Thursday, May 07, 2009

My Living Room and Beth Moore!

OK so you are wondering what in the world my living room has to do with Beth Moore, and the answer is absolutely nothing! But that's my title because I have two different things to talk about!

We'll start with my living room since I am doing Kelly's tour of homes. I put a regular picture (how it looks today) and a Christmas picture but it's the time of year that I love my living room the most!
So if you remember from last week we live in a 200-year old farmhouse. Most of the house has been restored and updated but one room, our living room, has not been touched. We have lived here for 12 years and always talk about redoing it, but so far it hasn't happened. In some ways I love the primitive look of the room, but in other ways I don't really think it matches the rest of the house. One thing I don't like about it is the blue trim paint color. I have nothing blue in my entire house so don't think the room fits with my main color scheme of camel, golds, greens and deep red. Plus one thing you probably don't know about me is that I am an awful decision maker, particularly when it comes to choosing paint color. So I'd love your thoughts and ideas for when we eventually redo it. I sometimes think of putting stone on the fireplace and getting a nice mantle rather than the barn-beam mantle we currently have, but then I look at it and realize that ours is so primitive looking that it is unique, which I kind of like.

The one time of year that I love, just love, my old-fashioned living room is at Christmastime! After the gifts are all put under the tree, the stockings are all stuffed, and Santa's cookies are sampled, Alan and I sit there and take it all in and say, "He came!" And if any little kids happen to be peeking around the corner at that time they might well catch Mommy kissing Santa Claus! Don't miss the empty plate and letter to Santa in front of the fireplace...sweet days that are pretty much over since our youngest is 11 now!

I love to use our living room as a's on the opposite side of the house from our busy kitchen/family room so it's nice to go to to relax, read a book, or have some peace. It also happens to be the warmest room in this drafty old farmhouse so many a winter day finds us in there in front of a cracking real-wood fire.

I love the fact that we have no television or computer in our living room (they're in the family room and kitchen) so it really is a primitive room in every sense of the many rooms have absolutely no technology in them anymore?! However else I change our Living Room, that's one thing I'm keeping the exact same!

Then in contrast to our restful getaway of the living room we have the crazy chaos of our Family Room, which adjoins the kitchen. The one thing I am proud of in this room are the walls, which I faux painted myself in three shades of green. It actually is a much deeper color than shows up in this picture. I love how it brings out the rich cherry of the old woodwork in this room. The doors on the big cabinet are usually open, because our TV is hidden behind them! I was really pleased with how well the contractor got these new doors to match the 200-year old trim in the rest of the room. And don't miss our old yellow lab Gracie, a permanent fixture in that room!

Here the doors of the cabinet are open so you can see both the opened and closed look and see how nice it is to hide the TV sometimes.

I love my tray tables over in the corner. You wouldn't believe how often they get used, particularly on Tuesday nights when we have Taco Night while we watch American Idol...a family tradition! (Hey when you have three teenage daughters you've gotta make family traditions however you can!)

Here's something unique about our farmhouse...we have a cupboard door that is accessible from two different rooms. That's because when the house was built this Family Room was the Dining Room and our current mudroom was the kitchen. So the food would get passed through these cupboard doors.

OK so enough about Living Rooms...switch gears with me now to hear about the other big news of the day -- I MET BETH MOORE! Oh yes I did!

This year Beth is the National Chairperson of this event and we got to have her give the keynote speech here in Lancaster! When I first heard she was going to be here I thought it was going to be simulcast from Washington, DC but no, she was here in real life!

I really wanted to meet her so I went early and actually ended up sitting maybe 7 or 8 rows behind her. A fair number of women were sneaking up there getting pictures taken with her and I really wanted to also, and I definitely could have, but my wise husband kept reminding me that she was there to worship and to leave her alone. It must be so hard to be a celebrity, being watched all the time. Godly celebrities like Beth really need our prayers.

Beth rocked the place with her talk! It amazed me how little she used her notes. Is that cool or what -- it just goes to show that she has her words in her heart, as the Lord is giving them to her, not all written down just for her to read. That's what sets Beth Moore apart in the way she can bring a sermon!! It was REALLY awesome having so many men in the audience and she acknowledged that and gave an encouragement to the men to be prayer leaders in the family.

