Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas and blessings from friends

We are officially done with having our first Christmas without Christian at our side. It honestly was not especially difficult... emotionally, it was just like any other day in that we just miss him. David and I thought about Christmas last year and how Christian would've really loved the tree and gifts and special time with grandma and grandpa this year.

But I know that he isn't really missing out on anything down here! Can you imagine the amazing celebration in Heaven?! Yup, our little artificial tree, white Christmas lights and made-in-China nativity scene couldn't possibly compete with the tree of life, light from God himself and hanging around the real Jesus!!! He is such a lucky-ducky!

Nevertheless, Christmas would've definitely been more fun with an energetic bundle of 3 year old boy running around. So I'll just have to choose... choose to be joyful and thankful for the Christmases past and look forward to celebrating in the future with Christian in Heaven. :-) And I am VERY thankful to have the gift of these two joys to wake up to every day!


Speaking of gifts, Tank up there did get a really cool remote controlled car... that goes UP THE WALLS! Wanna see?

video



I would also like to thank my wonderfully dear friends from Five in a Row (FIAR) for the beautiful Dozer quilt they made for me. When Gwen dropped it off at my house two days before Christmas, I was surprised at how very personal the quilt was!


(and here's the back)


Each square is precious and close to my heart-- from fwogs to Christian's Good-Night Song to the hand-stitched rainbow... When I opened it up, it immediately brought me to tears. I spread it out on my bed, fell on it and wept... I'm not sure how long I cried but it was deep and heavy... and cleansing. I had been so emotional all month long and felt like I was teetering on the edge of a cliff... on the verge of tears every single moment. I'm telling you, God's timing was PERFECT in this gift! After that good cry I felt so much better. I know that was instrumental in keeping me from being a basketcase on Christmas Eve and Day. THANK YOU, my dear FIAR friends for your timely and very blessed gift!

I also want to thank all of you dear friends and family for your prayers, gifts, comforting cards, phone calls, instant messages :-) , and encouragement. You have truly ministered to our hearts.

Love,
Marshie

PS When writing this post, I was blessed by finding an account of Christian's first prayer tucked neatly away in my blog archives. God is so good!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Jesus and I

I'm not sure who wrote this beautiful poem (I don't even know the title) but I think it's one that I will keep in my Bible.

I cannot do it alone;
The waves run fast and high,
And the fogs close all around,
The light goes out in the sky;
But I know that we two
Shall win in the end,
Jesus and I.

Coward and wayward and weak,
I change with the changing sky;
Today so eager and bright,
Tomorrow too weak to try;
But He never gives in,
So we two shall win,
Jesus and I.

I could not guide it myself,
My boat on life's wild sea;
There's One who sits by my side,
Who pulls and steers with me.
And I know that we two
Shall safe enter port,
Jesus and I.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Almost Christmas

It's almost Christmas... the boys are in bed (maybe sleeping, maybe not)... the house is quiet... too quiet. Any day and every day, let alone Christmas day, is less exuberant (and full and busy and noisy and fun and exciting and sweet) without my littlest man Christian around. This Christmas is so very different from the one we celebrated last year.

Last year, we were all together-- not only my amazing husband and three fabulous boys, but my parents and siblings and in-law's and niece and nephew to boot! This year, David's parents are with us (and what a blessing they are!) and it is my husband and two boys-- all still amazing and fabulous, just one number short than what we wish it to be. It's hard to believe that almost 4 months have gone by without my little blue-eyed boy to kiss and hug and hold and tickle.

But God has been faithful! He has been consistent, ever-present, ever-loving... He has shown us in big and little ways just how much He loves us. However, we still struggle and tend to forget these little gifts from Him as we go about our day or when we are sobbing and missing Christian and basically feeling sorry for ourselves. It has not been easy, but we are still here, still together and have a strong marriage. We still have happiness in our home-- definitely different than before, but happiness nonetheless.

We have much to be thankful for... because you know what? It's not all about me or my family. CHRISTmas is about Jesus Christ!!! Because if all were taken away from me-- my home, my health, my whole family-- I would still have Him, I would still have Jesus!!! And therein lies my joy, my peace, my future-- Jesus can never be taken away from me! Eternity with Jesus, eternity with Christian, and I pray eternity with each of you if you will only believe and receive Him! (Please go HERE to read more about how you can be absolutely positive about where you will spend eternity.)

This is why we celebrate. This is who we celebrate! Today, we celebrate your lowly and magnificent birth... Happy Birthday, dear Jesus!



I read this a couple weeks ago (yes, I read ahead!) from page 376 (December 25) of Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman. I encourage you to read all the way to the end-- it's worth it and will give you the proper perspective of thanksgiving today.



A few years ago a striking Christmas card was published, with the title, "If Christ had not come." It was founded upon our Savior's words, "If I had not come." The card represented a clergyman falling into a short sleep in his study on Christmas morning and dreaming of a world into which Jesus had never come.

In his dream he found himself looking through his home, but there were no little stockings in the chimney corner, no Christmas bells or wreaths of holly, and no Christ to comfort, gladden and save. He walked out on the public street, but there was no church with its spire pointing to heaven. He came back and sat down in his library, but every book about the Savior had disappeared.

A ring at the doorbell, and a messenger asked him to visit a poor dying mother. He hastened with the weeping child and as he reached the home, he sat down and said, "I have something here that will comfort you." He opened his Bible to look for a familiar promise, but it ended at Malachi, and there was no gospel and no promise of hope and salvation, and he could only bow his head and weep with her in bitter despair.

Two days afterward he stood beside her coffin and conducted the funeral service, but there was no message of consolation, no word of a glorious resurrection, no open heaven, but only "dust to dust, ashes to ashes," and one long eternal farewell. he realized at length that "He had not come" and burst into tears and bitter weeping in his sorrowful dream.

Suddenly he awoke with a start, and a great shout of joy and praise burst from his lips as he heard his choir singing in his church close by:


O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,

O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;

Come and behold Him, born the King of Angels,

O come let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord.


Let us be glad and rejoice today, because "He has come." And let us remember the anunciation of the angel, "Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10-11).

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Wot is a word!

I can't believe it! I found out today-- ahem, while playing too many rounds of WordTwist on Facebook-- that wot is a word!!!

It is the 3rd person archaic form of the word wit or wat (depending on the source), meaning to know or be aware of.

Hmmm... go figure. Sounds deep and thought provoking, huh?



video

So Christian singing "everybody wants to WOT" kinda sorta made sense.

I find that to be quite hilarious this morning and just had to share! :-)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Where I find my Christmas joy

This week's Heart of the Matter Online Meme is on the topic of: Where I Find My Christmas Joy.

"Eggnog, Christmas music, decorating cookies, going to church… each of these things bring me joy for one reason–they all include my family. Each moment is imprinted as a permanent part of our family Christmas legacy. Where do you find your Christmas joy?"

During the Christmas season, I find much delight in having a good excuse to give gifts to those closest to me-- be it a toy, game, baked goodies, making things together (like crafts or cookies, especially with kids)... The best part is that they (hopefully) will not give me anything in return other than the joy and satisfaction I gained in the giving. It really is more blessed to give than to receive!

