June 29, 2012

He Is My Strength

I continually find myself wrestling with that feeling of inadequacy as I go through this life.  It may be that I feel inadequate as a wife, a mom, a friend, or even as God's child.  I am so thankful for the encouragement I find from people who have already experienced the things I am struggling with.  I found this quote yesterday from my favorite "mommy mentor" Sally Clarkson.  She is speaking of being a mother, but I think applying her wisdom to wherever we are in life will help us see things from the right perspective.  To read the entire blog post by Sally, click here.

And now, I again move slowly to the tea kettle and toaster to send them off with all the love I can muster, but with the knowledge that I have never been enough, but He is always enough and in Him, I rest it all and wait to see, one more time what He will do.
Never, not one day in my whole life have all of my ducks been in a row. But one more time, I see that He is the one who holds it together and who makes it work, and one more day, my life will move on in His strength and in His abundant faithfulness.

So thankful today for the blessing that He is my strength, my salvation, my portion.  Without Him, life would be nothing.  I cannot do any of this on my own, but with my Savior, all things are possible.  Have a beautiful weekend full of victory in Jesus!

June 26, 2012

The Best Banana Pudding in the World

Happy Tuesday, Everyone!  I'm on baby watch while everyone else is 3 and 4 wheeling, so I thought I'd leave you with a quick Tummy Tempting Tuesday!  My sister and I just fixed a most amazing meal for our families to eat together, and tonight (possibly after the 10 kiddos are in bed) we are going to delve into the best Banana Pudding in the world.  So, I'll leave you with the recipe so that you can try it for yourself!  Enjoy!

Best Banana Pudding in the World

1 1/2 cups of water
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 small box of instant vanilla pudding
1 pint whipping cream
3-4 large bananas
Vanilla wafers

Mix the water and condensed milk in a large bowl.  Add the box of vanilla pudding and mix again.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  While waiting, mix the whipping cream until it becomes thick.  Then add to the pudding mixture.  Mix well.  Layer a 9X13 in. pan with vanilla wafers, bananas and pudding mixture.  Repeat the layers several times.  Chill until ready to serve. 

June 25, 2012

The Power of a Smile

I have so much I'd love to write about, but I'm not sure I'll ever get to it all!  I am so glad I was able to spend some time with my family.  I got to see cousins that I haven't seen since before I was married.  I managed to recognize all but one of them! That is pretty impressive for me!  Don't you just hate those conversations you have with someone that you know you're supposed to know but you really don't remember them at all?  Had several of those this last week.  Let's just say that as I was growing up, I wasn't a huge people person and didn't really spend a lot of time focusing on what people were saying or doing around me.  Sad, but true!  I try so hard to do better now, but it definitely takes a concentrated effort.  There are so many times when I will introduce myself to someone, and five minutes later, I can't remember their name!  Again....sad, but true!

Anyway...I am finally back home.  Because my flight going to Denver was delayed, I missed my connection in Denver.  I ended up spending the night there!  Flying off and on for 12 years, I have never had any major delays, missed connections, or lost baggage!  So, I really couldn't complain too much!  I had ended up being on the plane for 3 1/2 hours when I was supposed to have only been on it 1 1/2 hours, and then I had to  stand in a customer service line for 1 1/2 hours.  I saw a lot of immature people that night, and so as I stood in line with my little newbie, I decided to see how many things I could be thankful for.  I came up with a quite a lot!  

At the top of my thankful list was that the newbie is such an amazing traveler!  He did nothing but sleep or smile or play during the entire travel time!  I really don't mean to sound prideful at all when I say this, but I was struck by the thought of what a blessing my little man was to so many different people on our trip.  There were times when I would have 10 or 12 people standing around the two of us.  They would be talking and laughing and cooing at him.  I have no idea who those people are or what their lives are like, but I do know for a few moments, this little guy reminded them of how precious life is and how good a smile can make you feel!  The newbie would seriously stare people down until they finally noticed him, and then he would just put on the biggest smile!  It was so fascinating to watch him search people out and focus on them until he could give them a smile.  My little 7 month old son taught me that I need to search out people too.  While traveling, I noticed how hard people work at shutting themselves out - computers, ipods, mp3's, books, magazines, cell phones.  There are not very many people who want to become even a small part of someone else's life.  So, the newbie and I began a mission to see how many people we could smile at, say hello to, and give high fives to!  It was a ton of fun!  A smile is a very powerful tool!  I would encourage you this week to stare people down until they look at you, and then smile the biggest smile you can! It sounds crazy, but you'll be amazed at how good it makes you feel!  

