embracing life and letting God



me·mo·ri·al[ mə máwree əl ]
commemorative: intended as a reminder of a person or event or as a celebration of somebody's life and work

Me·mo·ri·al Day

U.S. holiday: a public holiday to commemorate soldiers who died in war.

OK.   So.   Today I may get a little weepy on you and I may even get a little political but it just has to be done. 
Memorial Day is Monday.  A day to remember the men and women who died while in service to the Armed Forces and to remember those who are serving for us today. 
"Your silent tents of green

We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours."

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow -

Honestly, though, do we really REMEMBER?  Do we really take time to stop and remember what these men and women have done for us, so that we can live in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave?  How many of us say a prayer for the families that served/serve in our armed forces, fighting with others to obtaining their freedom as well as fighting for ours, on Memorial Day?  Do we take time to share with our children what this holiday truly stands for?  Or do we take time off of work to eat, drink and be merry. Don't get me wrong, I love a good BBQ and time with my family too.  But...
I guess, in my own guilt, I am confessing I do not really take time to show my support, the way I should, for those who have fought and died, lived and sacrificed, stood in the face of the enemy in courage in the wars of this world.  I have complained about my own silly inconveniences, ["when will my husband be home from work to help me out?"] when wives and children of the military wait daily to hear from daddy, wondering if he will ever get to come home.
I have been deeply moved this week by images that keep rising up before me in preparation of this holiday.  The flags on the graves in Arlington; mother's sitting at the foot of the grave of their child; wives receiving a folded flag honoring the sacrifice their husbands made; the children standing at attention, saluting during the funeral of their father or mother.
"No one has greater love than the one who gives his life for his friends." -John 15:13
A simple article written last year called "The Big Picture: Memorial Day 2009" by Alan Taylor, the images overwhelmed me with a sense of how much courage it takes to be the parent, wife, husband or child of a person serving in the military.  By God's Grace and strength unknown they keep living, remembering their loved ones who stood bravely in the face of the enemy just by signing up.
The Pioneer Woman is featuring  a special photography assigment called "Coming Home".  I have rejoiced over these precious photos, praising God for those who were able to wrap their arms around sons, husband, fathers, who came home safely.  I have silently wept for those whose Coming Home was wrapped in the Flag of the United States of America.

The Tomb of the Unknowns or Unknown Soldier 
"...a monument dedicated to American servicemen/women who have died without their remains being identified. It is located in Arlington National Cemetery in the United States." (wikipedia)

Here, unknown soldiers are interred, the funerals of which were presided over by current presidents, are from World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.  This tomb is guarded by the Tomb Guard, considered one of the highest honors to serve.  These very special guards "Walk the Mat"  in a very meticulous format. "The Tomb of the Unknowns has been guarded continuously, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, since July 2, 1937. Inclement weather does not cause the watch to cease."  Visit here to learn more about this prestigious responsibility that is taken very seriously by our  military servicemen/women. 

On a side note, I have to say I am dissappointed that our President has forsaken his charge, and opted to not attend the Memorial Day tradition of the Laying of the Wreath at the Tomb.  But, I will never know what sacrifice it is for him and his family to live day-in and day-out in the office of President either.  Moving on...

Friends, take time, with your loved ones this weekend, to remember what those who died serving our country with honor, as well as those who serve currently, have done for YOU and Your Family - they Fought/Fight for Freedom.  Thank a soldier whenever you can.  They need to know we stand with them!  They live the life of the well-known Latin phrase used by the Marines "Semper Fidelis"  Always Faithful! 

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God Who Knows Our Heart

The Man Who Meant Well
Simon also called Peter
the one whom Christ said

"you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church,
and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."  -Matthew 16:18...

The one who said,

"I will lay down my life for you [Jesus]." -John 13:37

...the one who loved Jesus so, was also the one who fell the most serving Christ with all of his heart.

This same man called Peter, rebuked, denied and disowned Christ.  He promised...

"Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will." -Matthew 26:33

"Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." -Matthew 26:35

And yet he did.

But God knew his heart.

Have we not all done the same?

Sin will fascinate and then assassinate.

Sin will thrill and then kill.

Sin appears pretty, but ends painful.

Sin promises much, but delivers little.

Sin will take you further than you're willing to go.

Hold you longer than you want to stay.

When sin no longer convicts, no longer stings our heart with regret, no longer causes us to cry over our failings or fear falling, then we are in danger. When we are no longer sensitive to sin, we are no longer sensitive to our God.