Besides gift giving, I am also quite fond of eggnog (not a la southern comfort or whatever some people put in it to make it icky!), singing Christmas hymns, beautiful lights on the trees and houses, and gathering with friends and family... especially family. It takes exceptional people to know me so well and yet still choose to be around me! Right, Coco? ;-)


Christmas 2007 at our house.


JOY, however... wow, that's in a category that is leaps and bounds over "enjoy" or "delighting in".

Like the old acronym goes, you can have JOY by putting Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last. It's a mighty fine recipe!

Jesus- Can you imagine life if Jesus had never been born? It literally makes me shudder. It is through His sinless life and sacrifice on the cross that I have hope in this life and assurance of eternal life! Without Jesus, funerals would be very different, wouldn't they? It would be ashes to ashes, dust to dust... no hope, no rejoicing, no peace... No assurance of seeing Christian again-- what a miserable existence that would be!

Others- God has been gracious to give me many wonderful friends-- true, trustworthy, fun, caring, devoted friends... not only in my family(!!!), at church and around town, but in other parts of the country as well as in the cyber world. :-)

Yourself- I am my most miserable (read: joyless) when I think too much about myself:

    • I* am tired.
    • That's not how *I* wanted things to turn out.
    • *I* want the house to be spotless.
    • *I* want things done right this second.
    • *I* would never throw dirty clothes right next to
      the laundry basket (instead of in it!).


Me, me, me! Waaaaah! Poor pitiful me. The *I*'s usually become more prominent during times of stress or busyness (ahem, like Christmas and any other major holiday or time that I overscheduled or don't learn to say "no" enough). What a big baby I can be sometimes! I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I have learned over the years that I most definitely cannot change other people. Or control everything around me. But I can choose to change my attitude, my outlook, my response!

Will you choose JOY in your house, in your mind, in your heart?

As a mom, you will set the tone and mood for your entire family. The choice is not always easy, but with God's help, you can do it!


Saturday, December 13, 2008

I should have known that Christmas and dread would never go together

I had been dreading putting up the Christmas tree and going through all the ornaments (as well as Christmas stockings) for quite some time. Each year, the boys will either make a special ornament or I'll let them pick one out at Hallmark. The plan is that when they go off on their own one day, they'll be able to take their ornaments with them-- as well as all the years of memories associated with each one. It's always a special time of reminiscing with my boys as the ornaments are hung on the tree.

As in all the other difficult things we've had to face since Christian left us, God's grace has been more than sufficient! Tonight really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. We didn't even cry as Dash and Tank took turns hanging Christian's ornaments on the tree. Instead, it was a fun and precious time together as a family-- just like it should be. God is SO good!

The tree is filled with tons of airplanes (I try to get David one every year), homemade ornaments, and three very special "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments that have the boys' pictures on them. These special baby ones are only allowed to be put on the tree by mommy (hooray for me!). :-)

Right up there in the special ornament category is this one that we got in 2006 for our little Linus:




Don't you just love it? I thought it totally had the Awwwww! factor the moment I set my eyes on it. This year, Dash hung it on the tree. The boys and I smiled when we thought about how Christian loved to suck his thumb and carry his blue blankie around. I'll admit that I did get that choked up feeling inside, how could I not? But I'll say it again, I wouldn't trade my 3.5 years with Christian and all the wonderful memories, special moments, laughs, hugs, kisses and even tears for anything in the whole wide world! I'm one very blessed momma!

Love,
Marshie

PS Psalm 100 is a good passage to read each day. It's a reminder to praise God no matter if your day is easy or difficult. It encourages me to set my mind not selfishly on myself, but on God. It's amazing how my heart is blessed and my countenance changed if I will just listen and obey...


Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

~Psalm 100

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

This is my favorite pound cake recipe-- dense and delicious! It calls for being baked in a 10 inch tube pan, but I like to make mini loaves with it instead. You can also add in blueberries to the batter to make it extra yummola or slice it and eat with strawberries and whipped cream. (Christian preferred it plain with whipped cream). :-)



CREAM CHEESE POUND CAKE

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour (or use a spray like Pam for baking or Baker's Joy) your pan(s).

    2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add sugar and beat until fluffy.

    3. Add eggs two at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour all at once and mix. Add vanilla.

    4. Pour into 10-inch tube pan (or mini loaf pans) and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes (less time if you are using the mini pans). Check for doneness after 1 hour with the toothpick test.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's SNOWING! In Houston!

Will wonders never cease?! When we landed in Houston, we looked out the window to see big, giant, beautiful snowflakes! Dash and Tank were SO excited. We could hardly believe our eyes!

This just never happens here in Houston... although people say it snowed here 4 years ago, it never did at our house... so that time didn't count. :-)







Edited to add: I just had to add that the boys did not own heavy jackets or gloves or hats until last week. I hit a few thrift stores and Target to purchase the too-warm-for-Houston items in preparation for our visit to Spokane this week (where it did not snow!). Lest ye think that the weather has gone topsy turvy, the forecast for Houston tomorrow is 71! C-R-A-Z-Y!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Marriage, baby and a ham

Geeze, I feel like I have been gone FOREVER! I'm sure it hasn't been as long as it feels like (or has it)? Things have been quite busy here in the Drews household. There is so much that I have on my heart right now and would like to share, I just need a little more time to discern exactly what I should share. In the meantime, let me get you up to speed with other exciting happenings:

+ My baby sister Bobo is now engaged! I am a bit bummed that I won't get to meet her fiancee until the week of ze wedding, but he seems like a great guy-- has to be for my sister to be smiling nonstop with that goofy I'm in love sound to her voice! Plus my parents like him. Let me say that again.... my. parents. like. him. A. LOT. My mom will pretty much love you or hate you in about 15 seconds... she's just funny like that. So Aubs, welcome to the familia! I hope you know what you're getting yourself into.

Don't they make a lovely couple?


+ Thanksgiving was spent at my parents house. In addition to the feasting (ham, no turkey-- because it's easier, y'all) and staying up too late so we can talk and play board games, we also looked at a wedding chapel, nailed down a menu for the reception, and helped finalize the fun wedding dress decision. Hmmm... it's kind of sad interesting how your tastes can change over the course of a decade(+)! I don't think I would pick the same dress if I had to do it over again. Would YOU? What was your dress like back in the day? And for crying out loud, if you have a picture, PLEASE SHARE! :-) I don't have a wedding pic handy at the moment but scanning one in is on my list of things-to-do.

+ And if that weren't enough fabulous news for a holiday weekend, this past Saturday was also my parents anniversary, my little brother's 30th birthday, AND the birthdate of said little brother's first child!!!

HAPPY 30th BIRTHDAY STEPHEN! AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my newest nephew CADEN MARK! My sister-in-law Terri couldn't have planned it any better. Y'all sure do make beeeeautiful babies!

We are actually heading up to Spokane to see little Caden (and his mommy and daddy too, of course!). Then we'll swing over to Portland to visit my sister Coco for a few days. So it's busy busy busy around here- and that's not even including anything that's remotely related to Christmas! Oi. I think it's going to be a quadruple shot latte kind of month. I can't wait! :-)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Husband Tag

Actually, it is a husband tag with a twist-- so would that make it a twisted husband?!

Back from Disney-- zero lines, cold weather, fun fun fun! While I collect my thoughts on it all, I swiped this fun tag from Emily for y'all to check out. She makes everything seem exciting, even checking the mail!

