And More Daffs...

As we drove into town, my very observant youngest child asked a profound question.
“Mom, why does everyone else have pretty daffodils in their yards but we don't?”

Being the full-of-wisdom mother that I am (not), I gave him a deep answer, which can be found at Exemplify Online's Blog.

Windows of Opportunities

Welcome to Fiction Friday! This week is hosted by Josh at Just Joshing. Be sure to join us there for links to some fun fiction.

Exhaustion has settled in this week, but that's okay. This too will pass. Until then, here's an old Writing Challenge...

Windows of Opportunity

“That's quite a load you've got there, Kylie,” Mable White called from her front porch where she sat with her feet up. “What are you up to today?”

Kylie parked her wagon at the bottom of the steps. “Can I wash your windows for you, Mrs. White? Mom says I'm a good window washer and I've brought everything I use to clean our windows.” She waved her hand toward her wagon of supplies, which included a step stool.

“Well, my goodness, child, you've surprised me! I'd love to have you clean my windows,” Mable said.

With a big smile Kylie grabbed her bucket and roll of paper towels, went up the steps, and got right to work with her squeegee.

“So, what are you saving up for this summer?” Mable asked as she watched Kylie work.

“Well, I'd like an mp3 player.”

“A window washing business is a great idea. You should be able to save enough fairly quickly. You could even call your business 'Windows of Opportunity'.” Mable chuckled at her own pun.

“Oh, I'm not doing this to be paid, Mrs. White,” Kylie hastened to assure her.

“You're not? Then why are you washing my windows?” Mable asked, perplexed.

Kylie bit her lip as she worked. “In Sunday school yesterday, Miss Beth told us that we could serve God by doing things for other people. She said serving God isn't something we have to wait to do until we're grown-up; we can do it right now. And she said there's always something we can do to serve Him, but that sometimes we need to do things we're not used to doing.”

Mable chuckled, nodding her head. “Miss Beth is right. Serving God is important and it is something you can do at any age.” She gazed up into the maple branches, thinking about what Kylie had said.

Lord, I'm not used to being the one who's on the receiving end of being served. I'd much rather be the one serving.

“So why aren't you serving instead of feeling sorry for yourself?”
came the silent reply.

Because I'm stuck in this chair with a lame knee!

“And there's nothing you can do while you're there?”
Before Mable could respond there was more. “Did you even stop to think that maybe you're there for a reason? That maybe it's time for you to do something other than the things you're used to doing?”

Mable looked over at Kylie.

“If a child can find a way to serve Me with her seemingly limited resources, don't you think you can find a way to serve me from your chair?”

Mable's eyes slid closed as the truth hit home. I'm sorry, Lord. You're right--there are many ways that I can serve You from right where I am. Help me to have a good attitude about this adjustment in my life. Bless Kylie, Lord. Her willing and sweet spirit have been an encouragement...” Mable's eyes popped open.

“Kylie, would you run in the house and get me a few things?” she asked.

“Sure, Mrs. White. What do you want?”

“That little lap stationery desk my son gave me, my Bible, and the church directory; that should get me going.” Mable smiled as she watched Kylie hurry into the house, feeling better than she had in weeks.

While Kylie washed windows, Mable wrote a few notes, praying as she wrote. She was just putting on her fourth stamp when Kylie lugged her bucket and step stool back around to the front of the house.

“You've been a tremendous blessing to me today, Kylie.” Mable said as Kylie climbed the stairs.

“For washing your windows?” Kylie smiled as she sank down into a matching chair.

“Yes, but not just that. Not only did you wash my windows, but you encouraged me, too—and that was also serving God.”

“Encouraging people is serving God, too?” Kylie asked.

“Yes, it is. Serving God can be done in many ways, and sometimes we just need to look around for windows of opportunity to serve Him.” Mable tapped the small stack of envelopes and smiled.

Kylie giggled. “And those windows don't even need washing!”

Why Burn?

Building and burning brush piles is something we all need to do from time-to-time. We gather all the branches and brambles from our yards and throw them on the brush pile, and then, when we're ready, we light the pile.

But what about when the fire spreads? What if the fire consumes more than just the brush pile we put together?

Join me today at Exemplify Online's Blog. Maybe the fire spreads for a reason...