I just arrived home yesterday afternoon around five, and in just a few hours, my sister, her husband, and their five kiddos will be on my doorstep!  I need to finish cleaning my house and try to think of something to cook up for supper tonight!  I better get to it!  I may not post very much again this week due to company, but I will be back soon!  I promise!  Have a beautiful day....and don't forget to smile!

June 20, 2012

A Quick Hello

For those of you who haven't heard, my Granny passed away this last Friday morning.  I live on the other side of the US from the rest of my family, and so I have made a quick trip back to be with them.  We are so very thankful that we know without any doubt that my Granny is in Heaven with Jesus now, but we do miss her already.  Thank you for your continued prayers for us.  Because I'm able to spend time with my family now, I will not write again until Monday.  For those of you doing the 90 Day Bible Reading, keep going!  I'm not sure what I'm going to do because I haven't had time to read much at all, but God understands.  The rest of you keep it up, and I'd love to hear what you are learning along the way!  Many blessings to all of you!  See you next Monday!

June 15, 2012

90 Day Bible Reading Day 15

Good Friday morning, Everyone!!!  I am pumped and ready to go this morning!  Aren't you just thankful that God gives us the opportunity to sleep (even though it may interrupted) and begin a fresh new day?   His mercies are new every morning!  His faithfulness is beyond my understanding, but I am so thankful for it!

Today is update day for the 90 Day Bible Reading.  I feel so guilty admitting that I am still behind, but I also can't lie about it.  SO....I am only on Day 10!  It seems I always get started on it fairly well, but then I only get about half of it read.  A friend of mine pointed out to me that Satan is probably working overtime in trying to prevent me from reaching this goal, and I really hadn't though about that.  So, you know what?  I am more determined than ever to catch up and stay on top!!!  So, I am changing a few things in my day to day routine to make more room for reading the Bible.  I will press on, and I hope by next Friday to be on Day 22 with you!  

If you are behind as well, please don't feel pressured to catch up.  If you want to and have the time to, go ahead.  If you can't, and it is making your life more stressful, just do what you can.  This is a time consuming commitment, I understand!  God sees our hearts, and that is what He is interested in! If you don't mind leaving a comment and letting me know how it's going, I'd love to hear!  I am praying for us each day that God would help us to keep our commitment to Him and His Word! I am not a huge fan of CCM, but I heard this song on the car radio, and it encouraged me as I was battling my frustration with achieving my reading goals.  I pray it will be a blessing to you as well!  Wishing you all a wonderful Friday full of blessings!

June 14, 2012

Things Learned...

Keeping in mind that these last three weeks have not been the "ideal motherhood experience" we long for, (that's a nice way of saying, "These last three weeks have been awful!") please read the following story and laugh at me or cry for me whichever you choose.  I couldn't decide which to do, so I did both!

Here is a small quote from yesterday's post: I also start violin lessons today! I'm hoping I don't embarrass myself too badly...however, it's probably inevitable! :)  And story!

Yesterday was one of those horrifically busy days.  The kids and I needed to leave no later than 10:30 AM to get the kids to their swimming lessons.  After swimming lessons, we had just enough time to shower and eat lunch before my violin lessons.  Because the lesson was in town, and we also had church that evening, I was planning on spending the rest of the afternoon running errands...busy day!  All that made for a very busy morning...making sure we had the house straightened (I'm still fairly certain that was unsuccessful), washing sheets (for the 10th time in 2 weeks...not lying!), getting swim stuff gathered, finishing up the grocery and errand list, getting church clothes together, and by all means, let's make sure we get the violin ready to go!

I made a huge pile of stuff for the kids to take to the car while I was finishing my make up and hair.  I rushed out the door, climbed into the car and very distinctly remember asking, "You guys got the violin, right?" And I know, without one single doubt, that I heard a "Yeah!" from somewhere!  We fly out of the driveway at 10:36 AM (obviously a little late already!)!