1. He's sitting in front of the TV, what is on the screen? Xbox 360's Call of Duty 4.

2. You're out to eat; what kind of dressing does he get on his salad? Ranch dressing. But he won't actually eat it-- silly you for thinking such a thing! He might take one measly bite and then he'll push it around the plate/bowl until you are done with yours. He's polite but doesn't partake.

3. What's one food he doesn't like? Anything green. Unless it's grass to mow or money to be had, his life has no green... zip, zilch, zero.

4. You go out to the bar. What does he order? I wouldn't be at a bar in the first place but if for some reason he were, he would get a Dr. Pepper. But only if they gave free refills. We're frugal like that.

5. Where did he go to high school? MacArthur High School in Irving, TX.

6. What size shoe does he wear? 10.5-11 Wide

7. If he was to collect anything, what would it be? Tools, video games, and he has this fabulous collection of model airplanes!

8. What is his favorite type of sandwich? Grilled Ham and Cheese (with mayo)

9. What would he eat every day if he could? Nasty Hamburger Helper Double Cheeseburger Macaroni. He's also a big fan of pizza.

10. What is his favorite cereal? He's not much for cereal but when he does eat it, he eats either plain Cheerios or Peanut Butter Crunch cereal.

11. What would he never wear? Pink! No way!

12. What is his favorite sports team? Texas Longhorns.

13. Who did he vote for? Definitely McCain!

14. Who is his best friend? ME. But since that's a boring answer and sort of a given, I would say his buddy Tim. They are like brothers!

15. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn't do? Put my cold feet on him.

16. How many states has he lived in? Four: Texas, Ohio, Georgia and then back to Texas (home sweet home!)

17. What is his heritage? German.

18. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what would it be? Yellow cake with homemade cream cheese frosting.

19. Did he play sports in high school? He played soccer from the time he was 4 years old all the way through college. His dad was his coach for most of those years. :-)

20. What could he spend hours doing? Playing Xbox or working around the house. He is quite the handyman and always has some kind of project going. He recently put in recessed lights in our schoolroom and will soon be making some shelves for the boys' closet.

21. What's something cool about him? Cool is such a relative term! I suppose what is the coolest about him is that he absolutely loves his family. The guys he flies with at work always remember him for being the guy that looks at pictures of his wife and kids on his laptop all the time. He doesn't do that as much at the present since he's still having a difficult time being without Christian, but there is NO DOUBT where his heart is. He doesn't have the problem of being propositioned by ahem... flight attendants like many of the other guys. Wedding rings are rarely a deterrent but a joy and genuine love for family? That always works!

Let me know if you end up doing this tag as well. I'd love to hear more about your hubs!

Monday, November 17, 2008

This week's happenings

+++ We're going to DisneyWorld!!! It is a complete and total surprise for the boys. :-) We're not telling them anything until we get there... although I imagine they might figure it out when we get on the plane to Orlando. David and I had talked about going for a while but thought it best to wait until Christian was older. Y'know, so he'd actually have a shot at remembering it. *sigh* But there's no better time than the present (and the uncrowded week before Thanksgiving) to just do it.

Is there anything that you've been meaning to do (big or small) with your kidlets (big or small) that you might just go ahead and do NOW?

+++ Voting is going on now at the Homeschool Blog Awards! I am truly humbled and honored that some of y'all would nominate me for a few of the categories (Best "Live-What-You-Believe" Homeschool Blog, Best Cyber Buddy Blogger and Best Encourager)-- thank you! Voting ends at midnight on November 21. You do not have to have to homeschool or have a blog to vote! SO GO!

+++ Save the date of Tuesday, November 25th for the Houston Homeschool Bloggy Joe-down!!! Get it? Like hoe-down and cup of Joe? Okay then... so it's really just an uber-good time at Panera with the likes of moi, Sprittibee, Rachel, Semicolon (Picture Book Preschool), Kelly (sorry, I don't know your blog addy), and anyone else in the area that wants to come. We're thinking about meeting down in the Westheimer or Galleria area around 10am. If you're in the neighborhood, let me know and PLEASE come join us!

+++ And last but not leastly, my friend Angela will the speaker at Heartbeat Live tomorrow at 3pm CST. She will be speaking about hands-on learning in a LIVE, online, interactive style.

Fine Motor Manipulatives Around the House: Hands On Learning

Do you have a child struggling with fine motor skills? Has handwriting become a chore that you both dread daily? Join Angela DeRossett as she shares ideas on how to strengthen your child’s fine motor skills with items you already have while introducing you to ways to make this type of learning more fun.

It's FREE, it's fun and I hope you'll join in-- just hop on over there to register and get your login.

Allrightythen... it's 1:41am and I need to go to bed for our flight in a few hours. Have a wonderful week, y'all!

Love,

Marshie

PS Thank you so much, dear friends, for all the e-mails and cards and prayers regarding Christian's birthday this past Wednesday. It was a very good family kind of day! We only cried a little that morning when we reminded the boys about it being Christian's b-day. Then we prayed, ate at Denny's and watched Madagascar Escape 2 Africa at the theater (a rare treat for our Netflix kind of family). God has given us so much grace at the perfect time... without fail! But He's like that y'know... loving, trustworthy, consistent, all-knowing, faithful...

PPS Have any of you read that book by Randy Alcorn called "Heaven"? I've listened to the shorter abridged audio version and found it to be encouraging and very interesting. I'm thinking about getting the hardcopy or perhaps the unabridged audio version. Anyone have any thoughts on that book?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy 4th Birthday, dear Christian!

This past Christmas, we had a birthday cake for Jesus with a candle for each child to blow out (my niece and nephew were not in a candle blowing mood apparently). *sigh* I just love this picture!

Today would have been Christian's 4th birthday. I know they won't be having a birthday cake in Heaven, but if they were to have one, I imagine that Jesus would be the one to help him blow out the candles this year.

While we miss Christian in a mighty way (oh my, do we ever miss him!), we do not grieve as those who have no hope!

And where does my hope lie?

It lies in Jesus Christ and the gift of salvation that is offered through the giving of his life on the cross for our sins and His victory over death when He arose on the 3rd day. That is how I KNOW that I will see Christian in Heaven when I die!

When I was 13 there was a specific time and place that I realized I was a lost sinner, asked God to forgive me of my sins, and gave my life to Him. My eternal destination is not determined by scales that balance my good and bad when I die-- surely I could never live up to that no matter how "good" I am! Salvation is a GIFT. All we have to do is believe, repent and accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. That is how I KNOW where my eternal destination lies. Heaven is a REAL place, y'all!!!

God doesn't just say it in a book to make us feel better.

Where will you spend eternity? We are not guaranteed tomorrow. And we certainly don't know how many days we have on this earth-- it might be 44 years or maybe just shy of 4! I sincerely pray that each of you would make a personal decision to give your lives to Jesus Christ. Christian and I would love to meet you there-- walking the streets of gold, worshipping God, rejoicing in a (REAL!) place where ...God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Rev. 21:4).

I'm not sure what else to say about Christian's birthday. I do ask for your prayers for my family. I know that God will carry us through it and that His grace will even bring us joy in the midst of our tears today.