Marriage Secret

Gathering At the Well

Today's discussion At the Well is something that is near-and-dear to my heart and I'm excited. It's the secret that probably saved my marriage. The secret that took my marriage out of the drudgery level and put the love back into my marriage. You can read Sherry's post here, and you really don't want to miss it—she tells a wonderful story to illustrate her point.

I'm an expert fault-finder. Ask my husband. Ask my poor kids. I'm a pro.
BUT it's not a fatal disease unless I allow it to be!
Isn't that wonderful?!?!!!! (I'm bouncing—even in if you can't see me. LoL. Truly!)

So, how do I cure my constant bent to picking my husband to pieces?
By deliberately exchanging the the picking and complaining to thankfulness.
Every time I catch myself mentally complaining about my husband, I deliberately make myself switch to finding things to be thankful about.

So, what are some things I'm specifically thankful for in relation to my husband?
PhotobucketHe loves me! (let me tell ya—that's a biggie cuz I'm not very lovable most of the time!!)
PhotobucketHe loves our children and is teaching and training them—something that takes a huge amount of his time.
PhotobucketHe supports me in all my looneyness and doesn't complain about the people that live in my head. He even teases me about that birdie that lives in there.
PhotobucketHe listens to me!
PhotobucketHe accepts me as I am and wants the best for me.
PhotobucketHe cares enough to do what needs doing—even when he knows it will put him in the line-of-fire.
To celebrate our 19th anniversary I posted more reasons--and a picture of us.

He is the perfect man for me and God blessed me tremendously when He brought us together. I am so thankful for him!

Daffy Duck Syndrome

Welcome to Fiction Friday! This week is hosted by Dee at My Heart's Dee-Light. Be sure to join us there for links to some fun fiction.

Daffy Duck Syndrome
Karen was looking forward to an afternoon of sewing. After she finished Bailey’s dress she could start a blouse for herself.

“Mom, can you teach me to sew?” Bailey, her 11-year-old daughter, hovered over the machine.

Karen frowned. Lord? Isn’t it enough to learn patience through teaching her to cook? I don’t have to teach her to sew, too, do I?

Her husband Mark was nearby. “You should teach her, Karen.” He laughed at Karen’s scowl.

Heaving a sigh she prayed Bailey would tire of it in 15 minutes. “Sure. Go get that scrap fabric you had earlier.”

“Yes! Thanks, Mom! You’re the coolest.” Bailey raced off.

“Mark, you’d better pray she doesn’t sew her finger, and if she does you better be here because I’ll throw up!”

“She’ll do fine. Just give her a chance.”

Bailey ran back in. “Here. Now what?”

Karen got a ruler and drew a series of spiraling lines. “Ok. Sew on the line. When you come to a corner put your needle in the corner, lift the presser foot, turn the fabric and sew the next line, working your way to the center.”

Bailey sat in front of the machine and stepped on the pedal. “Aaack!”

Gently step on the pedal,” Karen instructed her.

Bailey eased her foot down, moving slowly and almost staying on the line. When she came to a corner she followed the directions and executed a perfect turn.

Karen glanced at her watch. Thirteen minutes to go and hopefully she’d be tired of it. Moving away, she started pinning the blouse pattern on the fabric.

“How’s it going?” Karen leaned over Bailey’s shoulder and was glad to see she was almost done. Just a few more minutes and she could get sewing.

Bailey paused in her sewing and looked at Karen. “This is fun, Mom! What do I do next?”

“Next?” Karen looked at her watch. “You’ve been sewing almost 20 minutes. Aren’t you ready to head outside?” she asked hopefully. Hearing the sewing machine was making her antsy to sew.

“No way! I want to keep sewing, Mom.”

Karen groaned. She pulled out a wavy ruler she used for scrapbooking and set to work on another practice piece for Bailey. “I’m a big girl,” she thought. “I can handle letting her sew for a few more minutes.”

“Here, work on this while I cut out my blouse.”

Fifteen minutes later Karen was working on not gnashing her teeth. Ok, Lord, I need help here, but not like I thought I would! She’s doing great but I’ve got a bad case of Daffy Duck Syndrome.

“Look, Dad!” Mark came in and Bailey jumped up to show him her work.

“Hey, that’s great, Kiddo! Have you been working this whole time?”

“Yes, she has.” Karen’s voice was strained as she eased in front of the machine and ran her hand along the top of it.

“What’s next, Mom?”

“Nothing. It’s my turn now.”

Mark laughed. “What’s the matter, Hon?”

