Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I Have No Title for This One

So after a 2 week internet fast I'm slowly making my way back. I didn't miss it as much as I thought I would. I was also surprised that I didn't have a bunch of free time on my hands without it. While not my intention I secretly thought I'd get unfinished projects completed and cupboards cleaned out.
None of that happened.

I will say it was nice to do life without the internet. I did wonder about my friends in the blogosphere, what were they doing, who had babies, who had what tips for me, I wondered what I was missing out on...

So I'm back and right now I sitting at my friends dining room table typing this on her laptop. She's in the hospital after having baby #3 on Friday. I came Thursday night and settled in while Momma made the trip to the hospital. The boys woke on Friday fairly early, one happy the other telling me to "get out". It got better, much better.

Time goes by so quick. Running all over with a two year old came back to me faster than I thought. Makes me think about each day I have with my teenagers. Each minute is so precious, after all I'm not even guaranteed another one.

Man, God's been working on my heart lately. I wish I could put it into words but these last few weeks and this weekend has really stretched me spiritually. Maybe it's life with a 2-year old, maybe it's lack of sleep. Whatever it is I simply do not want to take for granted any time, any opportunity.

My focus has been changing.
Not that my focus has been way off, but then again maybe it has.
I'm beginning to look at what I want in life very differently.
See when I'm 42- my youngest will be on his own.

I mean Lord willing he'll be on his own.
I've given thought about those years. What I'd do, where I'd work, if I'd work, if I'd travel, if I'd be helping orphans or missionaries in third world countries, and on and so on.

But I'm not 42, I'm 34.
I'm not guaranteed my 40's. I'm not guaranteed tomorrow- so that leaves my today.

My today with my kids.
My today with my husband,
my today with family, friends, today with those I come into contact with, who I pass on the street, talk with on the phone, stand next to in the check out, sit with each Wednesday night.

It changes how I look at what I should do with my money, with my time, with my efforts and energy.

'Cause ya know I had a thought about an "emergency fund"- aren't there emergencies all around me happening right now. Children not eating, not having shoes or running water. And yes I mean around me in my state, in my county, in my town.
Children going hungry in my own town. Hurts my heart.

Anyway, I've had time to think.
Now comes the acting. What steps do I now take.
Now comes what I am least good at.

But not my strength, not my will.

So that's the ramblings of a house-sitting, babysitting, little sleep getting, lots of exercise lady who is trying to live more for Christ and less for herself.

Goodnight Mom

We miss you!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Night Fun!

My adventure in babysitting this weekend has been fun so far. We've hit the park, McD's, run errands and of course we visited the hospital to see baby sister. Can you believe I forgot my camera?
I'm not jogging at all and keeping up with a 2 year old is busy stuff. We've climbed everything higher than us and run everywhere- I forgot walking comes at a later age.
It's such a blessing to be around little ones again, lots to learn from them. well, signing off for now.

He's Two

I was sitting right across the table from him.
It's like he knows magic or something because when I looked up he was covered with his snack and a good portion was mushed up on the table.

He was happy, really, who wouldn't be after this much fun thier their food.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'm Back for a Second

Wow! Has it been 2 weeks already? It seems like a drop in the bucket of time. Tuesday night I wondered if I'd be able to write on here again so soon.
These past two weeks have been busy, relaxing, peaceful and fun!

This time of year is busiest at work with both our middle and high schoolers heading out to conferences within a month of each other.
We're also getting a prayer bookmark thing going with our Sunday School kids.
Tomorrow the last of the trips leave and March usually proves to be a little quieter; although there is a trip in March and another in April. Hmm... it may not slow down?
Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend our church's women's retreat at Lake Swan. My favorite weekend of the year and this year didn't disappoint. (see above picture)
I spent some great time with Justin an took in a karate lesson of his more than I had in the months before.
I painted an entire room and have yet to put the room back in there. So my sewing room/den/office is spread out between the living and dinning room. It's not bothering me today. We better get some sort of new flooring down in there before the plus side of my B+ personality creeps in.

Let's see, what else happened. I finished another book. This time is was a light read: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

We visited a friend from high school at his parents retirement house 30 minutes away. he was a groomsmen in our wedding and a staple in our early years of marriage. It was neat to see him and his parents and have them meet our boys at this stage in their lives. (see above picture)

Well, tonight I'm headed to my friend's house to stay with her boys as she goes and has a baby tomorrow. They leave the house at 5am, so I figured I'd settle in tonight and get ready for a weekend with an 8 and 3 year old.
I hope to jump back on here, I've more to share.