If joy isn't easy to come by for you today, FIND IT. Choose to be joyful, choose to be thankful! I am. I am very thankful for this day 4 years ago that Christian was born. And I am very thankful for this day-- TODAY-- 4 years since Christian was born. I would do it all over again for the joy of having been his mommy. Even when it hurts.

And if you really can't find joy, maybe you're trying to fill up an emptiness all by yourself or with other things? I encourage you to look up, look to Jesus... He is the only one that can give you the peace that you seek. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isaiah 26:3)

Okay, quit reading this and go enjoy some time with your kids!!! Not just next to them, but with them. Savor the moment, savor the day. Be thankful for the little messes, constant interruptions, and even dramas that may play out from time to time. The things that you will miss the most one day are always the little things, rarely any single big thing.

And because I just love pictures of my littlest man, here are a few of my very favorites.

Love,
Marshie








Thursday, November 6, 2008

Seeing things in black and white

I was doing okay this past weekend, really I was. It was a strange mix of feeling sorry for myself, missing Christian terribly and also some fun with friends. Y'know, I think about Christian every single day. Sometimes it's little things like how one of the first words besides "mama" and "dada" that he ever said was "Icee". (It's the honest truth that when he saw that Exxon sign when he was 1yo, he looked at it and said Icee!-- we'll just say that the consumption of Icee's is a male bonding thing in our family!)

But this time my thinking of him was different, it was more. I ventured into the Family Christian store to pick up a card for the sweet 16 b-day party we were to attend this past Friday night. They had already brought out all the Christmas items-- books, CDs, advent wreaths, and ornaments. It was the ornaments that got me thinking....

One of the traditions we have around here is that each child gets their own ornament every year. Sometimes we make them and other times we buy them-- last year, they got to pick out their very own Hallmark ornament (talk about a splurge!). The plan was that when they got older and had a place of their own, they would take "their" box of ornaments with them. It's always a lovely time when we put the tree up, unpack the ornaments and talk about the "remember when's" behind each one.

That's when it hit me.

While I have packed up most of Christian's special things, there are still those ornaments and his stocking tucked away in the Christmas bins. I kind of mulled those thoughts all day, culminating into a good cry later that evening. It was like every fiber of my being was missing my littlest man!!! His hugs, his mischievous grin, the way he'd make shooting sounds with anything that could resemble a gun, how he'd come to me and say I'm humry, mommy!, how he'd sneak out of his room after bedtime and say I can't sweep- boys make too much noise!, how he always insisted on sitting next to me, his excitement at finding a race car shopping cart at Kroger that actually had a steering wheel still attached... so many things... so many things that I won't ever get to see, hear, feel or touch again...

As we were driving home from the birthday party, the boys and I got into a conversation about Christian. For some reason I can't remember how it even came up in the first place; but it ended with a discussion on heaven and how we'll see him again if we give our lives to Jesus Christ and ask him to save us from our sins. We have the promise of everlasting life-- eternity! We will be together f-o-r-e-v-e-r!!!

Tank said, Well, I know that I'll see him again in heaven! I bet he's having a good time on the streets of gold and hanging out at the crystal river. When I get to heaven I can't wait to see him. Oh and Jesus too! That would be cool to see Jesus. I bet they're having all kinds of fun up there!

I just love how children can see things so clearly. My boys not only bring me JOY, but remind me of where my JOY truly lies-- and it is not here, my friends!

And just today when I was beginning to feel sad about Christian's birthday coming up next Wednesday, I received a lovely and extremely encouraging card from JenIg in the mail. She reminded me that Christian will be having his best birthday EVER! And it's true. What better place could you possibly be on your birthday than in the presence of the Lord? And as far as Christmas, what better place can you be to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ than at His feet?! In the presence of the King of Kings?!

Yup, that's what I thought. There is no better place for Christian to be... no matter how much we miss him here on earth.

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.


In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

~John 14:1-4

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

When girls come over

I thought about posting about the election, but I'm going to try to practice the old addage If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, we had 4 friends spend the night last night. GIRLS. Ages 4-10. Anyhow, Dash, Tank, the girls and I all had a great time together. We painted our nails (well, the boys opted to skip that part- which I am very happy about!), did some crafts and made some sweets. Friends are such a blessing, even if they are girls!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Abstract Noun

Yesterday 9yo Dash and I were discussing the differences between an abstract noun and a concrete noun.

Me: Give me an example of a concrete noun.

Dash: A pencil!

Me: Give me an example of an abstract noun.

Dash thinks for a couple of seconds.

Dash (in a calm and matter-of-fact voice): Christian.

Me (after regaining my composure): Why do you say that?

Dash: Because I can't see him or touch him.

Me: Ummm... okay. That's a very sweet answer although I don't think that is what the people that made this workbook quite had in mind. But I guess you're right... How about we just skip this and move to the next one?

Dash: Okay, mommy.

It's always interesting to see when Christian will come up in our conversations. Usually it's out of the blue and an unexpected surprise! I am so glad that the boys are comfortable talking about Christian. Sometimes we cry but other times it's very matter-of-fact with hardly a tear (okay, maybe just a little choking up)... remembering and laughing and talking as a family. I am so thankful that God has kept us close-- close to Him and close to each other!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Caramel Crescent Pull-Aparts

Easy, gooey, delicious, warm and perfect with a cold glass of milk (or hot cup of coffee in my case)-- we had these for breakfast this morning!


Caramel Crescent Pull-Aparts

  • 1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine (I prefer real butter)
  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1 (8oz) refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Combine brown sugar, butter and syrup in an 8-inch round cake pan. Bake at 375 for 5 minutes until butter melts; stir gently to blend ingredients. Sprinkle pecans over butter mixture.

3. Remove dough from package and DO NOT unroll! Slice roll into 12 slices. Combine 1 Tbsp. sugar and cinnamon. Dip both sides of each slice of dough into the sugar mixture. Arrange slices, cut side down, in prepared pan. Sprinkle any leftover sugar mixture on top.

4. Bake at 375 for 18 minutes or until golden. Invert pan immediately onto a serving platter, and serve rolls immediately.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

10 Timely Facts about Me

http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w108/hsbawards/Homeschool%20Memoirs/hm10.png


Ten (or so) timely facts about me (ugh, makes me feel totally self-centered!):

1. I am a Mar-sha, not a Mar-cia. The Brady Bunch? Yup, she was a Marcia. I am a Marsha.

2. My favorite flower is a peony.

3. My favorite dessert is creme brulee.

4. When I was in college, I worked part-time as a laundromat attendant and as a professional notetaker (selling subscriptions to my notes for the semester).

5. In the aforementioned college experience, my weekly treat to myself was a Happy Meal from McD's. Yup, I was a high maintenance kind of girl.

6. My favorite thing from McD's when I was a kid was a Big Mac. Maybe it was because that's what my dad always ate? Now I have to fight the urge to get a McRib whenever they are advertised. Those have got to be one of the nastiest sandwiches of all time... and yet they always look good on the commercials! But this year, I will resist the McRib b/c I know it's gross... along with Grape Nuts hot, Campbell's Tomato Soup and Malt-O-Meal. Blech!