All is lovely until we get to town.  I went to grab something from the back of the car, slammed the hatch shut and then stopped completely dead in my tracks, paused for one moment hoping it wasn't true, then turned and opened the hatch again.  There is NO VIOLIN CASE ANYWHERE IN MY CAR!!!!  And it's pretty hard to miss seeing one of those!  I try to be calm, but I can feel a melt down coming!  I get in the car and ask again, "Did someone put my violin in the car?  Please tell me yes!"  The response this time...FOUR I didn'ts!  (Still haven't completely figured out this part of the story!)

I broke down in tears!  Here I am, a musician...with a degree in music no less..., a teacher of voice and choir for 10 years, whose sole purpose of driving an hour was to take a violin lesson, and I am faced with the only option of calling my violin teacher and giving her the lamest excuse in the book, "I forgot my violin!"  It took me ten minutes before I could dial the number!  In the end, it turned out fine.  She laughed and said she had one that she kept for just such occasions (insert my very sarcastic laugh here)!  I was able to show my face and did have a nice beginning to violin lessons.

I was so exhausted last night. I ended up getting groceries with just the little newbie.  I think the Mr. realized that for the sake of my sanity I needed to get groceries alone. The newbie is always such a happy guy, but not this night.  He screamed the entire time while I held him on one hip and lugged the cart through the store.  Did I also mention you bag your own groceries at this store? was a great time!  I'm telling you what, people!  God is trying to teach me something, and I must be a very hard headed student because things like this have been happening for THREE WEEKS now!

As I was going home at 10 PM, I began to analyze my life and where it all went so terribly wrong ( a little melodramatic, I know)!   I actually had quite the philosophical discussion in my mind and came to these three conclusions:

1. God wants me to see my sin as sin against Him.  Many times, I look at my sin as "failure" to my family or my kids, and I forget that it also sin against a holy and righteous God.  Each time I say an angry word or make an accusation, I did not just hurt my family, I sinned against God.

2.  God wants me to learn how to respond to problems.  These last three weeks have been full of literally dozens of stories just like the ones ain't fun and it ain't stoppin'!  To be honest, I have not handled many of the them the right way.  Maybe God is waiting for me to learn the lesson of how to respond when problems occur.  I need to remember that God is the author of all my days and nothing happens without His knowledge.  I need to stop counting all my problems and start looking for the lessons (and the blessings) in the them.

3. I am a wavering Christian full of doubts, and I need to pray with more faith.  I know that God wants my family to be a strong and godly one.  I pray, but then I try to fix; or I pray, and then I begin to think of all the many reasons why I will probably never see my family become the Christian family God desires us to be.  With God, all things are possible, and it would be His delight and pleasure to give me the desire of my heart, but I need to let Him do the work and let Him use me as He chooses so that He can best accomplish this.

So...a long post, and I'm not sure that I really went very far with it or made much sense out of it, but one of my reasons for writing is so that other moms know they are not alone.  We all have bad days, and I'm sure all of you moms could tell a far worse story than this one!  We moms put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get it right because we do only have one opportunity at this!  However, we do need to realize that there is a lot that we cannot do, and that we are only mere tools that God uses to help our family become like Him.  The only One who can really make our family a godly one is God Himself!  So, don't just include Him in Your plans.  Make Him the Author of your days, your story and your life!  Let Him do the creating while you, the tool, just rest in His hands.

June 13, 2012

Black-Eyed Pea Salsa

Goodness!  Tuesday came and went already!  I seem to be having a problem keeping up with the Tummy Tempting Tuesday, but never fear, here's a recipe anyway....guaranteed to be just as good even though it didn't come to you on a Tuesday! :)  This is a great summer recipe that we love to eat with chips or by itself!  We've found it tastes better if you make it ahead and let it chill in the fridge for awhile!

4 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 16 oz. oz. pkg. of frozen corn, thawed
1 15 1/2 oz. can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
3 green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh minced cilantro
1 cup Italian salad dressing

Combine first six ingredients together.  Drizzle with salad dressing and toss to coat.  Serve with a slotted spoon as a salad, with tortilla chips or with pork chops. Yield: 6 cup

Well, we are off to swimming lessons.  I'm so glad it's the kiddos swimming and not me!  We swim in an hour and a half, and right now, it is only 57* outside with a steady 15 mph wind!  Can we say BRRRRR!?!  I also start violin lessons today! Eeek!!!  I took violin for two years while at college and loved it, but it's been awhile, and I don't think I remember very much!  I'm hoping I don't embarrass myself too badly...however, it's probably inevitable! :)  Hope you all have a great and adventurous Wednesday!  I'll let you know how the violin lesson goes tomorrow!