I've gotten to spend some time with God and seeking Him and reading His Word, my heart has been changing over the past several months and years; over these past few days it's been yearning for more. I am excited to see what lies ahead.

Until I write again,

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Internet Fast

Today starts a 2 week internet fast for me.
No blog writing or reading.
No FB.
No e-mail returning or reading outside of work.
Myspace? It will still stick around for work and ministry purposes. But only those purposes.
Please be in prayer for me as I seek God in a few areas in my life during this time.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Magic Cookie Obsession

I am in the middle of making my third,
count it, 1, 2, 3,
batch of Magic Cookie Bars in like a week! Actually it will be a week tomorrow- YIKES!
I had forgotten how yummy these were.
Sooo, I thought it being the Sweet Month, I'd share the recipe.
You can go here and get a 13x9 inch pan recipe with measurements, or you can just do what I do:
Gather supplies:
  • 5 Tbsp butter
  • Graham cracker crumbs, I like to make my own, put a package of graham crackers in a large plastic bag and roll out with a rolling pin until crumbs
  • Chocolate chips
  • Coconut
  • Nuts, I use pecans, but you can use whatever you have around
  • Small can sweetened condensed milk
  • 8 x 8 pan

Melt butter in microwave
Add enough graham crackers so the mixture is somewhat firm
Spread into bottom of pan, pressing it down tightly

Pour condensed milk over the top of graham cracker base, enough to cover. I don't think it really matters how much you use.

Sprinkle with chopped nuts, coconut and chips
Again, I don't think it really matters what order or how much, I tend to go heavier on the chocolate chips *smile*

Variations: add peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips

I prefer the straight up way and also you MUST, MUST have some when they are gooey and hot out of the oven.

I figure since I'm training for this 5k, chuckling at myself, but, since I am running this thing I'm trying to over-kill the sweets so they make me sick and I give them up altogether? OK, just give me a week I'll be over my sweet kick ;-)

More on the 5k thing when I have a week under my belt,
until them- Happy Eats!!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Orlando Greek Fest

Last Friday at the Home School Greek Fest, Lisa told me about the upcoming Orlando Greek Fest. So, Sunday after church we loaded up in three cars along with some friends and Yiayia and Papou and headed to the fest.
Only the Greek's are so obsessed with themselves ...
Some of the gang.
The food line was long but had good view of the dancers, if yo look close you'll see money flying in the air. Greek tradition: finding any excuse to give money away to children. My boys walked away with $5 each from Papuo, just because.
Vaughan and Scott held out place in line while we roamed around.
We ate on the grass, all the tables were filled. The 2 Jeff's- the original rock star of the group!
Debbie and I enjoying the food, drinks and conversation.
My Greek stud. Which is time I add that we were not the only blond-haired, blue-eyed Greeks there. We were in the minority, but not the only ones. Also, not the only tall Greeks there.
And then there was food, no Greek gathering is complete without food, and lots of it! That's the key to a Greek event, cook all day and cook too much!
Loukoumades, Greek donuts, yummy!
My personal favorite: Saganaki, flaming cheese! Here he is putting out the flame with lemon juice! I'm going to make this on day.
Here we are: the Spanos'
Of course we toured the church. Beautiful.
We planned on going for a few hours and stayed over 4! For the most part it was sitting around talking. Fellowship. The Greek's get that. All they need is some food, family and friends, a few bottles of Ouzo and or beer, music and an afternoon.
I'm already excited for Greek Easter on April 19th. I'd encourage you to gather your friends around a table of food and enjoy an afternoon together.
I also am planning to post a Greek recipe here soon, I am just getting the OK from Yiayia on what I can share. I know it won't be the Baklava or tiropita- those are unique to the family- sorry.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Hme Scool Greek Fest

*I had to leave the title because my keyboard is freakin out and I never thought to spellcheck the title, I noticed the mistake when I previewed the posting, how funny that home and school were the 2 misspelled words!

We were invited to attend a Greek Fest a friends house today. What a blast!
The food was great, we had. We had a humus, a Greek dip, Moussaka, Spanokapita and Baklava. All home made and all delicious!

We made the spanakopita! Yiayia's recipe from Greece- Justin made it this year and did an awesome job!

When we arrived the kids wrote their names in Greek.