Beth had a tough act to follow after a 5-year old girl prayed like you wouldn't believe. I mean this child knew how to pray like nobody's business! She got a Standing O for her prayer and really I think it was a Standing O to God, for bringing up a little child like this to lead the people. "And a little child shall lead them..." Oh yes she did! Oh that we would raise up more children like this enthusiastic little girl!

Travis Cottrell was there leading the worship and on this beautiful May night it was pretty neat being out there with thousands of others singing our hearts out. It was A-MAZ-ING to gather together to pray for our country, and oh yes, does our country need some praying for right now. I was saddened to read that for the first time in many years our president did not attend a prayer gathering on this National Day of Prayer. It was a beautiful night after many days of rain and the sun was shining -- and the SON was shining! How wonderful to be in the midst of so many of God's people!

This was Beth right before she went on to speak...she had just come off a very stressful week being in our nation's capitol and I think she was enjoying being in the presence of so many of God's people! She even said "Lancaster" correctly!! (For the record, it's not pronounced LAN-CAS-TER, it's LANG-kiss-stir!" Because I'm sure you wanted to know that!)

Beth's husband Keith was even with her. Here's a picture of him laughing on the Jumbotron after she told a story about what a manly man he is.

One thing I give Keith a lot of credit for...after Beth spoke I was heading to the restrooms and passed the backstage area where the media was interviewing her. While several women hung around waiting for Beth to come out, Keith was standing there with several other men. A lady asked him, "Hey, Keith, can I get a picture with you?" And in the nicest way, he said, "Oh, I'm sorry, I'd rather not." And as I thought about it I thought it was really cool that he doesn't want his picture taken with all kinds of random women. Just like I wouldn't want my Alan to be photographed with women everywhere he went. Because we all know how the media can distort a totally innocent picture into being something its not. And sad to say they try their hardest to dig up dirt on celebrities, especially Christians. So I give the Moores a lot of credit for being above reproach in this area.

When Beth came out I actually had a 2-second chance to say hi to her and tell her I'm a "siesta" who prays for her! And if you think a siesta is a long nap, you haven't been reading her blog. Check it out -- it's one of my favorites!

So that's the latest from Lancaster County tonight. Blessings to all!

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Rainy Days AND Mondays

On this rainy Monday I thought you'd enjoy a picture my 13-year old Caroline took. This girl loves photography and has so much iniative and motivation and just plain moxie that when she wants to learn something, she does it. She even created her own photography website, where you can see more of her work. Check it out here!

Caroline has willing models in her 18-year old sister Emily and Emily's boyfriend, who love to pose for pictures as much as Caroline loves to take them. In fact, next week is prom and already the girls are pre-planning the poses they want to capture, so many poses that their photography session may last as long as the prom itself!

So at least this rainy Monday gives me an excuse to stay inside and get a little cleaning done. Because, you know, the kitchen has stayed pretty nice but the rest of the house...oh my. Suffice it to say that if someone walked into my mudroom right now they might just think our house had been ransacked. Well, actually it has -- by one 16-year old Elly looking for her volleyball shoes and kneepads 2 minutes before we had to leave for open gym!

Actually Mondays aren't so bad. I get a chance to have a fresh start from an action-packed weekend. I love fresh starts! You get to do things over the way you would have done them the first time. My neighbor Beth and I always laugh and say "I'll take a do-over on that one" when we react in a way differently than we wish we would have. She always says that each of us should have been born with 3 do-overs that we could use when we really screwed something up. Like waving a magic wand to erase what just happened and get our "do over." Of course we agree we would have used up all three of our do-overs before we were 18 years old!

Speaking of "do overs," when my kids were young, there were too many times I'd react in a way differently than I wish I would have. Sometimes the busyness and stress of life would cause me to yell at them for things that didn't deserve yelling. And then I would feel so sorry and ache at the hurt in their precious eyes. And so I coined this phrase called "Mommy Bommy." Which I explained to them meant, ''You sweet kids did nothing wrong and it's my own sinful nature that caused me to react differently than I would have liked to. I love you all as much as a mommy can love and am so sorry." And of course I would ask their forgiveness. Because I thought it was important for them to know that parents are sinners and it is only Jesus Christ who can claim perfection.