June 11, 2012

What Does a Mom Do When the Going Gets Rough?

Maybe you can tell by the title how my week has started! :)  Last night, I left church and scared myself when I looked into the mirror in the car!  I told the Mr., "Wow, I look like a worn-out, frazzled mom tonight!"  I also felt like one!  I do believe that parenting goes through cycles of angelic behavior followed by even longer cycles of heathenish, who-do-you-think-you-are behavior!  We are, and have been for quite some time, in the latter!  I told my Mom and Dad on their last day here that I thought my children had probably used up all their goodness!  I didn't realize how prophetical that statement was! :)

This morning, we continued with the struggle of wills, and I just finally had to take a break and walk away for a few!  While I was walking away, I began asking God, "WHY????  Why is it that the harder we try to do what is right and to teach our children to love You with their whole heart...why is it then that so many silly battles begin? Why is the more we teach, the more we find that needs to be taught?  Will it never end?  Could we please just wake up one time, and everyone be happy and Christ-like?"  

So...what do you do when parenting seems hopeless?  You can't take a vacation...because they go with you.  You can't quit because you can't just walk away from your children.  Many times, you can't even take a day off, and when you do, you still come back to everything the way it was but just add a messier house to the deal!  Well, I am still a fairly "young" parent, and so I do not claim to be an expert, but I have found some things that have helped me through these rough phases, and so I thought I'd remind myself of them as I share them with you! 

1. PRAY!!!  This has become my first weapon of choice!  Many times, we may feel like we are fighting a losing battle because we have not let God fight for us.  Pray for yourself - that God would give wisdom and patience - as you deal with each problem whether big or small!  Pray for your children - that God will soften their hearts and accomplish HIS work in them. 

2.  SLEEP!!!  This used to be my first weapon of choice! :)  I know that there are many times when I am just worn out and worn down, and it is best for all involved if I just take a nap.  If you have little ones, place them in their crib or play pen and let them entertain themselves (or cry for a little)!  For those with older children, I have been known to bribe and even turn on a movie in order to get that very necessary nap!

3.  RECOGNIZE SATAN'S LIES!!! Remember the above conversation I had with God this morning?  Most of it was Satan speaking to me!  Remember, we are in a very real war against Satan, and his number one enemy is a Christian family!  I need to fight the lies he feeds me with the truth!  So, this morning, I began to quote our family verse. "Thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy, and at thy right hand are pleasures forevermore."  ~Psalm 16:11.  Our family really does have some wonderful days - lots of them, and as a homeschool, stay at home mom, I have had the privilege to disciple my children and watch them grow in Jesus and begin to make right choices for the right reasons.  I also recognized today how blessed I am that God graciously shows me things that my children need to be taught.  This is how they do become more Christ-like, and that is my heart's desire for my children!

4.  STICK TO THE RULES!!!  Be consistent!  Have a family pow-wow and remind everyone of God's expectations for your family.  Make sure you do not lecture on your expectations, but instead, lovingly through God's Word show them what God expects from family!  (So...I probably did not do this one exactly as written!  There was some lecturing in this house this AM...later followed by apologies). Remind them of the consequences of poor choices and wrong decisions, and then stick to them!

5.  HAVE SOME FUN!!!  This morning was high discipline in our home!  This afternoon was taking a walk with a snack and a book and some drawing materials.  We found a nice spot to lay out a blanket and read and color.  I made sure that I took the time to show them God's great love for them as well as my own.

I am sure there are more things that we can add to this list, and I'd love to hear your ideas.  These are the ones that I use time after time!  Yep!  If you offered me free babysitting and an all-expense paid trip to...well...anywhere!...I'd still take it!  But, since that probably isn't going to happen, I'll press on remembering that nothing good ever comes easy and that there is no sacrifice too great to make in exchange for children who truly want to love Jesus!  So, take heart, ye mothers (or as Miss M says, "Muvvers!")!  :)  With God's help, we can do this!  Nothing comes to us that has not first been sifted through His loving fingers, and God loves our children even more than we do!    

June 8, 2012

Day 8 of the 90 Day Bible Reading

I know everyone is not able to participate in the 90 Day Bible Reading Challenge, but I do want to take each Friday to let you know how it's working for me and what I'm learning through it.  It's a great way for me to be accountable, and I also pray that it will encourage some of you to take up the challenge in the future.