7. My fav drink at Starbucks is a white chocolate mocha, although the last drink I had there was a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

8. If my hairs continue to turn white, I am seriously considering dyeing my hair a plum color.

9. When David is gone and I go to sleep with the TV on (to mask the creepy noises), the channel will either be on Discovery Health (200lb tumor anyone?), the Weather Channel (your local on the 8s!), or the classic tv show M*A*S*H.

10. Speaking of M*A*S*H, did anyone else really envision living in a mansion, apartment, shack or house when they were little? Weird how you could be totally bummed when you got stuck living in the shack... like it was real or something!

11. I wish I knew how to double-dutch jump rope. And I wish I knew how to jump on a pogo stick. Oh and while I'm at it, might as well learn how to ride a unicycle too. How fun would that be?!

You can link up with your own facts right HERE.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Video Intro of Me!

I thought I wouldn't have a problem posting this for Heart of the Matter's Friday VIDEO Meme... but ummm... yeah (or yah or yea or whatever!)... Here is yours truly in all my goober glory!





I hope y'all will join in on the fun!!!

Pleeeeeease?

PS Do I really sound like that? I think I'm louder in real life. Oh and I mumble and talk MUCH faster!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Christian's first day of school

Many of you know that this was to have been Christian's first official year to be homeschooled-- even if it was just preschool. Although our plans were not to be, I can look back and see God's blessings.

One tremendous blessing was this special morning when Christian was very excited about his new desk, very own notebook, pencil box, triangle crayons, and even a couple of Kumon workbooks. He just HAD to get started-- and I even took pictures! God is so good to have given me this day as a gift... and I didn't even know it at the time. You see, the big boys were still finishing up last year's work and we weren't planning to start until the very end of August... But God already knew... and He gave us this beautiful day...



For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

~Isaiah 55:8,9

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What's in a name?

+I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading your comments on my last post! I would like to point out that my friend Teresa practically dared us to guess her and her hubby's it's been a secret for 18 YEARS nicknames for each other. The clues are PPB for him and BLT for her... anyone care to venture any guesses? Maybe she calls Neal her Precious Pooky Buns and he calls her his Big Loving Tater-- because y'know, terms of endearment almost always involve food, y'all.

And then there is Amy in Peru's Chubby Chumchocks... what's a Chumchock anyway? Yup, nothing says loving more than calling someone Chubby... and not just any old chubby but a chumchock to boot-- fo shizzle!

And SisterLisa? I'll just be thankful for the non-creative nickname bestowed upon me by my other half-- because Round Bottom, it doesn't exactly give me a warm fuzzy feeling!

+Now it's time to play a little tag. HomeschoolingKatt and Misty have both asked me to name 6 "unspectacular quirks" about myself. Hmmm... isn't "quirky" the polite person's way of saying "weird"? And unspectacular... might as well just say lame enough of an oddity to keep you in the realm of the uncool. Nevertheless, here goes.

1. I consider a trip to the Grand Canyon as the ultimate torture. The mere thought of those heights and edges make me want to puke.

2. I have been prone to ticks since I was a kid. Not the blood sucking bug variety of ticks, but spazzy body things like tapping my teeth together, clenching and unclenching my jaw, and the current irritating flexing of my left arm and leg muscles.

3. One of my favorite snacks is dried fish, especially the sweet tasting filefish. Eat with a side of toothpaste because it gives you some majorly nasty breath. (Makes you want to be close to me, doesn't it? Hey, does anyone else remember that old mouthwash commercial where the guy says Heck of a hot tub, huh Heather? Okay, just checking.)

4. (Amy, this ones for you.)

I was never the type of girl who had crushes on people. But in my (much!) younger days, I had a major crush on this guy.

Let the laughter commence.

Okay, cease the laughter.

5. I like to iron shirts. But not the German white linen kind of shirts with the millions of pleats all over the front.

6. Lastly and leastly, I can't for the life of me think of a number 6.

Anyone, anyone? Beuller???

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy Birthday to my hubsy-wubsy-pookey-bear!

So how many of you really think I call David my hubsy-wubsy-pookey-bear in real life?

Well, I don't! I usually call him David, babe or occasionally Dash's real name if he's frustrating me somehow (which ummm... let's just say does not make him very happy-- although it really is accidentally done-- honest!).

Today, David turned the big 36. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY!!!

David's parents came to visit, we ate a yummy lunch at Chuy's and then came home for birthday cake (with homemade cream cheese frosting). After having this old Kodak camera for years, I finally tried the self-timer button so we could have a picture with everyone in it:

Not too bad, eh? Although I can't for the life of me figure out why David never smiles in pictures. He looks kinda mean, don't ya think? But he really is nice and super fun! Even if he doesn't have a nickname like sugar-baby-fluffy-buttercup.

David has always called me babe. For some reason, he decided earlier this year that he would start calling me Marsha. Marsha! Can you believe it? Not only did it totally freak me out, but I kept feeling like he was mad at me for something. I finally forced him to quit calling me by my real name and asked him to please call me what he always calls me-- which is babe (and most likely more appealing than the alternative which would be "My Queen").

I also promised not to give him a hard time about whether or not if he knew what my real name was-- or if he was scared that he'd accidentally say his girlfriend's name instead of mine.

(Oh I kid! Like he'd have a girlfriend. We are very secure in our relationship and there is no need for anyone to worry. Thankyouverymuch.)

So, do y'all have nicknames for each other? Please share. And be HONEST! I promise I won't laugh. Too hard.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rambly Post

There have been so many times that I've wanted to write a post, but then I'd either not know how to word things, or I'd change my mind for one reason or another or I'd just decide to be l-a-z-y. Here is my semi-lazy bulleted post for your perspicuous perusal:

+ The boys started soccer this past weekend with 2 games a piece. It was a full day (hopefully with pics to come soon) and they really enjoyed playing with their teammates- both old and new. The kids always get to choose the name for their team. This season, Dash plays with the Dynamos and Tank plays with the Bombers. It's always fun to see what they'll come up with each season-- past teams have been Blue Thunder, Longhorns, Jets, Hurricanes, and Wild Panthers. This is definitely one of those times that I'm glad it's not a co-ed team. If the girls ever outnumbered the boys and decided to call themselves something pansy like "Fairies" or "Ladybugs", I would have to stay silent on the sidelines or just walk away from the field!

+ I finally packed this in the box. And I've only pulled it out once... just to squeeze and smell.


+ Friday night, I was invited to my friend's daughters' (12yo & 15yo) birthday party. It was a fun girls night out of pizza, cake and ice skating! It was a fun but late night and I am proud to report that I did not fall down on the ice. Hooray for me! Not bad for someone with negative skating skillz!

+ I was driving down the road the other night when a beautiful a capella version of "What A Friend We Have In Jesus" came on the radio. I was thinking about Christian and singing out loud when I looked up into the night sky. Just then, I saw a shooting star-- it was only the 2nd or 3rd one I had ever seen in my life! The timing of it was perfect and I thanked God for sending that star across the sky at the exact moment when I was looking UP!

+ I know I have been throwing out lots of book titles lately, but I have always loved to read. In the past 6 weeks, God has shown me so much through the written word. My dear friend Laura (aka ice skating queen) gave me a book called Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman. Let me just say that there were several occasions where the devotion for that day was exactly what I needed! If you are going through difficult times, I highly recommend this encouraging devotional book.

