Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Take 2

Lies Young Women Believe

I'm loving this blog: Lies Young Women Believe.

While I haven't read every article, the ones I have read are fantastic. A fabulous resource if you have teenagers or work with teenagers. This week she's highlighted articles about the Twilight series and I found her perspective to be very interesting and informative. I'd definitely encourage you to check out this blog!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving with family/friends! We were blessed with a wonderful day, even if we did miss our Eby family this year. I was too busy visiting and cooking to snap any pictures, but as soon as my sister Sherri or Aunt Nancy sends pictures I'll post them! Each year we divy up cooking responsibilities so no one person is overwhelmed with cooking the entire meal--which is so wonderful! We actually get to enjoy being with each other free from stress. My responsiblities this year was rolls & mashed potatoes (as usual) and added to this list dressing & gravy--which I've never made before. I decided to go with my mother-in-laws recipe since her dressing is the only kind I've ever eaten and liked. It actually went really well! I thought it tasted great and everyone agreed! The gravy didn't turn out super flavorful and I had to cheat by adding quite a bit of cornstarch to thicken it, but it wasn't bad for my first experience. I feel rather accomplished! Next year I should probably try making a turkey so I'll know how, but it's really okay with me if I never do. Sherri made several delicious dishes and did an amazing job washing dishes all morning so there wasn't too much of a mess after dinner, though of course she cleaned up that, too! I managed not to get sick this morning (hallelujah!) and fought my nasuea valiantly to complete my responsibilities. For those interested (namely Debi) the menu included the following delish dishes:
  • Assortment of appetizers
  • Smoked turkey breasts & gravy
  • Dressing
  • Glazed ham
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Sweet potato casserole
  • Baked beans
  • Corn
  • Cranberries
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Jello mold
  • Rolls
  • Pumpkin pie & whip cream
  • Peach cobbler & vanilla ice cream
  • Sweet tea, pepsi, sparkling cider

I love Thanksgiving with my family! And tomorrow we get to do it all over again with my husband's family! Yay! I'm making maccaroni & cheese for this meal. Hope your day was as wonderful & blessed as ours!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day 25

25) Mild Morning Sickness (25

Though this morning was my first throw-up morning sickness morning, I realize that's extremely mild for many. I am grateful that I have had mild nasuea this pregnancy. It is my constant friend and reminder of the little one growing inside me, but not too constant to prevent me from eating and only once really affected my daily routine. For all this I am grateful and say, praise Jesus!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day 24

24) Haircut (24

It's really not much more then a trim & a slightly new style of layers, but I just love that feeling of a fresh cut. I went to a new place on a total whim and perchanced on a sweet and good beautician. Yay for unexpected haircuts & God's provision!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 23

23) Ivory's Pediatrician (23
I'm grateful for a kind and understanding pediatrician. She is respectful of my opinions even when different from the mainstream medical persepective. She's extremely supportive of nursing mothers and even has a lactation consultant part time in her office. Ivory loves her! She's very calm whenever the doctor comes in to look at her, I think it's her soothing voice and middle eastern accent. Some days I think I just *have* to find another pediatrician because I can't stand waiting so long, but then, on days like today where the wait was approximately 15 minutes and we had such a good visit I remember why she's worth the wait. A good doctor is worth his/her wait in gold. I praise God we've found one for Ivory!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 22

22) Hot Water (22

The modern convenience of a hot water heater, indoor plumbing, and electricity is truly amazing. I'm so glad I live in this era!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 21