But... But, when our sin is deeper, God's grace is greater.  He says, "If you love me, I can still restore you."

When we fall before our Lord and weep over our sins, crying out to him, "I am sinful"; as David,

"LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger, or discipline me in your wrath ...  Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love." -Psalm 6:1,4 

God knows our heart.

"All I need to know is, DO YOU LOVE ME?" -Jesus

"The Man Who Meant Well" -Jentezen Franklin

What can wash away my sin?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Now by this I’ll overcome—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
Now by this I’ll reach my home—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

RefrainGlory! Glory! This I sing—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Silver and gold I do not have, what I have I give you. In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, be whole!
In Christ Alone,
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I Did It!

Kim, Michele, Me - in all our sweaty glory
[could not have done this without them - thank you girls!]

fear [ feer ]

feeling of anxiety: an unpleasant feeling of anxiety or apprehension caused by the presence or anticipation of danger

frightening thought: an idea, thought, or other entity that causes feelings of fear

reverence: respect or awe for somebody or something

F.E.A.R.  False Evidence Appearing Real! 

It may seem strange to blog on the subject of fear, but the main purpose of this adventure I am on here in blog-world is to encourage you to step out of the boat and walk in faith. And so I wanted to share my latest victory over  fear. 

I recently turned 40 years old.  And as that age tends to do to ones body, I had begun having aches and pains that quite frankly freaked me out.  My mind played tricks on me.  Arthritis, peri-menopause, menopause, heart attack, cancer, UGH!!!..... oh, no, my body is shutting down and I am only 40!  Whoa is me...Enough already! [Yes, I am a bit dramatic, at times, stick with me it will pass] So, due to a year of stress, my body was telling me to stop, settle down, make some changes, and get healthy again.

That's when I was given the opportunity to attend a scout camping trip and 35 mile bike ride with my son.  A couple of my girl friends decided to go also.  So, I said, "you know what, I can do this!"  Then the  training started.  We had about 5 weeks to prepare. I walked and rode on my bike to gain more endurance.  I was doing alright!  I kept telling myself "I can do this".

And then.... and then, we decided to ride 10 miles, at our State park the week before the Big Weekend.  You know, just for pratice, to see how much we could acomplish. Oh my stinkin' heck! 

They could have warned me just a little.  I kid, I really knew what I was getting into.  It was a breeze when I drove it in my Car!  Anyway, I thought I was going to keel over right there on those hills.  My legs were screaming, my heart was in tachycardia...Do you know what tachycardia is?  Let me tell ya:

tach·y·car·di·a [ tàkee ka'ardee ə ]

rapid heart rate: an excessively rapid heartbeat which exceeds NORMAL range - AAAAA!!!!
I was ready to crawl into a ball and quit right there.  And then panic set in.  "If I can't do this how am I going to conquer 25 miles the first day, let alone 10 more the next?"  There was no way.  "I am going to be the only mom there to embarass the heck out of my boy because I can't do it."  The pressure was on.  I had to say to this mountain "be removed and cast into the sea".  Yes, I am aware this seems dramatic but this is my life and how I process - go with me here.  Someone needed this message, trust me. 
Well, by God's grace He used my husband, my children, my sweet friends and scout leaders and the man at the bike shop, to encourage me. 
"I can do ALL (not some, not a few, not one, ALL) things through Christ who Strengthens me!"
-Philippians 4:13
I spent the week walking in faith, trusting in God to help me overcome what really was nothing but me getting in the way of something deep down knew I could do.  Even if it meant I walked my bike half way, I could do this. 
The big day arrived and I was actually really excited.  We had not slept all that much the night before and got up at 5:30 am.  I was still unsure.  But, there was no turning back now.  Here we go...
We drove to Cedartown, Georgia to the Cedartown Depot.  Potty break!

Here our journey began on the Silver Comet Trail.  Beautiful!  Absolutely, beautiful.  The trail is full of honeysuckle, ligustrum, kudzu, small farms, creeks, rivers, bridges and a few tunnels.  Oh, and did I mention we saw 3 snakes and not the good kind.  Just keep on ridin'.  The trail is such an easy ride.  Flat for the majority of the time and fun.
Halfway point the GA/AL stateline
where the Chief Ladiga Trail began

Look at my boy!  I am so proud of him!
He knocked out this trail like it was nothing!

The last leg of the trail was smooth and difficult and invigorating.  But knowing that I had already accomplished so much, without getting off my bike, accept for rests with the group had me wanting more.  I loved it!  It was a blast to be with this group, sharing this experience with them, helping them when they needed a push. 