+ And lastly, I had the most vivid dream early this morning! I was at some sort of large public pool and I looked across the water to see Christian smiling and jumping into the waiting arms of my mother. I quickly ran to where they were and started yelling "Christian!" He smiled really big and jumped into my arms. I was holding him in front of me with his legs wrapped around my waist. I kissed him, squeezed him tight and then just kept looking at him and smiling. He wrapped his arms around my neck and gave me the biggest hug and kiss ever! I'd lean back to take a better look at him and he was just looking back at me, grinning and laughing and hugging me. I was so surprised to be holding him and loving on him-- and I yelled for David to hurry and come over. David came and Christian gave him a big hug and kiss too. As I was watching the two of them, something didn't seem right. I was smiling but also questioning How could this be? Maybe this is real and the other vaguely distant thought is the dream.

And then I woke up. Crying. I cried because I began to realize that this is reality and that was a dream. I wish I could show you how REAL it all was! I didn't cry for long because I honestly could FEEL Christian's hug... his soft skin and lips, his squishy belly and arms around me. Even while I'm typing this, I feel like he really did give me a hug and kiss this morning! I could see the twinkle in his eyes and the big grin across his face. I count it a wonderful gift and blessing that Christian visited me in my dreams! Thank you, dear Lord, for letting me love on him again... even though I woke up here, I KNOW that he is in the presence of God and living a life in Heaven beyond our wildest imaginations. How can one ever compare the streets of gold to the cracked and buckling concrete driveway?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Is that onion I smell?

Dash is a very loving boy. He has always been huggy and emotional, walking around with his heart on his sleeve. The aforementioned sleeve, however, is beginning to SMELL!

Aggghhh! I'm not talking about stinky-outside smell but stinky-body-odor-because-I'm-growing-up smell! He's only 9 years old for crying out loud. Is it really time for that already?!


So daddy gave him a lesson on proper deodorant usage (not anti-perspirant... just deodorant).

For some reason I have an odd feeling of boo-hoo-he's-growing-up mixed with some sort of maternal-pride. How weird is that?! Anyone else feel like that sometimes?

Lest ye think that it is a sign of maturity-- trust me, it isn't! When I pointed out the body odor, he laughed and proceeded to stick his arm pit right on my nose. Yes, he definitely has his daddy's sense of humor (if that's what you want to call it)!

When God Doesn't Make Sense




One of the books I'm reading right now is Holding on to your faith even...When God Doesn't Make Sense by Dr. James Dobson.

What stood out to me today is how God's presence is not inconstant. It is our perception of Him that comes and goes. We cannot rely on our emotions, as they often change with the wind. His Word, His promises are always true and right and unfailing!

Another encouraging thought for today-- we must never forget that this separation is temporary.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Putting things away

I cleaned out the boys' closet today. I have bags of clothes that Tank outgrew and also all of Christian's clothes. I set aside a handful of shirts (okay, two handfuls) and put them in a plastic bin with some of Christian's things (his piggy bank, 2nd place trophy from the Pinewood Derby races at church, his red Converse tennis shoes that I loved, our fav knit cap, Spiderman backpack...). His blankie is under a pillow next to my nightstand-- I'll put that in the bin very soon... but not just yet.

I'm not sure what I'll do with some of the things in that bin. I know that these are just "things" and are not my littlest man. But maybe I'll make a memory quilt down the road one day... or maybe I'll open the box a couple years from now and then decide that I don't need to hold on to this or that... or maybe it'll just go in the attic and I'll never open it again. I'm just glad that I don't have to decide all of this rightthisverysecond!

Thinking about doing all of it was actually much more difficult than the actual doing of it. (Does that make sense?) As I cried some and put the things away, I kept reminding myself that "He doesn't need these things in Heaven." (Thanks for reminding me of that a few weeks ago, Lele!) And it is SO true! I am comforted by that thought... even when I miss him like crazy. Everyone says I am being strong, but if they only knew how God has been holding me close and speaking so very clearly to me (actually, I think He is speaking the same-- I am just being more receptive than before!). Then they'd know that it is He that is holding me up... I am really not doing anything at all other than just trying my best to LISTEN to Him.


"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." - Isaiah 41:10

"The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower." - Psalm 18:2

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." - Ephesians 6:10 (emphasis mine)


Speaking of listening, have y'all heard of Rita Springer? My friends shared a very cool song by her called "I Have To Believe"-- let me tell ya, she sings with soul! The live version snippet on her myspace page isn't as good as the one from her CD. (Ugh... now I have to get that image of the sooouuuuul train chugging across the screen out of my head!)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Extreme Devotion



I have been reading a daily devotional book from Voice of the Martyrs for the past few months. This book called Extreme Devotion is by far one of the best devotional books I have ever read (not that I've read all that many to begin with!). The stories and testimonies that I've read so far have really helped me see life with an eternal perspective-- a perspective that seems so much more real to me now than ever. God knew when I started this book months ago, that it would be an encouragement and blessing to me.

While we have noticed every Tuesday that has gone by so far, I realize that today is the 26th. One calendar month since Christian left us to be with Jesus (why is it easier to say out loud than type out?). Here is an excerpt from what I read this morning...

And he said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for thee..."
II Corinthians 12:9

Day 148

"It has been said God will never lead us where his grace cannot keep us. We must realize that sometimes his plan does not include a miraculous deliverance from illness, death or oppression. Yet his grace is sufficient, and he has not abandoned us... Sometimes his plan involves simply seeing us through an ordeal instead of delivering us from it. Have you come to a point where you are willing to entirely rely on him? You'll likely never say that God's grace is all you need until his grace is all you have."

And since I can't help but read more one day, this is from Day 149:

"...Your life will go on far after your body is destroyed. Your true future is what happens in eternity, not what happens here on earth. What fears do you have about the future? Can you entrust them to God and face the future without fear?"

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
-Psalm 27:1

And these words are always encouraging:

Psalm 27:14
Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

Matthew 5:4
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

I Thessalonians 4:13-18
But I would not have you be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.


God's Word is always true!!! Not just some of the time, but ALL of the time. When things at times seem more than we can bear, we just have to TRUST HIM. I am so thankful that we don't have to go through this alone and that God sends an encouraging word right when we need it.

Love,
Marshie

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Brothers

It's amazing how David+Me could equal three very different looking boys! Some people think Dash and Tank are twins... but I think it's just that they have similar haircuts-- buzzcut a la mommy. ;-)


PS These are pictures from our recent trip to Buffalo, NY. God truly blessed us with a wonderful family trip! I don't think I'll ever forget it... not just because it was with Christian (striking a muscley pose), but because it really was THAT FUN!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tank's Long Term Plans

I think David and I might have said "Well, when you're a grown-up one day, you can do whatever you want" a few too many times.

As my sisters Lele and Bobo were driving the boys to church the other night, 7yo Tank related this rather matter-of-factly:

I'm never gonna get married. Wanna know why?

I don't think my wife would like it very much that I went to Chuck E Cheese every single day.


And then I believe there was some under the breath comment about having to kick her out.

