang such a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace.  I just LOVED it!

“Peace is not the absence of trouble, it’s the presence of Christ that changes everything.”  –Sheila Walsh

Dr. Henry Cloud was the 2nd speaker Friday morning/afternoon.  I had never heard of him before, but I totally enjoyed his speaking and how he uses God’s Word in his work as a psychologist.  He had so many neat illustrations and you just can’t take notes of illustrations. 🙂  His talks revolved around Happiness and he wrote a book about it.  I’m thinking of getting this for my kindle at some point in time.   

Since this WoF tour was called Imagine Dr. Cloud explained the differences between imagination and fantasy.  I found this very interesting and thought I would share it.
Imagine – to see something or to create a reality.
**When I was a kid I was quite the imaginative child, so I totally see this!**
Fantasy, on the other hand, is something that cannot truly be.

On being happy, there are a few reasons for it and how it is accomplished.
Dr. Cloud gave 3 facts from happiness research:
1. only 10%  can come from anything circumstantial.
2. biology- genetics
3. it comes from a set of life practices – and these practices are found in God’s Word.

Two points (out of many that were not given during these sessions) about happy people:
1.  Happy people are givers.  When you give willingly, it’s good for your health.
Givers learn the joy of stop giving – when there’s no fruit or joy.  People sometimes abuse those that are givers by taking and taking and that does take away the joy of giving.
**In my notes I also have Romans written and something about learning to receive, but I didn’t complete that thought.
2.  Happy people are connected people.  There is no such thing as happiness out of yourself.

Dr. Cloud also spoke about the pruning we need to do in our lives.  We have to get rid of the old things and have those “necessary endings” taken care of so we can move on and get something new.
There are 3 reasons to prune a rose bush:
1.  You have to prune when there are too many blooms.  We have to let go of stuff in our lives so we can focus on the things we really need to work on.  If we have too much stuff around, we can’t focus on the things we truly need to.
2.  Some areas are sick and need to be removed.  That way it doesn’t spread to the rest of the plant.
3.  The dead stuff that is taking up space needs to be removed so it can grow unhindered.

At this point in my life, I have some pruning I need to do – lots of clutter and some sick areas I need to remove and dead stuff that needs to be taken care of.  I’m at the “search me o God and know my heart” stage right now.  I have my little compartments that I’ve closed off and just don’t want to look at, but I know I need to.

All of the other speakers I enjoyed and learned from.  Lisa Harper, Nicole Johnson, Angie Smith and Luci Swindoll (whom I learned is Charles Swindoll’s sister, not wife like I had thought).

The over-riding theme that I personally picked up on was “tell the truth.”  Each speaker had mentioned this at some point and truthfully, honestly and openly shared their lives and the journey each of them are on.  God wants me to be honest and I know this.  Honest about what I believe, why I believe it, what kind of life I’ve had and how this life of mine either does or doesn’t honor Him.

This was such a neat experience and I’m so thankful for pen and paper so I could record as much as possible with it.

I’m SO thankful for that gave me the opportunity to attend Women of Faith this year!  I’m thankful for Renea and am glad she was able to go with me this year!  We had a great time and it was nice to get to know each other better.  We’ve been related (through marriage) for almost 13 years now, but she has only been in our area the last couple years.  We totally enjoyed our “mini-vacation.”

A few more quotes:
“There’s always peace to be found at Christ’s feet.” -Sheila Walsh

“All God ever calls us to do is offer our hearts and He will do the work.” -Nicole Johnson

“God takes us, garbage and broken pieces, and makes us beautiful.” -Nicole Johnson

“We have a choice every day, follow God or follow the world.”  -Angie Smith

‎”Enjoy life simply because you have the gift of living.” “Live for now, this moment. don’t let your life pass by 

always wishing for something else.” Luci Swindoll.

Women of Faith Weekend (Oct 7-8) (Pt. 1 – photos)

This was the worst traffic I was in the entire weekend, believe it or not!
This was outside of Mars, PA on 228 around school time Friday morning.
Crazy long wait on this road, but the rest of the trip was a breeze!
For that I am thankful!  
I walked inside the arena and this was my first sight!  So pretty!
  This is Renea and I.  We had a wonderful weekend at WOF!
We both needed a “vacation” and this was it for us! 
 The WOF worship team.  
 Sheila Walsh – I totally enjoyed hearing her story.
I cried and laughed.
 I think I didn’t cry when Dr. Cloud spoke, but I did laugh some and learned
some interesting things, too.
*I’m writing another post about some of the things I learned from the speakers.
 Totally enjoyed the Q & A session
with Sheila Walsh and Dr. Henry Cloud. 
 Nicole Johnson.
She made me laugh and cry several times!
She’s rather witty and has a touching story.
 Mary Mary.
I never heard of them or their music until this weekend.
While I might not be a fan of their music, their obvious
love for what they do and their love for the Lord was definitely coming through!
I totally enjoyed watching them – they make me smile!
And I bet they are a blast to hang out with!
 Natalie Grant.
Honestly, I never heard of her either, until this weekend.
Not my kind of music either, but I enjoyed her love for the Lord and
her testimony of Him in her life.
 “The Porch”
 Lisa Harper.
This woman also made me laugh and cry!
I cried a lot this past weekend!
 Angie Smith.
She also made me laugh and cry!
An amazing story that I read online before and I was so excited she was there!
 Luci Swindoll.
Sister of Charles Swindoll.
She had some good points that I will definitely be writing about.
I have much to say, but have no time right now!
I will try writing later this evening with so many things I learned!