Unfortunately, I must confess that I am only on day 5!!!  I know...pretty lame, but guess what?  That's OK.  My plan is to make up those two days over the weekend during some of my extra quiet time, and so I hope to be back on track on Monday.  If you are doing this and are on Day 7...congratulations!!! That's a lot of reading and commitment, and you are off to a terrific start!  If you weren't able to complete the entire week, please don't become discouraged.  You can do like me and try to catch up, or you can just call it a missed day (or two or three ;)  ) and continue on!  My biggest worry with encouraging others to join me in this is that people will begin reading just to be able to say we did it!  Please don't rush through!  It really doesn't matter how quickly we read through the Bible.  What matters is how much we've let the Word soak into our hearts and change our lives.

I really, really, really enjoyed reading Abraham's life from start to finish.  Each time I read about him, I am amazed at how God used such an ordinary man with such ordinary faith.  Abraham's story has encouraged me to walk by faith more, and to make it a point of waiting on God instead of trying to fix everything myself.  This, of course, was a lesson Abraham and Sarah had to learn as well.  It's so comforting to know that God used someone so human to be the "Father of Many Nations" particularly the father of Israel.

I am looking forward to reading about the tabernacle and all of the many requirements God had as the people of Israel built it.  I have enjoyed reading the first chapters in Exodus and am excited to see all miracles God does for Israel.

Even if you are not joining us in the 90 Day Bible Reading, I would encourage you to make sure you make time for God each day.  The relationship that develops from this daily quiet time is amazing and sweet.  It will allow God to become so personal to you.  Please don't neglect this special time that God Himself longs to have with you.

Well, I don't know how I managed it, but most of my housework is done for the week!!!  Ah, I've missed thee!  We are having a fish fry with the Mr.'s parents tonight.  Fish fry = the Mr.'s cooking = a very happy me!!!  I also foresee root beer floats on the front porch this evening!  So thankful for God's little blessings to me!  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!  Take time to count all the many blessings God has given!

June 7, 2012

A Brunch Recipe's your very late Tummy Tempting Tuesday recipe!  It's one I just recently prepared ( in most likely tonight for supper!).  My family really enjoyed it, but the Mr. and I decided it was probably more of a brunch recipe.  It reminds me of a quiche, but seems to be much easier to prepare!  Maybe you should just give it a try and see what you think! :)  Can't wait to update you tomorrow on the 90 Day Bible Reading.  Until then...Happy Cooking!

Sausage Spinach Bake

1 pkg. (6 oz.) savory herb-flavored stuffing mix
1/2 lb. bulk pork sausage (I used a full lb.)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare stuffing according to package directions.  Meanwhile, crumble sausage into a large skillet; add onions and garlic; cook over medium heat until meat is no longer pink.
In a large bowl, combine the stuffing, sausage mixture and spinach.  Transfer to a greased 13 X 9 inch baking dish; sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese.  In a small bowl, combine cream and eggs; pour over sausage mixture.
Bake at 400* for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese; bake 5 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Yield: 12 servings

June 5, 2012

Faith and Godliness

I wrote this post yesterday, but due to a huge storm was not able to publish it.  I'll post a Tummy Tempting Tuesday Recipe later this afternoon!  

Some questions that I've been pondering since yesterday:  How godly am I willing to be?  How far will I step outside my "idea" of Christianity so that God can use me in a life changing way?  In our 90 Day Bible Reading, we read the entire story of Abraham's life.  We watched as his faith grew, and we saw how God took an ordinary man and made a nation from Him - a nation that has been and will be pivotal to the entire world's history.  All of this began with one man choosing to step out in faith.  I really don't think that Abraham fully grasped how God would use Him, yet he continued to take step after step in faith trusting that God would provide, guide and fulfill all the things promised to him.

Our family has also been reading George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol's Orphans by Janet and Geoff Benge.  While reading this biography, I was struck by the idea that the majority of Christians (myself included) never place themselves in a position so that we need to place our faith in God and only God.  We are set up in such a society that seems to be able to manage everything and get what we want when we want it.  George Muller refused to keep any money for himself.  If he had extra, he always gave it away.  Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son, trusting fully that God was going to somehow keep the promise He had made of making a great nation through Isaac.  The question I'm asking myself is, "Am I willing to put myself in a place where I have no one to trust but God?"  To be honest, it's a rather scary place to put myself.  I know it's where I should be.  It's even where I want to be, but I've never really been there yet.