Yup, I'm glad my boy is thinking long-term! I know I have trained him well when at the very top of his "Things to look for in a wife" list is a love for Chuck E Cheese! LOL


Friday, September 12, 2008

Ups and downs and a goodnight song

What an emotional roller coaster these past two weeks have been. It's amazing how you can cry and laugh at the same time. Christian had such a big personality, his infectious joy (and did I mention his temper that shouldn't have been hilarious but was anyway?) would fill up an entire room. *sigh* So many things-- okay everything-- reminds me of him!

It's still hard to believe that he is gone... and yet in my heart of hearts I rejoice that he is far happier in the presence of Jesus right now than he ever could have been on our most perfect family day. I say rejoice because it does give me a measure of comfort in my grief and is a very vivid reminder to have an eternal perspective. I say rejoice because a parent always wants what is best for their child-- for them to be safe, happy, content... and right now, Christian is that and so much more!

But we miss him. A LOT. My heart and arms ache for him. Then when I feel overcome with tears and that huge pain in my chest, God comforts me. My eyes dry up and I feel better.

I don't really know where I'm going with this post. Sometimes the day drags on and other times I can't believe time has passed so quickly.

I do want to throw in here that when I look at Austin and Noah (aka Dash and Tank), my heart swells with love and I realize how very BLESSED I am! While our lives and family are changed forever, we are not destroyed. I look at their faces and see that my joy in life is not over. It is so tempting to stay in bed and not get up... but then I see their faces. Thank you, Lord for blessing me with them!

Earlier today, I was looking through a hymn book with my sisters and I couldn't believe this beautiful song that I ran across (see below). I cried, I smiled, I thanked God for His encouragement!

Even the title of the song-- The Christian's Good-Night by Sarah Doudney-- WOW. It was like God was giving me a giant hug.

I'll say goodnight to y'all now. And THANK YOU again for your prayers and sweet words!

Love,
Marshie

The Christian's Good-Night

Sleep on, beloved, sleep, and take thy rest;
Lay down thy head upon thy Saviour's breast;
We love thee well, but Jesus loves thee best--
Good-night! Good-night! Good-night!

Calm is thy slumber as an infant's sleep;
But thou shalt wake no more to toil and weep:
Thine is a perfect rest, secure and deep--
Good-night! Good-night! Good-night!

Until eternal glory lights the skies,
Until the dead in Jesus shall arise,
And He shall come, but not in lowly guise--
Good-night! Good-night! Good-night!

Only "Good-night", beloved-- not "Farewell!"
A little while, and all His saints shall dwell
In hallowed union indivisible--
Good-night! Good-night! Good-night!

Until we meet again before His throne,
Clothed in the spotless robe He gives His own,
Until we know even as we are known--
Good-night! Good-night! Good-night!


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hello my friends

Just a quick note to say THANK YOU to all of my friends-- both new and old-- y'all have been a tremendous blessing to us. Your cards, visits, phone calls and especially prayers have really ministered to us.

And Emily, thank you for the iPod... and friends, thank you for the songs! Sometimes we forget how a song can speak to and soothe our hearts. Some are familiar favorites and others are new-- all are amazing. When Rachel brought a box of cards and this gift over, I had no idea that this thing was so itty bitty! I'm glad it already had songs on it and was charged up! My sisters were laughing at me when I was quizzically looking at the package-- after I opened it. I feel like an old fogey when I looked at that thing and wondered There are songs on that?! And here I thought myself familiar with technology and all... I do have a blog, after all! LOL

I'm at the point now where there is so much to say but I don't know where to start or how to get it all out and have it make sense. I imagine I'll just do a handy-dandy bulleted post later. :-) But for now, I'd like to share this rainbow with you. My sister Bobo (okay, her real name is Debbie... just like Coco is Christine and Lele is Leah... oh and Marsha... well, it's just Marsha or Marshy). But I digress...

This beautiful rainbow is from this past Friday evening, the night of Christian's viewing. It was right behind the funeral home... hard to tell in the first picture but it's right above the roofline.

I know it sounds hokey to some or coincidental, but *I* know that this rainbow was for me and my family. This rainbow without a drop of rain (at least where we were) was God reminding me that HE IS FAITHFUL. And that HE KEEPS HIS PROMISES! And let me tell you, my dear dear friends, He really does!!!

Much love to all of you,
Marshie


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Update from Marsha

Hi all~

This is Leanne. Marsha is my very dear, dear friend, and she asked me this morning if I would update y'all on how they're doing....I can only pray that God would give me the words to do this update justice.

I talked to her this morning on the phone. First of all, she wants everyone to know how much they have felt all of your prayers! They are very, very grateful for you all. Please keep praying, don't let up, as today is Christian's funeral and as many of you know, that is going to be hard....

She talked to me about all of those whom they had spoken with in this that do not know the Lord, and how her heart is grieving for them. She has told me that what they want out of this valley is that many would come to know the Savior through this. Please pray for those of their family and friends who do not know our good God. Pray for salvation for many. Marsha said that she hopes they're ready to hear the Gospel, cause that's what they're going to hear today!!

At the sound of Marsha's voice, I knew, deep in my heart, that they are going to weather this. God is and has been very present for their family thus far. She talked to me about how she had seemingly "babied" Christian a whole lot more than the other two boys. Now, she says that she has absolutely no regrets. We looked back and saw how God had been preparing them for this day for years, and especially the past month.

I choose for myself, especially after talking to Marsha, to believe that God is so infinitely good, so much more and above what our tiny brains can fathom. He does all things, all things, well....

Many of you may remember that they lost Christian's favorite blankie about a month or so ago. That blankie was nowhere to be found. Wednesday Marsha told me that she just knew, she just knew, that God was going to let that blankie show up when they needed it most.....and lo and behold, it has been found!! Coco found it! Our good God knew who needed to find that blankie and exactly when! Marsha said that Coco felt as though she had won the lottery!

We talked about what it was like yesterday, at the funeral home for the viewing. She spoke of how it was driven home to them that that was just really not Christian laying there. It was just his earthly shell, and it was such a huge measure of peace to David and her to know in their hearts that it wasn't him, just his husk. Christian's beautiful and joyful spirit is in Heaven, where he dances and sings for his Savior!

After they were done, apparently someone shouted, "look! A rainbow!!!" Marsha grabbed a little girlfriend by the hand and ran out to look, and sure enough, there was a perfect, beautiful rainbow arching its glorious colors directly over the funeral home!!! God's promise!!!

Thank the Lord that David and Marsha have the eyes to see God's goodness in the midst of this valley!

Please, prayer warriors, do not let up in praying for David and Marsha! This is just the beginning of this journey! Please be specific and very intentional in your prayers. Come against the enemy with all your power, as he would like nothing better than to destroy the beautiful witness of the Drews family.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Update from Marsha

Hi everyone, this is Marsha's friend Amy. She asked me to update her readers and friends. Marsha and David offer their heartfelt appreciation for all the prayers and thoughtful emails from her cyber-friends. Her family continues to be blown away by the support she has received from friends she has never even met face-to-face.

Marsha says God has been very good to them and they are doing well. Although they understand the days will get harder as time goes on and they re-settle back into daily life, they feel very blessed that the Lord has held them in the palm of His hand through this tragedy. She says that it is so amazing to see God's handprint when she looks back on the events of the past few weeks. She feels that God had been preparing her family. She is excited to share those details with you in the future.