Thoughts Like Water-droplets

Life certainly gets so busy that I don’t know if I’m coming or going sometimes.  
The water-drops in this picture are so beautiful to me! We had a really long dry-spell this summer, but lately we’ve been getting a lot of rain.  Sometimes it’s crazy hard and other times it’s just a gentle rain.   
Like the water-drops on this spider web, which disappeared after awhile, so are my thoughts these days.  Lots going on around me whether it’s self induced or just the business of life.  Trying to be more focused on my walk with God and more focused on my children has been rough.  Sadly. Honestly.  Each of those a drop slowly slipping away though the web of “too much other activities” or “not enough time.” 
God has been gracious to me through all my failings, all my lost thoughts and missed opportunities, and I have been keeping count of His gifts daily.  
These are #152 – #175
*popping of water bubbles on the creek during rain at our picnic
*the glorious feel of my sketcher shape-up sandals & new clothes
*my mom , her birthday (July 20) & air conditioning
*beautifully hot day petting deer & floating down the Clarion River with the family on inner tubes
*More rain P.T.L!
*loving husband being home on vacation and nice Strobel Reunion
* Field trips with Renea & kids during the coming school year!
* a very rainy day – such a blessing, it’s been dry!
* busy & productive day, the sound of corn clapping in the wind
*quiet time to work on some school stuff for the coming school year
* accomplished school preparation while it rained (July 28)
*a copier that’ll help with school copies – hopefully (it does have a few issues)
* another great family reunion with the Mason’s, so wonderful to see Lori doing so well!
* great morning messages at church
* the smell and taste of zucchini bread!
*got the Scripture Memory System ready to go & printed our character studies and verse to learn for each trait for the first half of school! So thankful for my printer!
* Nathan, 11 years old, and a sweet blessing from God.  The feel of a clean house – birthday’s are great motivators for cleaning.
* the smell of fresh straw in the clean chicken coop, chickens done with shots this day and am thankful for my husband who has become quite the chicken doctor.
* Visited with wonderfully sweet Mrs. Blackert and enjoyed the brownies & lemonade she made for Grace and I
* the Kindle, it’s ease of use and ordering books so quickly is delightful!  We found a lost chicken this day – amen!
* a quiet day at home with the family, always nice!
* thankful to have the blessing of extra
* blessed to have a wonderful friend in my cousin, Angie.
Verses I’m learning:
Colossians 1:11-12
Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

So Many Blessings and So Much Grace!

 Little hummingbird fella grabbing a quick drink from the feeder.
They are so fun to watch. We must have around 10 that come feed.
 A book of blessings (One Thousand Gifts)
and a birthday present from my dear husband.
He’s so good to me!
My Scripture & a Snapshot {week 42}
is more like Scripture IN a Snapshot.
Verses 3 & 4 are what I’m learning this week.
I successfully recited verses 1 & 2 last Friday.
Thanks for listening, Cindy!

Along with memorizing Colossians, Cindy and I are doing
the Embracing God’s Grace study guide by Elizabeth George.
We figured it would be really great to go through while
hiding Colossians in our hearts.  
I’ve been reading so many books and God’s Word is
so full of the gift of Grace.
Each day is a gift of grace.  God’s grace.
I’ve see the acrostic:  
We are rich in Christ, day after day.
Counting these gifts has been such a blessing 
and I’m ever so thankful to be counting them each and every day!
I may be behind a day, but here is my multitude
#101 – #115
a good doctor
nice visit with Rose
stores for necessities
food for the body and food for the spirit
talk time with Lisa – refreshing for a woman’s soul
gentle rain on parched soil
the warmth and smell of Exotic Coconut lotion
my sister’s birthday
beautiful morning at church and family time in the afternoon
movie and a secret chocolate bar with my daughter 🙂
fresh green beans from the garden
summer school days that are so enjoyable
Cindy who listens to me recite Scripture verse

the buzz of a hummingbird

a gift of the kindle from my sweet and kind husband

Multitudes on Monday/Weekend in Review

 burying Grace in the sand 🙂
 Nathan, not making a crazy face. 🙂
 splashing and laughing in the lake!
 Totally squinting in the sunshine at the beach.