21) Clean House (21

My precious and amazing husband welcomed us home yesterday with a spotless home! The breeze blew through the open windows, a light lavender candle burned and the kitchen sink shone brighter then it has since buying it! The floors were freshly mopped & swept, the dishes clean, closets organized & the linens freshly washed. I know, you're all agreeing with me now, so I'll say it again--I have a precious & amazing husband. He knows how to speak love to this girl's heart! Ivory ran around the house like crazy, excited by *everything*. When were about a mile away I reminded her that we were going home and we would see dada. About a block away she started babbling, "dadada, dadada." When we pulled into the driveway and dada poked his head out the door her excitement grew as she continued with, "dadada!" She was so excited to see her dada! She gave him hugs & kisses and lots of attention the rest of the day. We spread a blanket in the yard for a while and just watched her as she ran from flower to blanket to flower to cat to flower to dirt...etc. She was so excited to be home--and out of the car. But, thanks to Grandma lending us her DVD player the ride home was actually quite bearable (maybe even slightly pleasant for Ivory, bearable for mommy considering I listened to Elmo much longer then I ever desire to listen in any one sitting). Between Elmo, a nap, and Baby's Happy Songs CD (thank you Sherri!) we had a pretty good trip.
Ivory laid down for a her nap like a champ and we actually had to wake her up 2 hours later to eat dinner! At bedtime she actually begged daddy to put her in bed and waved good-bye so she could go to sleep that night. So, Grandpa apparently you didn't spoil her too bad by laying down with her for every nap! ;-) We celebrated the reunion with snuggle time & a movie and thoroughly enjoyed being home together--in a super clean house! And here's just how sweet my honey is, "The house was clean before you came home, but you've made it beautiful." Pitter-patter goes my heart! And that's not all--he currently is with Ivory somewhere at the church so I could take an early morning nap & have some alone time this morning. How did I ever get so lucky?!
While at Grandma's house Ivory learned a new trick I hope to catch on video soon. We ask her how old she is and she says "un" holding up one finger (old trick) then we count, "two, three, four..." and she shouts, "ive!" and sometimes holds up 5 fingers. Then, she claps quite proudly. She also has mastered roaring like a bear and says "pizza", though it sounds more like "phphphphisa" (imagine a tongue out and spitting involved in the pronunciation and you've just about got it). She understands so much now--we're already having to start the spelling! She is becoming such a big girl! She cleans up her toys so well (most of the time) and has been extra obedient this past week. I've really enjoyed her being healthy & happy!
Now to finish unpacking & enjoy some more honey time!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 20

20) Reunions (20

I'm so grateful to be back with my sweetheart!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 19

19) No Television (19

I'm grateful that we don't have TV in our home. We enjoy some great movies, but have no channels. I have very little self-control with TV and can sure blow some time watching it when visiting relatives. I enjoy a few oldies but become easily depressed with too much news and some of the newer shows which show compromising moral standards. I in no way judge those who have TV and enjoy visiting & watching theirs! I'm just grateful that my husband and I are in agreement that it doesn't have a place in our homes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 18

18) Prayers & Recovery (18

My husband is getting better every day and we can return home soon! Thanks so much for all the prayers. I'm anxious to be back with my sweetheart, Ivory's ready to see "dadada", and he's lonesome without us. But...three cheers for being together again very soon!!! For now, Ivory & Grandpa are enjoying cuddle time during her morning nap and I thoroughly enjoyed sleeping in until nearly 10am this morning thanks to Grandma & Grandpa playing with Ivory! Can't even remember the last time I did that--thanks Mom & Dad.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 17

17) Rest (17

I'm grateful for the opportunity to rest while at my parents. Thank you Mom & Dad for all the help with Ivory & for pampering us!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 16

16) Good Health (16

Praising God that Ivory and I are currently healthy! Praying for my sweet husband who is suffering with the stomach flu. Ivory and I have escaped to Mom & Dad's so we can avoid contamination. Praying it worked! It was soooo hard to leave my husband behind, but I have to look after my babies. I'm grateful to know that my pastor will look in on him in my absence. So, if you could say a quick prayer for him!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 15

15) My Sewing Machine (15

Though at times I want to throw it through the window because, at times, it drives me crazy (as all machinery/techonology does), I'm really extremely grateful for my machine and my Mother-in-law who gave it to me. I love the old, simple, straight stitch machines. I also love experimenting with my Mom's fancy embroidery machine...not that I've actually had time to do that day...