We were encouraged to come in Ancient Greek dress, here's Amanda and Santori. I did try to get Amanda to walk and work to help spur on labor- we want to see this baby girl!
Oh, I think I heard "don't take a picture of my shoes." I try to be a good friend and listen.

Sitting around at our symposium, discussing what makes people happy and their favorite mythological characters.
Then it was outside for a pentathlon. Great climbing trees at this house!
Justin watching Shane throw the javelin. They also threw the discus, did the long jump, ran a short foot race and arm wrestled.
Eating all that yummy food.

The whole group of them. It was nice to be included in his event. As you can see,Justin is quite a it bit taller, and older, than most of the kids. He had a great time and does so well with younger ones, plus Faith, the only girl, is a good friend of his. I had a great time as well, we stayed well after it was over ad visited. I am so blessed to have such a great group of friends.

I'm thankful for Lisa fr putting this on and inviting us, I look forward to participating in some other events they host.
Happy schooling days!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

New TV

I've been rearranging furniture again.
Let me explain...

We were given a 42-inch rear projection, HD ready, television. The only problem was that our entertainment center certainly wouldn't house it, so we had to move it.

The entertainment center will eventually move in the back room/office/sewing room/den, but it can't go in there right now because, hopefully, Lord willing, we'll be putting down new floors in that room sometime this month, and moving that piece of furniture around doesn't make sense. So Steve if you're reading this, now you know what you're doing on your days off.

So we moved the new tv in the old tv spot, and the old tv went about 6 feet to the left of the new tv.

Now, to make room for the entertainment center in the back room/office/sewing room/den we had to take out a dresser that was there.

We moved that dresser to the dining room.
That dresser replaced a shoe rack, yeah I know who puts a shoe rack in their dining room? Um, we do.
Anyway, the shoe rack went out to the entryway/mud room.
Boy his sounds like that Bert and Ernie book where Bert is wearing a pot on his head instead of his cowboy hat because his cowboy hat had the fish in it and the fish were in the....

Back to furniture rearranging.
Here's the new dining room:
And yes home school has exploded in there,welcome to my dinning room table.
Here's a closeup of the dresser from the back room that is now in the dinning room. It still has my embroidery thread in the top drawer, an empty middle drawer and maps in the bottom.
The new television:
The boys are thrilled, I still have a hard time with it's constant glaring at me. If you know us me you know we I don't place a high priority on tv's so our poor children have been with an old school television so a long time- this new one thrills them and I am outnumbered so it stays. Xbox takes on a whole new meaning!

So now the old entertainment center is sitting next to the bookcases it once fit so perfectly between. Yep, we just moved it over and hooked it back up- so now one child can be playing PS2 on the old TV and another the Xbox on the new tv and if we really want to perfect our couch potato skills, we'll watch a move on the picture in picture on the new tv while the X box and PS 2 are being played. Did I mention we're all in the same room, sitting within 12 feet of one another wile this is going on?
Fun for boys not-so-fun for mom's who like a fairly decent looking home.
The life of a mom! Lovin' it!

For Vanessa

This is for my new friend Vanessa.
It was this post of hers that inspired this post of mine (I'm even considering running a 5k this Spring thanks to her??)

I knew I liked her for more than her blogging and cool tatoo.
Anyway, I'll think of you Vanessa when I wear this t-shirt!
You, me and all the middle school girls !!


Wednesday, February 04, 2009


What a great night at 33oC this week!
Two BIG things for me.
#1 a young man who was active at youth all through middle school, went to New Orleans with us, had slipped away and HE CAME TONIGHT!!! I had a great talk with him. Life's crazy at his house and he came to the realization that Jesus could give the peace he was looking for. This thrills me!

#2 One of my girls read her Bible this week, creation through Noah and had questions! Did you read that:
Rock on! I've been praying and praying for some spiritual depth and movement in these girls- PTL I see movement!!

Kevin was gone so that put me in the MC spot and Les taught the main session. Our numbers were good, even though it was chilly cold outside and our stand-in techie did a great job (and he's only 12!).

Besides the fact that our Lifeguards (name for our adult leaders at youth) don't aid in the cleaning up process, the evening went well!

When God is in it- it can't go wrong.

I love working in Student Ministries- it's nights like tonight that make all the bad times slip far away in my mind!

PS my sweet "J" in my small group is really growing dearer to my heart. She is begining to think beyond herself and I just love her!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Treehouse Schoolhouse No Longer Meets in the Trees

Home schooling doesn't get easier, is always changing and challenging.
I'm thoroughly convinced of that.
Just when we get into a routine, when we've made great progress in our studies something happens.