 The kids watching the fireworks
and the lady in the back ground was so nice!
Very enthusiastic about the fireworks.
I thanked her for her enthusiasm! 
we were in town and I had wires and telephone poles
in a lot of my fireworks pictures. 😦

We’ve had such a busy weekend, but it has been so wonderful!  The weather has been perfect for my husband’s long weekend and I honestly don’t know where to begin.

During the past week the boys had their homeschool evaluations and they went well!  It was a great day and we enjoyed visiting my cousin (by marriage – her husband, my cousin, was working, of course) and her 4 kiddos.  The older 3 are such adorable and fun girls and the baby boy is such a little sweetheart!  I totally enjoyed holding him and getting that baby snuggle time in. So sweet and cute!  It was great to see them!  The last time we got together was a LONG time ago!  Such a sweet family!

The day after evaluations I turned the boys’ portfolios in to the school district and that was such a relief!  A load off my shoulders and kitchen table, too.

A friend of mine and I started memorizing Colossians on July 1st (it’s our January 1st).  She sent me a study guide of Colossians/Philemon that is by Elizabeth George and we’re going to work through that as we learn the Scripture.  I’ve been working on Colossians 1:1-2.  It’s 2 verses each week for an entire year!  If you feel so inclined, do join us.  It’s sure to be a blessing!

Weekends with my husband home always go way too fast.  He’s such a good, kind, fun-loving man and he makes me laugh and swoon all at the same time.  The time goes so quickly because we try packing to much into the time he is home.  Friday afternoon we headed out to Rodgers, Ohio to see what was at the huge flea market there.  We didn’t purchase much, except fruit.  Can’t beat $1 for a pound of strawberries!  Also got blueberries and cherries.  Yum!

Saturday we lounged around for the early part of the day, then headed out for the evening.  Another late night, but it was fun to be with family and enjoy that time!

Sunday we skipped church and headed for Lake Erie.  It’s a 2 hour drive from our home, so we left before noon (not as early as we planned, but we overslept).  We loaded up our bikes and headed north.  The bike trail was nice, but it did cross over the busy Presque Isle road several times and we weren’t too excited about that with our children.  We did manage to bike 8 miles!  I miss my gel seat for my bike!  After that we went to the lighthouse for pictures and then took the kids to a different beach where they could swim.  By the time we got back home last night it was 10:45 or so.  It was one of those days that was just so incredibly amazing!  I love when we’re out as a family, doing stuff together!  Making memories.

Our July 4th was celebrated mostly at home.  We mostly lounged around today, sort of. 🙂  The kids did a lot of the lounging.  I cleaned up the house some and washed a lot of clothes and cleaned out the chicken coop.  Eric and I played doctors to the chickens.  We fixed up 6 chickens feet in some way today.  Eric fired up the grill and we cooked 2 racks of babyback ribs.  When I say “we” I mean he.  They were so delicious!  We are still trying to figure out how to make them so they are a little more tender after a long time cooking on the grill (they cooked for about 5 hours today).  He said he WILL figure it out eventually! We both wreaked of grill smoke and it was wonderful!

This evening I took the kids to see some fireworks.  We ended up in the city of Butler and enjoyed the display!  I especially enjoyed the woman that you can see just beyond the kids in the above picture.  She was super excited about the fireworks and celebrating the 4th of July.  So much so that I thanked her for her enthusiasm and she seemed touched by that little gesture.

God blessed me far more than I deserved this past weekend and I guess that is where the grace of it all comes in!   This is where the One Thousand Gifts comes in and I am so, so blessed to count each of them!

#87. quiet time on a quiet morning
#88.  a niece that had a slumber party with all 3 kiddos!
#89.  dentist for fillings (this is hard for me)
#90.  texting my husband to say “I Love You!”
#91.  hot coffee to wake up with
#92.  an opera singing chicken to bring smiles
#93.  refreshing cold water for garden and to drink
#94.  Eric home for a 4 day weekend
#95.  fun cookout with family
#96.  Eric, my best friend
#97.  Nathan, Ryan, Grace – 3 treasures from God!
#98.  bike trails and wind in the hair
#99.  children laughing and splashing in the lake
#100  Independence Day and fireworks
and the woman so enthused that it was catchy!

Tomorrow’s New Adventure {365-181}

A friend and I were deciding when to start our new adventure and came up with July 1st.  Our adventure is memorizing the book of Colossians in a year.  It’s 2 verses a week for an entire year.  Who can’t handle memorizing 2 verses each week?  We’re using THIS plan, only our January is July, and I’m memorizing from my KJV Bible.   

It will probably do my terrible memory wonders. 
What is more rewarding than having God’s Word hidden in my heart? 
It’ll be there to meditate on at any time.  
It will be time well spent getting to know my Lord better.
I’m super excited about having an accountability partner or two, honestly!  My focus can get shifted so easily to the business of the day or to silly things that don’t really matter.  
If you’re up for the challenge, join us!
My photo for the day.
I’m not sure what these “berries” are but I love the color.