Karen winked at him, bent over the machine and wrapped her arms around it. “Mine! Mine! It’s all mine!”

Bailey’s eyes rounded. “Mom?”

Mark burst out laughing. “She’s got a bad case of DDS.”

“What’s DDS?” Bailey asked.

“Daffy Duck Syndrome. That’s what we called this behavior when you were little. It’s about killing her that you’re sewing and she can’t.”

“Umm. I don’t think she’s watched Daffy Duck any time recently.”

“Why’s that?” Mark asked.

“He isn’t exactly what you’d call a happy duck.” Bailey said, warily eyeing her mother. “In fact, he’s so selfish he’s miserable and ends up hurting himself with his selfishness.”

Karen wilted back into the chair and moaned. “Oooh, you’re right!” She looked at her daughter, humbled that she had seen something so many people miss. “Ok, here’s the deal. I’ll share my sewing machine with you, but it’s my turn now; I really do need to finish your dress for Sunday.”

Bailey laughed and gave her mother a hug. “I knew you were just playing with me, Mom. You’re not a selfish person.”

Karen swallowed around the lump in her throat. Lord, help me learn this lesson. Both You and I know just how selfish a person I am and Bailey’s right, I’m only hurting myself with it. Take my selfishness and replace it with Your love for others. Thank You for this daughter You’ve given me and help me learn from her as she learns from me.

Daffy Duck Syndrome is something I've joked about and laughed over for years--because I often seem to have it. Seeing that selfishness as DDS has helped me see how ridiculous I'm acting...and work on making changes.

I wrote this story two years ago--time sure flies when you're having fun, but I can't believe that it's only been two years. Wow. God is so good!!!

Be sure to join us at My Heart's Dee-Light for links to more Fiction Friday!


Originally uploaded by EricReedPhoto

Today I'm at Exemplify Online's Blog posting on what racing taught me about praising. I'd love to have you join me there!

Serving Reverently

Monday Manna

Welcome to Monday Manna! This week Joanne chose Psalm 2:11

Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. (NIV)
Worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling. (NAS)

This has been on my mind since Joanne posted it last Thursday, and I'm just now getting to sit down with it. I had to laugh because my thoughts focused on the first half of the verse, and hers were on the second half.

Serving God is one of our reasons for being here—something I'd often like to forget because I'm so self-centered and me-focused. What jumped out to me is that yes, we're to serve God, but even more, we're to serve reverently.

I think this is something God is really trying to get through to me because it keeps coming up.
Reverence for God.

Entering His presence reverently and now serving reverently. Often I'll go about the things I do and although I'm not flippant (although, sometimes I am), I'm not reverent either.

But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house, at Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You. ~Psalm 5:7

Serving God is an act of worship. If-- no, since God can use my service, even when I'm not necessarily reverent, just imagine what He might be able to do if I were serving reverently. Wow. That's what I want.

Thanks, Joanne. Be sure to join us at An Open Book for more Monday Manna links.

Missing My Other Boys

March and May are bittersweet months for me, especially March. And this year March snuck up on me. I didn't realize all that was going on inside me until I saw the daffodils. And then it all came rushing back. Powerful and overwhelming. I tried to forget it, gloss over it, and rebury it. But I can't. I know my Savior will make something beautiful from these shards.

You see, I love Spring—everything about it, but as the daffodils bloom I'm reminded of two precious little ones I have waiting for me. They're safe in Jesus' arms.

Here's my journal entry from 10 years ago in March:

“Elijah is his own special miracle.

Just 14 weeks after conception and Elijah was so perfectly formed. I was able to count his little fingers and his tiny toes as I held him ever so gently in my hand. With his eyes beginning to open and his mouth open there was no mistaking his identity--he was my son. So longed for. It didn't matter that he was Baby #5 for us—we knew the joy children bring with them and we couldn't wait to get to know this special baby, with the unique personality God had given him. Each baby is unspeakably special and so cherished.

Elijah was a gift from God...but for some reason God sent him over five months early and as I held this precious child in my hand, I sat in awe of God... His little ribs and plump belly reminded me of all I would miss in the coming months and years...

We only had Elijah with us for 14 weeks, and then, as even now, we treasured him. His absence is felt deep within us, and we know there will always be one more than is with us here. Elijah is his own special miracle. He is forever imprinted on our hearts.”