25 Miles later I did it!  Prayers had been answered, miles had been conquered and I actually did it!  I felt great.  It was a lot like child birth.  You labor to get to the finish line and then your ready to do it again.  Next year it's 50 miles.  Better start training now! 

Thank you for listening...er...reading!
Bless you sweet friend,
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It's Not Too Late to Evaluate, Prioritize and Organize

di-jest: organize something systematically: to organize something into a system, often through selective condensing of the various items

Hi Friends,

I am Spotlighting a new 'Digest' I read recently written for families who are looking for creative ideas to save money and time...

"Molly's Money-Saving Digest January 2010: Evaluate, Prioritize, Organize."

Now, I have to start by saying I am not the most frugal or organized person in the world  [just ask my hubby].  So when I became aware of these monthly digests, I think I was afraid 'Money-Saving' meant being cheap.  I guess I am more of the "if I have the money and it is what we need, buy it!"  I don't always take the time to look for the best deals, on-sale items or at clearance racks.  Hmmm...sound like OCSBS (Only Child Spoiled Brat Syndrome)?   I guess I thought it would be too much trouble.  Been there?  Well, with this economy and the uncertainty of the future it is time I rid myself of my inner-brat and get on board the money-saving train. 

Then, there is the whole organization of my home, finances and time.  I have confessed on this blog before, I am a recovering perfectionist and it's all or nothing with me sometimes.  I am always searching for new ideas on how to simplify my life and bring peace to our family through order and organization.

This digest series will definitely help.  At $4.95, January's installment of  The Old Schoolhouse's E-book, "Molly's Money-Saving Digest", is filled with fun, pocketbook-friendly ideas for decorating, cooking, menu planning, and getting our finances, time and 'stuff in order.  There are easy to implement, creative ideas. Included is a wonderful article on how to open and maintain a checking account.  I know adults who still struggle in this area.  Something for all ages, even our teenagers would benefit from much of the information in this easy to read and easy to use E-book. 

I am what the introduction describes as one who is 'trying to force 36 hours worth of expectation into a 24 hour day'.  It NEVER works!  "Molly" encourages us to evaluate, prioritize, and organize our lives!  She is simply to the point.  No fluff.  Her  encouragement to evaluate time drains [Internet anyone?], leave as many blank days on your calendar as you can making family-time most important, and getting your 'life' in order.  All of her ideas are simple and practical.  For those of us who are organizationally challenged "Molly" makes the way  less complex.  I so need that.  Other articles include:

  • Easy Pie crust with Pie filling 'magic trick' from Martha Greene/ Marmee Dear
  • Special dates to remember - did you know there is actually a 'Cuddle-up Day' January 6th
  • Forms galore for budgeting, clothing inventory, calendar, to-do list
  • Kids corner
  • Frugal decorating
  • And more...
You know how much I love e-books, instant download!  Even more than getting it right away, there is an extensive directory of instant links within this e-book to connect to websites concerning every subject discussed.  When we have the tools we can save, save, save. 


From my heart,

Molly's Money-Saving Digest January, 2010: Evaluate, Prioritize, Organize
2010 The Old Schoolhouse, LLC
P. O Box 8426
Gray, TN 37615

Other issues of "Molly" can be found in The Old Schoolhouse Store:
Molly's Money-Saving Digest February 2010: Living the Good Life Frugally
Molly's Money-Saving Digest March 2010: Spring is in the Air, Frugal Choices Everywhere!
Organize With Molly: Organization Bundle
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Pioneer Woman's Annviersary - She's giving away free gifts!

For those of you who are P-dub's fans you are going to want to go on over and visit her blog this week.  She is celebrating her 4th Anniversary. 

Funny stories such as "Grandma Iny's Booger"

Daily give-aways [see pic above]  http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/

Beautiful photographs for the enthusiasts and the novice

Stuffed French Toast
[Mother's Day]

New recipes like Stuffed French Toast

And the list goes on.  You are not going to want to miss this.  Get a good laugh and maybe a New Goodie.  The Pioneer Woman!