It was in those "Mommy Bommy" moments that I most desired a do-over! But here's the awesome thing about God...while we can't truly have a "do-over," there is complete forgiveness in His amazing grace and He will give us a fresh start whenever we ask.

"Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me."
Psalm 51:10

So excuse me while I go spend some time with God, asking Him to cleanse my heart and give me a fresh start this very rainy Monday morning!

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Kitchen Tour!

This post is dedicated to my sweet 13-year old daughter Caroline, who has a heart of gold. We saw Kelly's blog today and thought it would be fun since we love seeing other people's kitchens. However, we had one major problem in doing that. Our kitchen was not what you'd call, ahem, photo ready. In fact it rarely is. Just keeping it real here! We have four children, and three of them are teenagers. Our kitchen is the center of our home...we live in it! And I generallly have papers, papers everywhere (one of the "joys" of homeschooling, for sure!). I wish each of you had a Caroline in your home. She's not the kind of kid who needs to be asked or told to do anything -- she sees a need and takes care of it. So after seeing Kelly's post she said "Let's do it!" We put some fun music on and went to work -- the two of us got the kitchen ready for pictures and in doing so we were able to give our kitchen one big Spring cleaning! And now it is looking fine and what a joy to prepare a wonderful meal to enjoy when Alan gets home from work. On second thought, the kitchen's so clean I think we should eat out!

We live in a 200-year old farmhouse in the heart of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and I love our old brick house. The only problem with it when we bought it was the kitchen was a TINY galley-style kitchen and the six of us would continually bump into each other. So after saving up for it for 7 years we had plenty of time to read all those kitchen magazines and dream about what I wanted. Finally in 2004 we did it! It was hard to make the addition blend in to keep it looking like it was always part of the farmhouse but I was really pleased with how it turned out. And it's so funny now, when people come to our home for the first time they say, "Oh this is what I love about old farmhouses -- the huge kitchens!" And I smile and show them what the "real" kitchen was for this old farmhouse - a tiny room that is now my mudroom, which I'd love to show you pictures of, but then you'd see all the papers I just took out of the kitchen to make it look so sparkly clean! Haha....Kelly, maybe sometime you could do a tour of mudrooms so I could get that photo-ready as well!

I love my black buffet...bought it and the frame above it from Ballard Designs. Since I don't have the type of fridge that you can cover with pictures I love posting them all on our bulletin board. I save the pictures from all the Christmas cards and love to be reminded of my friends & their families when I see their pictures.

Coleman wrote "Bless God" on our blackboard a year or two ago and I can't bear to erase it. So many people say "God Bless" and I always tell my kids to Bless God!

Enjoy this May weekend everyone!


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Almost Four Years Later...

So much for my comment almost four years ago that you ought to check back now and then because I might continue writing! Obviously not...though I thought often about keeping a blog I just never seemed to fit it into my day. Between laundry, cooking, homeschooling and (limited!) cleaning my days are full. And then when I do have a break I struggle with having the kids see me with my back to them as I sit here at the computer. Lately I have been impressed with how fast time is flying so while I totally admire those bloggers with mega-followers, I don't aim to be one of them.

That said, I am moved on a regular basis as I "drop in" on some bloggers. God is using the internet to reach MANY with the gospel and to me that's mighty cool. People who might not be able to reached by talking about God in a one-on-one situation can be reached through the words they read on another's blog. Through reading of the trials others are going through, I honestly think people start to "get it" about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus.

I wish I could link you to some that I am inspired by on a regular basis but honestly I don't know how. I'll put it on my "to do" list to learn how! So much to do, so little time! But for now, the laundry's calling and my husband wouldn't be too proud if he came home and saw that I mastered the blog thing but didn't have time to fold laundry! Know the feeling?!


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

East, West...Home's best!