When I lost Elijah, it took me several weeks to recover physically. Emotionally I healed much faster. Seeing him as the miracle I did (and still do) soothed the hurt and ache. The following year, almost 14 months to the day, we miscarried another little one, this one at 18 weeks. That time around, I bounced back physically without any trouble, but emotionally I took a heavy hit. How thankful I am that I reached for my Bible during those days! This is what I wrote in May, 2000:

“...'Safe in the arms of Jesus' has taken on a whole new meaning for me and resting in God's sovereignty has kept me securely anchored. Reading God's Word has truly been a balm to my ragged spirit. In the midst of my grief my Bible reading brought me to Habakkuk and I found my spirit crying out with him, 'Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice int the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds' feet, and makes me walk on my high places.' (Hab. 3:18-19).

Through the blackness of my grief I saw the candlelight of God shining through. As I turned my focus from my loss to God's light the blackness began to recede. Yes, there's still grief, but grief without blackness is bearable. I long for my two boys who are safe in the arms of Jesus and I weep for them, but God's light and comfort are here, surrounding me. As a result I was able to sing through my tears 'My God how great Thou art!' and mean it with every fiber of my being! Worshiping God has made my feet sure and steady as I climb this rocky path, and this rocky path is bringing me into the Sonshine.

'...Then sings my soul, my Savior, God to Thee,
How great Thou art—HOW GREAT THOU ART!'

Just so you know, 8 months later we learned I was pregnant again and when fear threatened to choke me I had a verse to cling to—one I had found immediately after singing 'How Great Thou Art' when I was fighting tears that first Sunday back at church. It was Isaiah 41:13 “For you are the LORD my God who has declared, 'Do not fear, I will help you.'” Throughout my 36 week pregnancy I clung to that verse, knowing that even if we lost that baby too, He would help us through the grief. But there was only joy when Isaac was born 4 weeks early. And he's still a joy—just as our four other children here are.

One of my Faithwriter friends, Peter Stone, wrote a story that is simply wonderful. It was hard for me to read through my tears, but it was so worth it. There's healing in his story. ~ This Is Not The End ~ Thank you, Peter, for posting that story. The timing was from God.

He will cover you with His pinions,
and under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

~Psalm 91:4

Cyrus the Magnificent

Welcome to Fiction Friday! This week is hosted by Rhonda at Beach Reads. Be sure to join us there for links to some fun fiction.

Cyrus the Magnificent
“No! You ain't gonna court my daughter!” Cyrus slammed his hat on his head and glared at the young man. If the overgrown kid knew what was good for him, he'd turn tail and run, but he didn't look that smart.

Fred smirked. “She's old enough to make that decision herself. I'll see her whether you like it or not.”

The smirk on the kid's face infuriated Cyrus. He stepped closer and shoved a long finger under Fred's nose. “The only way you'll see her is over my dead body! And I can assure you that I won't die easily.”

“Old man, you gotta get with the times. Girls are--”

Cyrus flung out his arm, pointing out the barn doors. “Get off my property and don't you ever come back.”

Fred contorted his lips into an ugly laugh. “You cain't stop me, old man.”

“Get!” Cyrus roared, his face scarlet. “If you so much as look at one of my daughters you'll regret it!”

Fred backed toward the barn doors. “Old man, you're crazy if you think this will stop me. You just wait. I'm gonna marry Emmie, and there's nothing you can do to stop us.”

Cyrus grabbed a pitchfork, ready to use it. “I said get!”

Fred walked out the doors, laughing. But Cyrus noticed he didn't dawdle.

He stood watching as Fred mounted his horse rode away. When the kid was out of sight, he turned from the doors, stormed to an empty stall and sank the pitchfork back into the mound of hay.

Lucy entered from the other end of the barn, a smile curving her lips. Cyrus turned and studied her, his shoulders relaxing with just her presence. Had she heard?

“You're magnificent when you roar!” Lucy stood in front of him and smoothed her hands up his chest.

Yup. She heard. A smile eased his face and his hands rested on her full hips. “Magnificent, huh?”

“Mmm hmm. Magnificent.”

He dropped a hard kiss on her lips, his heart finally slowing. “How magnificent?”

Lucy laughed. “Magnificent enough to drag you into the tack room and bar the door.” She sighed. “But we can't. We need to get to the house. Gideon got in from the orchard when you were out here bellowing and I told him to stay and make sure Fred didn't circle around. Otherwise he and Evie would've been out here tacking Fred's hide to the wall.”