You may be asking, "What do godliness and faith have to do with each other?"  I think a lot.  The more we grow in godliness, the stronger our faith will become.  George Muller read his Bible over 300 times in his life.  He was saved at the age of 20 and died at the age of 93.  This means during those 73 years, he read His Bible on an average of over 4 times every year!!!  As I told the Mr., "With that kind of commitment and hunger for God's Word, it's no wonder God answered his prayers!"  The more we practice godliness, the closer we come to our God.  The more we separate ourselves from the world, the more we find ourselves placing our faith in Him more than in ourselves or others or even in things.  The closer we draw to God in our pursuit of being more like Him, the more we give ourselves in complete abandonment to Him. I want to have that kind of faith - that kind of freedom!!!  To be able to sit down with nothing in front of me but have complete confidence that God will give me exactly what I do need. To be able to sacrifice anything and everything knowing that God has better for me.  That is what I want! 

This kind of faith...this kind of life...does not come without cost though.  It is not an easy life.  It is a life full of giving, giving, and giving more when you think you have nothing left to give.  It is a life of separation - separation from any thing that causes us to loose our focus of pursuing godliness. It is a life of forsaking yourself - placing God and others at the front of everything we do.  Whenever I think of a life of godliness, I always think of Luke 9:23:

And he (Jesus) said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

One of the traps we fall into as Christians is becoming godly with our outward appearances but not in our heart.  God doesn't want that kind of godliness. He wants a pure heart with pure motives.  He desires a true heart, a faithful heart, an obedient heart - a heart full of desire to serve Him at any cost.  So, again, I ask myself, "How godly am I willing to be? Am I willing to step outside of my 'idea' of Christianity so that God can use me in a life changing way?"  I pray that I will pursue God with a whole heart and that my faith will grow as a result.  What about you?

June 1, 2012

The Blessings My Birthday Boy Brings

What a blessed girl I am!  Not only have I been given undeserved salvation from a God who owes me nothing, but that same God has provided everything I need and far more!  Today, I am celebrating the blessing of my first little boy.  Seven years ago, he was born and what a sweet blessing he has been to us!  Our little man is exactly that...little but trying so hard to be a man!  He copies his Daddy in everything - all the way down to buying little notebooks to keep in his pocket to make notes on! :)  

Mr. A has always been our laid back, easy going boy.  He loves his brothers and sisters but also enjoys his alone time.  He will almost always answer an adult not in words but with a huge smile that lights up his big clear blue eyes.  You can ask him anything, and he'll probably only smile....unless you ask him about tractors or big moving equipment.  Then, he'll have a LONG conversation with you.  Funny thing is, he has a lot of accurate information to share with you about all that stuff.  He can tell you how many yards of dirt he can haul in his Dad's dump truck, how many pounds he can carry on the semi, and how the levers work in an excavator.  Like I said, he's trying to be just like his Daddy! :)

Mr. A. teaches me a lot about "going with the flow."  No matter what's going on or how the plans change, he usually just goes right along.  He will work on something for hours, and his smile sends out beams for miles when he finally accomplishes the goal.  Mr. A also reminds me of how much our children watch us.  For the most part, our kids tend to be high-spirited and independent (some of you are probably thinking that is a mild way to put it), and Andrew possesses his fair share of those qualities, but Mr. A is our kiddo that copies the Mr. and I more than other of the others.  It's amazing how many things he has done that the Mr. and I never even realized WE did until Andrew began doing them! 

Mr. A also LOVES the dirt!  I have actually heard him say, "We can't stop working on this, Dad, 'cause we're not dirty yet!"  His belief is the dirtier he is, the harder he worked! :)  That's why his summer wardrobe consists only of white t-shirts and jeans with holes!

And so, today, I'm working on a front-loader birthday cake for my little seven year old man!  For his birthday, Dad is pulling out a four wheeler that will become his once they fix it up together.  Too quickly, I'm afraid it will be a car!  I'm so thankful my little blond-haired, blue eyed boy, and as I see him today, I'm reminded each time of how undeservedly blessed I am!  What a great God I have!