I learned to sew on a machine like this:

For a long time I preferred it to my Mom's computerized machine with 101 fancy features. As fun as it was...I'm grateful that's not the machine I currently use. So thank you to the inventer of the sewing machine. Oh, and did I mention I despise hand sewing? So yes, double thanks to the inventor of the sewing machine!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day 14

14) Fashion (14

I actually have a love/hate relationship with it, but I'm grateful that God's given us the freedom and creativity to express ourselves in so many different avenues of life, one being fashion. I'm grateful we live in an era where so much variety is available & accepted. I think I've embraced fashion because I lack the ability to express my artistic desires in pretty much any other form (i.e. painting, photography, drawing, singing, etc.). Fashion designing actually used to be on my list of "things to be when I grow up." I think my job as wife & mom is much better. Besides, that's what baby is for, right? My own personal model who doesn't complain how I dress her...yet.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 13

13) God's Word (13

In a world that praises relativism & is loaded with constant change, I rejoice that I can find peace & strength by planting myself firmly in the unchanging truth of the Bible. And don't think for a minute that just because it's unchanging it's not alive, active, and totally applicable today.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 12

12) Internet (12

Particularly blogs & facebook--I love being able to keep in touch with friends & family who live far away, and even those who are close. It makes living far away from family bearable. Remember when dial-up was the only option? And now we have it on cell phones! Oh, such bliss!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 11

11) Our Soldiers (11
A special thank you to my grandfathers who served in World War II.

A special thank you to my father-in-law who served as a Civilian with the Core of Engineers. He want to Iraq twice to help rebuild the country. The stories he told and the pictures he sent were a far cry from what we heard/saw from the media. On his first trip he managed the team that rebuilt a school for the precious children pictured below. On his second, more dangerous trip, he managed the team that built a cancer hospital for children. I also admire his family for the sacrifice of their dad during that time, especially my mother-in-law. I'm not sure if I could have been as brave & generous as her.
These are pictures of the old school.

The new school built by the Core of Engineers.
Dedication of the new school.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 10

10) “Safe” Hurricane Weather (10

I’m glad we’re only receiving a little rain & wind from dear Ida. The flooding in our backyard will make for some intense skimming for my husband & the teenagers. A perfect day for a hurricane party with the teenagers!

Ivory helping Mom prepare waffles for the guests. Don't worry teens, her feet are clean.

Hamming it up for the camera.

Mad game of Dutch Blitz

Hurricane? What hurricane?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sewing Project Anyone?

Okay, so these aren't exactly seasonally appropriate sewing projects--but they're adorable! And of course, you could always go for the layered effect.

Check out these great links to free patterns:
(this is simple even if your sewing skills are very basic)

Thanks for the tip, Mrs. Tess!

Now, if I can ever finish my entire box full (it is sorta a small box) of items to be completed then I'll allow myself to start a new project. I have to say, normally I can't stand to have things undone, but I don't really mind always having ongoing sewing projects. It's sort of like my book reading problems in high school/college where I would start 5 different books and read them concurrently...sort of. That's no longer an issue now, I simply don't read. Ha, not really, it's just a lot more difficult to find time. When reading a very intriguing novel I become absolutely consumed and all I want to do is read it to the complete neglect of my family, household, sleep, and all other responsibilities. For example, when Ivory was a newborn and still doing the constant-waking-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-routine and in the take-forever-to-nurse-stage (it took me a while to catch on that she just liked using me as a pacifier) I decided to read a book while nursing. I decided that plan had to end when I started reading during one of the night feedings and wasted the ever-so-preciou 2 hour stretch of sleep I could get on a novel. So, I restrict myself to informative reading that does not consume me and save novels for very special occassions.