“I was ready to do that myself.” Cyrus nuzzled Lucy's mouth, peace settling around him like an afghan on a cold evening. “I'll collect later for being so magnificent.”

“I'm sure you will.” Her eyes danced but he could see the concern lurking.

He rested his cheek on her hair as he held her close for a moment.

“Was that the word we've been looking for?” Lucy asked.

“Yeah, I think it was.” Cyrus said, feeling Lucy's shoulders fall. “What're your thoughts?”

She pulled back and he could see her answer in her clear blue eyes. “I think it's time.”

“That's my thought, too.” He saw something more in her eyes. “But?”

Lucy looked over his shoulder for a moment, hesitating. He gave her time. She looked back at him and her fear was plain for just a moment. “There are so many dangers on the trail.”

She toyed with a button on his shirt, worrying her bottom lip with her teeth.

He gently lifted her chin with a scarred knuckle. “We don't have to go, you know.” Many times they had talked about the dangers of joining a wagon train and moving to Oregon.

Lucy turned and studied the pitchfork he had thrust into to the hay. Her shoulders rose and he could see determination pulling her chin up as if it were on a string.

“Yes, we do have to go.” She turned and looked back to Cyrus. Pain fired her determination. “I watched my sister be destroyed by an evil, lazy man and I'll not hand any of my daughters over to men like that. I'd rather lose them on the trail than have them suffer like my sister did.”

Cyrus fingered a curl of hair that had pulled free from the bun Lucy wore her hair in. It was silky between his calloused fingertips. “You're the bravest woman I've ever known, Lucy Maddox.” He snaked his arm up, reaching for hair pins. Maybe they could sneak into the tack room after all.

She swatted his arm, her pleasure twinkling out her eyes again. “Most likely the craziest, too. Come on. We need to go talk with the children, otherwise Gideon and Evie will be out here looking for us.”

“Long as you're crazy for me I'll be a happy man.” He pulled her under his arm and steered them to the house. “So, I was magnificent, huh?”

She hugged his waist. “You know I love it when you roar.”

This story is hot off the press--I just wrapped it up last night before shutting down early to relax with my family. Cyrus and Lucy Maddox are the parents of the main characters I'll be writing about in my next writing project, but I love them, so I thought I introduce them to you. Next week, hopefully, you'll get to meet their kids, well, at least a few of them. *wink* We'll see how the week goes...

Enough Already~Arise!

There are days and weeks when I wish I could crawl into a cave and hide. Do you know the feeling? It's usually when I'm in overload and tired enough to be envious on a bear's hibernation. Days when even talking is a too much for me. You know how it is—chances are you've been there, too.

Elijah was no stranger to feeling this way. He sat down under a Juniper tree and said to God, “It's enough.” How many times have we cried out 'Enough already!'? But what happened with Elijah? An Angel fed him and said, “Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.” (I Kings 19:1-8)

The journey is too great for us, too. We need to eat—but not just bread alone. We need the Bread of Life.
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” ~John 6:35

So, when we're crying 'Enough, already!' we need to fill up on Food that will carry us on our journey—whatever it is that God has for us. Without that Food, the journey will be too great for us.

Arise, my friend, and join me at the table.

ps~Today I'm at Exemplify Online's Blog, blogging about daffodils and lasting beauty. I'd love to see you there!

I Survived

My surprise crunch week is over and I survived! I'm so relieved!
Thank you to those who were praying me through--I know that some of you were and I greatly appreciate it! Hugs to you!

Sooooooo, being the cookie monster that I am, I decided to celebrate with the Girl Scout Cookie quiz that dear, sweet Kristen did. I drooled over those chocolate mint cookies--until my niece delivered my box, then I dove in face first. Oh, how I love those cookies! It's been years since I've had one, so they were a treat. I should have read the options closer though. I completely forgot about these ones, and according to the Girl Scout quiz at Blogthings, this is what I am:

You Are Peanut Butter Sandwiches / Do-si-dos

You are easy going and naturally happy. You don't need a lot to make you smile.

You genuinely care about people and are a great friend. You're always doing your best to make the world a better place.

Even though there isn't an immature bone in your body, you still are like a big kid sometimes.

Why make life complicated when the best parts are actually quite simple? You enjoy the small joys of life.

I love peanut butter and peanut cookies. Guess what kind I'll be ordering next year? Yup, Do-si-dos! Too bad I have to wait a year.