Just last week they were able to take a vacation together and she is so grateful for the precious time and memories that they shared as a family. David's company has blessed him with an entire month off. The boys have been understanding, and have been trying to keep themselves busy.

Christian's viewing and funeral are this weekend. Please continue to pray for Marsha, David, and their sons. If you are interested in honoring Christian's memory, Marsha asks that in lieu of flowers you consider a donation to her church's missions program. If you would like more information, please email me at amy@heartofthemattermagazine.com. If you have written a special post in honor of Christian, please add your link to the tribute to sweet Christian at Heart of the Matter.


Blessings to all,
Amy

Friday, August 22, 2008

Our current curriculum

Today's Heart of the Matter Meme is about what we are currently using in our homeschool. Yes, I know it's shocking-- a post about homeschooling on this blog!

Although we are currently on a mini-vacay to Niagara Falls, we are planning on starting our lessons on Monday, August 25th. And here is what we will be studying:

History:
WinterPromise's The American Story 2

This literature-rich program is scheduled like Sonlight but more hands-on, and has helpful suggestions on DVD's, crafts, games, websites, etc. We have really enjoyed the adventure readings (read aloud's) as a family. This past year, we studied the first half of American history and actually did a timeline for the first time ever! Both Dash (9yo) and Tank (7yo) do this program together. WP also has middler packs where you can add an older student to this program.

Language Arts:
WinterPromise Language Arts Grade 2 and Grade 4.
.

The Readers used in this LA tie-in to the time period/theme we are studying in history. They also use a great variety of workbooks that we have been very pleased with in the past like SpellWell, Wordly Wise 3000, Explode the Code, Grammar Puzzles and Games Kids Can't Resist, etc. This past year was the first year that I was completely happy with the thoroughness of a Language Arts program. Oh and did I mention that they schedule the days on this as well? Man, I totally *heart* a written out schedule-- even if we usually do 2 days worth of work in a day... thereby only having to do LA twice a week. But maybe that should be another post altogether...

Math:
Math-U-See Beta and Gamma (and Delta if they move quick enough!)

This is honestly the only curriculum that I have been 100% thrilled with! I have yet to use the teachers manual or actually go over a lesson with them. I completely love the DVD lessons and the boys have never ever given me grief about doing math! If they don't quite get a concept, they just play the lesson again on the DVD player. I am available for questions and reminders but the teaching credit all goes to MUS!


Handwriting:
Getty & Dubay Italic Writing

Tank does have some cursive writing in his Language Arts using A Reason for Handwriting. I'll give y'all a progress report later this year.

Science:
NOEO Chemistry 1

It sounds daunting, doesn't it? But it really looks like fun and very do-able with my elementary aged kidlets!

Latin:
Song School Latin
by Classical Academic Press

All I can say is WOW!!! I received this to review (to be posted soon) and cannot speak more highly of it. It has catchy songs, covers quite a lot of vocabulary, and is for Grades K-3... Yes, K-3! I am planning to use this with all of my boys-- 3yo (minus any writing of course), 2nd grader and 4th grader. I think it will be a fun introduction to Latin for all of us. The next program we'll use (unless they come out with a second volume of this!) is Prima Latina... but I never used it this past year because it intimidated me. Song School Latin-- I am confident that we can actually do this twice a week without fail!

Art:
Artistic Pursuits Book 1

I bought this to use last year but never quite fit it in. This year, I have it scheduled at least once a week.

Preschool for 3.5yo Dozer:
I'm Ready to Learn Program
by WinterPromise

Scheduled daily just like the other WinterPromise programs (can you tell that I need someone to plan for me if I really want to get it done?). I've got lots of picture books to add to the bunch and he has his desk and pencil box ready to go! :-) He has been SO excited about "doing lessons" for the past two weeks so I started him with a few books from Kumon like their book on Tracing and one on Cutting.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Birthday Cha-cha-cha


(I was not the one filming this sideways... my dear husband realized the error of his ways at the end. Also, please note that while my boys cannot sing harmony, they have no problems tweaking classic songs to suit their tastes and style-- hence the smelling, zoo, and cha cha cha references.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hello? Is anyone here?

Wow, was that a long blogosphere absence or what? That's what happens when I get too busy... I go off-grid. Wait, I take that back. That's what happens when I get too busy AND cranky at the same time!

The highlights and lowlights of the past two weeks:

+We went to the lake for a few days with friends.

here were about 4 momma's, 1 David for part of the time, and 30 kids (give or take a few). It was fun and relaxing and I was too lazy to take any pictures.

+Oh blankie, where art thou?

Somehow 3yo Dozer has learned to cope without his buddy and has even confiscated other pieces of fleece around the house to compensate. But what about ME?! What about Mommy?!!! I am SO saddened at the disappearance of his little buddy... his shadow... his companion when he sucks his thumb at night. I even offered a reward to anyone who finds it-- scissor rips, green paint stains, fuzzballs and all-- nothing beats the original! But to no avail. I am in mourning over this.

That blankie has been there for many things... bedtime, camping, double black eye, hide and seek... *sniff* *sniff*










+Dash celebrated his 9th birthday this past weekend!

NINE YEARS OLD! That is halfway to an adult!!!


I have been a bit anxious about this day for much of the year. Not that I boohoo the loss of the early childhood or anything. But the responsibility of raising a child into a young man has weighed heavily on my mind. A reminder that while he is a good kid and we have a great relationship, I question whether we as parents have done enough? Have taken advantage of opportunities to talk about God? To live out a good Christ-like example? Aggghhh! I'm running out of time!

Okay, back to the birthday. With all the rain and it being the Tax Free weekend here in Texas, we opted to stay HOME rather than go out! Friday, we did venture out to Chuck E Cheese first thing in the morning (coupons in hand, of course! LOL), to have our family day. We usually reserve the actual birthday day for just family-- no friends and no party. We'll do something together as a family and have a cake and presents. In the early years, I found myself being so busy taking care of everyone else, *I* never had the time to reflect and really enjoy the day with my children. Now, celebrations of the party magnitude are held on a different day.

Anyhow, it rained but we were cozy inside with our little men.

+Our dog got bit on the face by a copperhead snake.

She's doing okay now but her face did swell up pretty big. We took her to the animal ER almost right away (as soon as we could find an open vet on a Saturday evening!).

One thing to say about that-- better the dog than a kid.

She is pretty much all the way recovered. I don't think any of my kids would've been so fortunate. Ditto when David was stung by a swarm of bees on his face and head last week. He was mowing the neighbors lawn and in the far corner of their property was a tree FULL of bees. I guess they didn't like the vibration of the mower! I have never been stung by a bee or wasp-- although my kids have. So the mere thought of it makes me shudder!

+3 year olds are so fun!

They speak their own language,
they laugh hysterically when you kiss their bellybutton,
they say funny things like Mommy, I bumped my forehead
and just when I am surprised that he used the word forehead,
he ruins it by saying and then I bumped my other head.
What?! You have two heads?
And as he touches one side of his forehead and then the other,
he replies Yes, I have dis forehead and then dis head over here.

Ummm... okay then.

And that, as best as I can remember, wraps up my life up to this point.

+What have y'all been doing?

Love,
Marshie

PS Have you seen it? Have you? Boo hoo...