Life usually.

Whatever it is is throws a wrench into it all.
We get behind, we miss days, lessons take weeks instead of days to get through.
Other times we get thrown by attitude changes, hormones (from student and teacher) and then there's the fun stuff.
With Vaughan we stayed pretty well on track. That's his personality more than mine. He would sit down and determine to get school done asap, which usually meant by 10am, then I had a pre-adolescent boy to entertain for the rest of the day.
With Justin it's a little different.

We like to chase butterflies.

We tend to read a chapter and then if it's real good read the whole darn book. The we look at the day or week and wonder where the other subjects went? We start talking about something at breakfast and next thing you know we have the encyclopedias out and are reading more and more on the subject; before we know it, it's lunch and we haven't even pulled out the lesson plan.

When math gets hard we're more likely to take a break and end up having fun doing something as far away from Algebra as possible.

When they were little it was other things, their ADHD aided in starting school hours later than planned; focusing and sitting still and upright I was convinced were myths.

I now have a 7th grader and it is becoming his responsibility to school himself more. I just asked Vaughan today when it was that he decided to "get to it" in the school department. We/he determined it was in the 7th grade and for sure in he 8th.
So hope is coming for Justin and I, although that means changes are coming too.

So home schooling never gets easy and is ever evolving. For the good, for the bad, for the fun and challenge of it.

A challenge I enjoy,
a challenge I'm afraid I'll miss in 2 years.

But we do what we feel called to do, we do it our best and we pray in the end they'll simply learn what really matters in life; to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul and mind.
Until then we'll continue to enjoy our time together.
We'll continue to embrace the challenge and accept the change.
I'll enjoy my private guitar concerts and he'll enjoy my naps- the time when he can do whatever his little 7th grade heart pleases.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


We just returned from a Superbowl Party! I wasn't really cheering for anyone as neither team excites me.

I was excited for the good food and great friends.

There were a lot of people there.

The game room housed a pre-game Guitar Hero fest before the high schoolers moved in. I'd say 15 or more lined the sectional during the first half and during the second they had migrated to hanging from the rings, of Olympic kind, riding the stationary bike and lifting free weights.

The tv room, kitchen and dining consisted of a few more high schoolers, several middle schoolers, young marrieds in their 20's, a handful of 30 somethings, a couple in their 40's, 50's and 60's. Husbands, wives, sons, daughters, grandparents, best friends and acquaintances scattered the place!

The bedrooms and den attracted the kids not so interested in the game, you know the ones yelling and shooting each other with dart guns wearing Stormtrooper masks. Then the girls with their clothing changes, dolls and dance turns. Babies napped in the far off bedrooms and conversations took place around the fireplace in the living room.

It was nice.
It was fun.
It was what I think the church is becoming, or should become.....
.........people doing life together.

It was nice to see my son standing beside his father having a conversation with other men,
who cared what he had to say.
He wasn't shooed away or told he was too young.

I even found myself talking about education with a veteran high school teacher in her 60's, another elementary teacher in her 50's, a high school sophomore in the IB program and myself. It was refreshing with different perspectives, different takes and unity.

Unity. It's what makes life more enjoyable. It's what's the Bible commands us to have. It puts a smile on my face.

I'm so thankful to have such a wonderful group of people to "put into' my children; to help guide them, speak truth to them, listen to them and above all be their friend. I'm also thankful to have people who care enough to sit and talk with me about serious matters and the not so serious ones. I'm thankful because some days I don't feel as though I belong here, as though I'm alone, unliked, an outcast; this evenings festivities reminded me that when I feel that way it's probably time for me to reach out,
get out
and be active in the unity of the body.

We laughed.
We cried. (OK so we didn't do this but it seemed to fit)
We ate a bunch of good food.
We cleaned up together.
We emptied trash cans and wiped up spilled drinks.
We lived life beside one another for a few hours tonight.

Having a heart for youth it was nice to see a large group of them hanging out, having fun and in a positive environment without drugs and alcohol.
With adults.
With people who can shed light into their lives and wisdom into their decisions.

I'm not a fan of separation, I think it leads to trouble. I like unity of the body. Unity of the family.

So we just returned from a Superbowl party!
It was fun and loud and for this homebody worth the trip out!


It takes a village to raise a child.
-ancient African proverb


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