Over the next couple of days I'll be getting caught up on life--hope to see you there! LoL--sorry, I'm just a liiiiiittle slap-happy today.

Skirting the Truth, part 3

Welcome to Fiction Friday! This week Shirley is hosting at Sunny Glade, be sure to join us there for links to some fun fiction.

This week is the last installment of Reggie's story in 'Skirting the Truth'. If you missed them, here's part 1 and part 2.

Skirting the Truth, part 3

“Are you running away?” Earl asked.

“No, sir,” Regina quickly replied. “Well, not really,” she amended.

Earl's eyebrows rose. “Why don't you tell it to us straight, an don't leave nothing out.” His voice was gentle but firm, the same as it had been many other times.

Please don't let 'em send me back. “Ma married a man named Dennis five years ago, not knowing he was a drinker. He drank away most of the money we made doing laundry and such. My older sister, Beth, married and moved to Oregon last year.” Regina looked up at Earl, measuring his response.

“So she's not just a few trains ahead of us, like you told us?”

“No sir. She's a year ahead of us.” Regina swallowed nervously.

“Do you even know where she is in Oregon?” Earl asked.

“Willamette Valley.”

“Where in Willamette Valley?”

“Um, I don't know,” Regina hesitantly admitted.

Blowing out his breath, Earl flicked his whip on the flank of his lead ox. “Okay. Go on.”

“Ma died a couple months ago and Dennis was drunk all the time then. I left a month after she died and he never once looked for me. Lizzie told me you were thinking about hiring a boy to help you, and well, you know the rest from there.” I don't wanna hafta leave.

“So Dennis isn't looking for you?” Earl questioned.

“No sir. I was able to work for the hotel some and they let me sleep in the lean-to off the back of the kitchen. They was real kind, but...well, I couldn't stay much longer.” Regina unconsciously grimaced.

“Was Dennis a mean drunk?” Myra asked after a moment.

Regina shivered. “Yeah. Real mean.”

Earl looked at Myra, his jaw tight.

“Why don't you go gather some chips for the fire and give me and Earl a chance to talk,” Myra said with a small smile.

“Yes'm.” Regina went to get the gunny sack from the wagon, but turned back. “Thank you for letting me explain.” Then she snatched up the sack and trotted off to gather chips as she had many other times.

Earl rubbed the whiskers on his jaw. “You believer her?”

“Yes, I do. Every word of it,” Myra said emphatically.

“Yeah, me too,” Earl breathed. His hand tightened on his whip. “Makes me wish I could get my hands on that man.”

“She's safe with us now,” Myra reminded him.

“Yeah, she is. It sure does explain a lot, don't it?” Earl chuckled. “Like not wanting to go swimming with us men. I guess it's a good thing I didn't throw her in like I threatened to do if'n she didn't bathe.” His laughter suddenly died. “I wasn't working her too hard was I?”

“No, I don't think so. There was no sign of it at least,” Myra assured him.

Earl smiled at Myra. “You're really wanting to adopt her now, aren't you'?”

Myra could only nod. “Do you think God's giving us a girl after losing the babies?”

“I don't know, but I sure hope so. I guess we'll have to wait and see.”

Later that evening Regina was playing marbles with the boys again, feeling guilty for the first time. Lizzie flounced up, holding something behind her back.

The boys elbowed each other, groaning. “Git outta here, Lizzie.”

“We told you, Lizzie, no gossiping girls.”

“And I told you at the nooning that I don't gossip. If'n I did I would have told on Reggie a long time ago.”

“Huh? What's she talking about, Reggie?”

Aw, not now, Lizzie. I'm not ready yet.

Lizzie thrust a handful of fabric at Reggie. “Here. Ma said I could share one of my dresses with you till you can git one of your own.”

“Reggie don't need no dress!”

“You're crazy, girl.”

Regina ignored the boys and reached out to take the dress. “How long have you known?” she croaked.

“I knew that first week but I didn't say anything.” Lizzie looked triumphantly at the boys. “See! I told you I don't gossip.”

The boys looked at Regina, thunderstruck. “Yer a girl?”

That's the end of this story. Okay, that's all I have written of Reggie's story at this point. She might come back out someday, though. I hope you enjoyed her as much as I enjoyed writing about her!