From my heart,
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Help Lord, I'm Getting Ready to Homeschool My High Schooler Review

"Lord, I thank you for these children You have entrusted to us.  Help us, as they are growing into young adults, to continue to teach them well, to train their characters to be conformed to Your Holy One, to give them room to grow, and to ground them in Your Word.  Thank you, In the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen." - Mary Tanksley

Since the first day our homeschool journey began three years ago, family, friends and ladies at the check-out counters want to know, 'Why do you homeschool?'  The question that most often follows is, "Are you planning to homeschool through high school?" Outwardly, I answer confidently, "I believe that is God's will for our family but, we go into each new year as He directs us".  Inwardly, nervous anticipation begins to rise at the reality of homeschooling a high school student.   

When asked to review a book for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, I was honored. When I saw the title, I was thrilled! As I am about to launch in to the High School years, "Help, Lord, I'm Getting Ready to Homeschool My High  Schooler" could not have come at a better time.  
"It is God who girds me with strength and makes my way perfect"
-Psalm 18:22

"Help, Lord, I'm Getting Ready to Homeschool My High Schooler!", is an E-book from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.  As I journeyed through the pages of the lives of these families, I was edified in my own journey.  These stories, from mom's and dad's, daughter's and son's, share from the heart the lessons the Lord instilled in them while schooling at home.  They were just like you and me.  They had their doubts and fears, and expectations that were not always in God's plan for their family.  Their testimonies prove, that no matter what situation the Lord set before them, they found themselves drawing closer to Him for their strength.  He always showed them the way and placed just the right people and resources in their path to guide them.

These homeschoolers share their triumphs and struggles, rejoicings and heartaches, wisdom and times of foolishness, giving those of us who are 'up-and-coming' the courage to take a step of faith no matter how 'qualified' we are or are not.  In the end their ministry to us is that the Lord always knows what is best and He will show us the way in which we should go.  Whether it's curriculum, learning disabilities, co-ops, dual enrollment, He is in control.  God has a call on our lives, first to the faith and character of our children and then to their knowledge. 
"When there was a desire with no way to fulfill it, we prayed and sought God's best. Sometimes another door would open. Sometimes we walked together past a closed door. It wasn't easy or perfect, but isn't that real life? We wanted them to learn to see God's hand and trust His voice for themselves while the stakes were not as high and to develop their own wisdom and life-handling 'muscles' while we were on hand to encourage them."  - Lynn Fote

"Even our best-laid plans may not fit God's design for our children. We truly have to study His Word, pray, and trust Him to guide and direct us each step of the way." -Leatrice Lanier

  • How a child who may not thrive on textbooks or worksheets, may flourish with unit studies and hands-on activities.
  • What one mother discovered about her dyslexic child with headaches and how that related to her learning ability.
  • Should your student take college courses (dual enrollment) during high school?
  • How Bible, character training and chores are all a part of real-life learning.
  • How homeschool moms and dads may have added too many outside activities and how simplifying brought peace back to the home.
  • How we can succeed even teaching subjects that are not our forte.
  • The flexibility that homeschooling provides to allow students to dive deeper into the areas that interest them the most.
  • Ideas on choosing a curriculum, scheduling, real-life education and learning successfully with disabilities.
  • How field trips, clubs, sports, missionary trips and co-ops give your student more opportunities to make new and lasting friendships while allowing them to grow and mature.

The high school years can be intimidating. But, just as the Lord has taught parents "on the job", so it is with Homeschooling.  "Help, Lord, I'm Getting Ready to Start Homeschooling My High Schooler!" is a wonderful book that I recommend all homeschool parents read, even those who may have already embarked on those High School years.  The encouragement and honesty is invaluable. I would like to encourage you as you read through these testimonies, to not let yourself become envious of the successes they share.  These victories come after many years of "going through" and come from their hearts to let you know that you can do it!

This easy to read, 122 page E-book, will be a resource you return to time and time again to remind yourself why you homeschool as you continue the journey the Lord has set before you and your child. It is your instant homeschool support group from homeschooler's who have 'been there'. They want you to know that you can do it while leaning on, and trusting in the Lord! 

 "Help, Lord, I'm Getting Ready to Homeschool My High Schooler!" 
"God is faithful and His is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him"   -Deborah Wuehler

Here's how to purchase: (click on the link below)
$12.45 (E-book, pdf, instant download after purchase)
The Homeschool Magazine.com
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
P. O. Box 8426
Gray, TN 37615

Other resources from The Old Schoolhouse Store:

Download N Go Unit Studies
E-books on many different subjects
Learning Styles and Teaching Helps
and much, much more!  Enjoy!

Disclaimer: as required by the FTC - I received this product free of charge for review purposes only. I was not paid for my review, they are strictly my personal opinion.

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