So here I am, sitting at the desk in my kitchen with a cup of coffee, overwhelmed with memories of an incredible trip. I never imagined things would go so smoothly, and feel more in love with my family than ever before. As we get back into the daily routine, I'm missing them! Amazingly enough, we never got sick of each other. I didn't look forward to a family of six sleeping in one motel room for over two weeks, and yet, it was nice. There's something pretty wonderful about all going to bed at the same time and talking about the day as we fell asleep. Two weeks of vacation was wonderful! And yet, I come home so refreshed and ready to get back into life! Because although the "mountaintop" of vacation is awesome, it truly is good to come down off the mountain (figuratively and literally!) and get back to a pretty wonderful life!

Before I give a few final comments about the trip, here's how our last day went...We had a great visit with Dwight Robertson at Kingdom Building Ministries on Tuesday morning. I could really see a couple of the kids going out to the "Laborer's Institute" someday...we were all really impressed with the whole organization. We actually made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Had a two hour layover at O'Hare, during which time Caroline threw up. But after that she seemed better and the rest of the trip was uneventful. Oh, except for a lady passing out in the aisle during the flight...kind of scary, but she was fine. Then the worst part was that when we arrived in Harrisburg, they couldn't get the gate to move out to the plane, so after a 15-minute forever wait we had to go down the emergency steps. Being "home" but stuck on the plane was frustrating, but soon enough we were off and there was my mom, waiting to pick us up!

If we had to do it over, what would we change? Well, besides little things here and there, the only thing I would have done differently is to come home after two weeks. That was long enough...the last two days were fun but the thing we wanted to see more than anything else was home! Was 2300 miles of driving too far? No...not really. (But maybe I should ask Alan, since he drove 2275 of them!) And yet, I wouldn't have wanted to do it any faster than we did. Staying two nights in the same location wasd always nice. The only thing I can think of that I may have skipped would be Silverton (the Old Hundred Gold Mine!) and Ouray, they were not that huge of a deal. But to get from Durango to Colorado Springs we almost needed to go through those towns, and it was an experience (notice I didn't say a good one!) driving over the Million Dollar Highway! I also would have found a way to whitewater (if I did it at all!) through the Glenwood Canyon on the Colorado River. The area where we went rafting was nothing spectacular as far as scenery is concerned.

And the highlights of the trip? Definitely the four-wheeling at Red Canyon in Utah and the horseback "steak ride" in Rocky Mountain National Park. But also all that time in the car was pretty special. We played games, told jokes, sang songs, and laughed a lot (except when the girls realized we were on our way to the Grand Canyon!) At one point we eavesdropped on a conversation Coleman was having with Emily. He likes thinking of things to invent, so said to her, "Emily, tell me everything you like to do and I'll tell you some things I could invent for you." Alan and I listened, and looked at each other and smiled. Long car trips make for captive audiences, and we had some great family conversation during those times.

We are home happy but broke! Our expenses shaped up as follows, listed as a percentage of the total...lodging 30%, car rental & gas 23%, food 20%, attractions 19%, and souvenirs 8%. The souvenir percentage would have been much higher had the Four Corners jewelry stands not been closed when we went by. Darn! Can you believe I came home without turquoise jewelry?! Alan did get me a pretty silver bracelet on the Navajo Reservation, though, so I'm not complaining too hard!

Here's the good news...all those expenses went on our credit card and the bill came today. Alan asked me how much it was and I said, "Don't worry about the amount...think of it in terms of how many frequent flyer points we've accrued towards our next trip!" He looked at me and rolled his eyes! I think he might cancel the credit card!

I close this journal with thanks to God for a vacation of a lifetime...not a day goes by that I don't feel blessed beyond measure. After two weeks of fun & adventure, I come home refreshed and looking forward to cooking, cleaning and taking care of my precious family.

Thanks for "coming along" with us on our trip. I know so many of you kept us in your prayers, and we thank you for many little details "fell" into place, and I know that wasn't by chance. So happy trails for now, and may God bless each of you this summer!

P.S. I may continue writing on this blog from time to time, so bookmark it and check back from time to time (but not too often!)