I'm taking an online writing class, and at the moment I'm swamped and just barely keeping my nose above water. (how's that for a cliche overload? LoL) I should be caught up and able to breathe next week. Until then I'm gasping and working like crazy. Hugs to each of you.

Kettle Club!

I've been looking forward to this all month! Today is the February Wrap Up for the Kettle Club that Kristen at Exemplify Online's Blog initiated a month ago. The Kettle Club is a group of bloggers that have committed to reading their Bible before jumping into blogland. Kristen, our fearless leader, has posted some discussion questions that you can read here, but I'm just going to jump in...

I'm doing a cover-to-cover read through of the Bible again this year, and I'm reading chronologically. Currently I'm in Deuteronomy, so my mind is full of Israel's wanderings. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through the Pentateuch, and Joanne's Ponderings at Exemplify's blog have made it even better! (Thank you, JoDear!)

One of the reasons I love reading the Bible chronologically is because it puts everything into perspective for me, and helps me see and understand better. Reading cover-to-cover is definitely something I'd recommend to people—especially reading through chronologically.

I used to do my Bible reading at night, sitting in bed, when all was quiet and peaceful. I love reading my Bible then, but I've changed my ways. I now read during the day, often mid-morning, once the kids are settled into their school day. It means that I have many more distractions and interruptions, which I don't like, but (and this is a big but!!) but my kids now see me consistently reading and studying God's Word—with pen in hand and across the room from my computer. My email could be pinging in like crazy (LoL—and often is!) but I keep my tail in my chair and do my Bible reading. It has been worth every single interruption and distraction! You wanna know why? Because now my kids are following my silent example! That makes it worth it!!

There have been times I've almost drawn blood from biting my tongue, and there have been times I've shamed myself with my responses to the kids over the interruptions—but they've been learning times for me, and I'm getting better. I see the kids pulling out their Bibles, and that's why I'm reading while they're up. If I blow it with consistently poor responses, the kids will be driven away from God's Word, and that consequence is just too high. It makes me really stop and think (and pray!), which is good.

Doing my Bible reading before my computer time/work starts helps me keep cyber-things (and daily life things!) in balance—much better than doing it at bedtime did! It also helps me not feel so overwhelmed when weeks like this one comes along. ::eye roll::

Bible memory is something I'm trying to get back into. I keep forgetting to get over to the LPM blog (Beth Moore), but I love what's going on over there. For March I want to memorize 2-4 verses. Very doable for me—if I remember (which is pathetic, but true). Hopefully by posting that here again, I'll do better.

Some nuggets from this past month:
How God called Bezalel by name, filled him with the Spirit in wisdom so he could fulfill what it was God called him to do. (Exodus 31:2-3, 35:30-35)

From Korah's Rebellion (Numbers 16) I learned about Shrouded Responsibilities, and it's really changed my view on doing things I don't understand—which is something that I've really struggled with.

There's more, but I'm hoping to blog about them soon—but probably not this week!

This month I'm taking an online class, and it's going to take more than I anticipated. That's okay, but I really want to learn as much as possible from the class. It's going to take even more juggling and balancing—and that's a prayer request. I feel God has called me to write, which means learning and preparing as much as I can. I know that He will enable me, as He did Bezalel, but I also have to be responsible and study and practice.

Don't forget to join us at Exemplify Online's Blog for links to other Kettle Club members! They're a terrific group of ladies!

Join me

Today, over at Exemplify Online's Blog I blogged about my husband being gone on a business trip. Join me there to see what happens when he's gone. (Thankfully he's home now and life is back to normal--whatever that is. LoL)

Be sure to check out the other posts over there at Exemplify Online's Blog, too. There's some super bloggers that you don't want to miss!

This week is a busy one for me, with several things converging all on one week. (You guys know how that goes sometimes. *eye roll*) Our church has revival services through Wednesday night, and I'm soaking up the extra worship and preaching. It's been wonderful. I really haven't forgotten you guys, my plate is just barely big enough at the moment...I should be back to almost normal by the end of the week.

Hugs to each of you!


Gathering At the Well

Today I'm At The Well with a wonderful group of women! Chelsey put together some super discussion questions about Persistence--be sure to join us there! I'm really looking forward to seeing what the ladies have to say about this one!

The discussion questions are:

Think about your daily life as a wife, mother and child of God.
What are some ways that you have persisted when you have been knocked down?
How have these circumstances brought glory to the Father?

Be sure to join us At the Well!

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