But, to those of you with no current sewing projects--be inspired!

Day 9

9) Our Youth Group (9

Let me just say that all those negative stigmas about working with youth--throw them out the window! I LOVE working with our teenagers! They are a blast! They continually amaze me with their maturity and passion for Christ. Here's just a few things our teenagers have been up to this past year:

  • Praying every day at the high school before school starts. One student asks, "Why just pray once at year at See You At The Pole? Why not everyday?" Then he started the prayer group.

  • Memorizing many large passages of Scripture and quoting them word perfectly.

  • One student carries a notebook around with Scripture passages he finds challenging and constantly works on memorizing them.

  • Church, Association, State, & National Bible Drill

  • Summer Accountability/Bible study groups (boys were waking up before 7am--in the summer)

  • Publicly confessing serious sin problems & asking for prayer & accountability

  • Mission trip to Costa Rica

  • Sacrificing sports & extracurricular activities to spend extra days in Bible & character studies were homework & tests are involved--and thriving

  • Bold testimonies before the church & peers

  • High school papers on: secular humanism in the public school system (9th grade), abortion, creation vs. evolution

  • One girl who appears to have many reasons to justify anger toward at God instead has learned to weep for injustice & sin and turns her hurts into prayers & cries to God.
Our students battles range from being falsely accused of homosexuality, berating about purity stances, tobacco abuse, alochol abuse, drug addictions, divided homes, physical & emotional abuse, pornography addictions, rejection from friends, and taunting concerning their Christianity. However, I have seen some of these students daily choosing to pick up their cross and follow after Christ, putting on God's armor and fighting hard against the sin that seeks to overpower them. There are many more who still need God's truth to permeate their hearts and set them free. It is extremely rewarding to play a small part in leading these students to know & embrace the truth.

Check out this quote from one of my student's testimonies he'll be sharing next Sunday on how he faces persecution: "With these conversations [referring to tauntings & berating concerning his purity stance] I do not look to change the subject or ignore them. I look at it to share my relationship with Christ and why I make these sacrifices as well as share the benefits of this lifestyle. Thessalonians 1:5 says, 'And God will use this persecution to show His justice and to make you worthy of His Kingdom, for which you are suffering.' I feel if we didn't have persecution we wouldn't be as strong Christians as we are. So God has taught me to use persecution as an opportunity to share His Word and His name...When persecution comes again for me living for God I plan to step up for Him and share Christ's love. I hope to lead them to the throne and to be confident that Christ is with me and I am suffering for His kingdom." --10th grade

Next Sunday our students will lead the worship service with Bible Drills, Scripture quoting, ushering, greeting, and testimonies. I am stoked! We will be spending the entire weekend studying God's Word together and learning the books of the Bible. Pray for us. God is up to something huge in the lives of these young people!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day 8

8) My Church Family (8

We are blessed with a very warm, friendly, loving, generous body of believers. You're welcome to test this out any Sunday--just watch, you'll be greeted warmly by many sweet people. I love the heart for evangelism our church has. There are so many people I can count on in a pinch! It's really difficult to have family live far away, but knowing we have our church family close by makes a world of a difference. When Jason & I married the men in the church gave their time and the congregation their money to completely remodel our home. They not only remodeled it, but they let Jason & I pick out the paint, doors, tile, cabinets, light fixtures--pretty much everything. I can't tell you the amount of times we've come home to find a thoughtful offering on our porch. Sometimes it's clothes, other times diapers, and in the summer its fresh veggies & fruit! We receive homemade cakes & goodies & generous monetary gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, pastor appreciation, holidays, etc. I am continually amazed by how this body of Christ shows us love. Sure, we have our problems, but what family doesn't? It's a joy to serve Christ with these flawed, but genuine people.
I love that for such a small church we're always doing something new, exciting, and adventurous. I love that we have anywhere from 25-50 teenagers on any given Wednesday night and 60-80 children. Many times they outnumber the adults! We're sure to keep that on the dl though, don't want any uprisings! We often challenge our teenagers to pack out the front pews of the church so much that the adults are pushed into the back & balcony! The best part--most of our adults would love it just to see all those young people worshipping our Lord!
I love our worship services. I go each Sunday anticipating that God will move in a unique & powerful way. Our choir does a fabulous job setting the example for worship. Our choir director, Mrs. Robin, does an incredible job leading them to worship. My amazing husband does a phenomenal job leading our people to look past him to Christ as we lift our hands in worship. Brother Mike always reminds us of our primary purpose on this earth & sets the example of running hard after God.
I can't imagine what my life would be like without my church family. I praise God for His body and for the privilige of being a part of it.

Day 7

7) Our incredible pastor & his fabulous family--they're like family to us (7
Brother Mike & his family nurtured our relationship from day 1, and he was there to lead us in our "I do's." Jason & I are blessed to be under his generous, compassionate, and passionate leadership. He's always good for a joke, too ( the time we changed all their clocks while they were running errands and had them convinced it was 2 hours later then the real time and they didn't realize it until they were almost in bed...or the time we moved various objects in teh their house just to see how long it would take them to notice...or when we...welll, we'll stop there, hey, their mistake, they gave the youth pastor a key!).

Brother Mike headed to the hosital *early* in the morning while I was in labor with Ivory. He stayed for a while and prayed in the waiting room. He then left to go home for a while, but halfway home (we're talking a 45min drive here) he felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to return to the hospital. He came back and stayed outside my door and prayed. Here he is rewarded with some Ivory snuggles only hours after her birth--and now he receive plenty of her smiles & exuberant joy when she sees him coming or standing in the pulpit as she excitedly waves from the balcony each Sunday.

Mrs. Robin is one of the busiest, most generous & enthusiastic people I know. She is always pushing her team of children's workers, choir members, and all around her to do their best by her leadership and own example. She is friendly & sacrifical. I'm blessed by the way she & her husband have raised their two daughters to be godly young ladies, so I listen carefully whenever she hands out child raising advice. (And sadly, this is the best picture I have of her. Maybe we'll eventually get one where you can see her face!)

These precious girls, Cassie & Christina, are like my sisters. Christina is actually the first student I met in college when I was visiting the school (not that she remembers... ;-) & is the one who first invited me to Wewa & introduced Jason & I--so how can I not love her?! She's always good for a long talk (we tie in our speedy & excessive speaking/listening skills), some good laughs, and as a shoulder to cry on...well, more like with, we're both suckers for sympathy crying. She is proably the friendliest person I know of. She's the only one I know who spotted 3 muslims she didn't know, walked up & introduced herself, engaged in a lengthy conversation, began corresponding with them & even ate dinner with them at her home--all because of her love & passion for people & leading them to Christ. I can *always* count on meeting/talking with someone new when with this girl.
As Cassie has matured into a beautiful young woman she has become more then just a little sister & is now a dear friend. You will always laugh when in her company (or be laughed a loving way, of course...though keep in mind, she may actually be laughing at a joke she told her head). She is a tremendous help with Ivory--she actually ASKS to babysit on the weekends when she's home from college! I'm proud of her strong commitment to Christ & His Word even when she seems to stand completely alone. She's one of the most headstrong, stubborn girls I know--in a good way.

Nate received a gem when he married Christina, and she didn't do too bad herself. ;-) We actually really like Nate & were ecstatic to be present for their wedding. His passion for the Lord & reaching people is well matched to his bride & they make an incredible team.
When I was in college I came nearly every weekend and stayed at this family's house where they treated me as one of their own. I was always impressed by how real they are. No pretenses with this family.
They're always good for a meal (they know how I love to eat and rarely turn down a dinner invitation!) & are willing to give or do anything that we need. Brother Mike is always looking out for Jason & our family. He is passionate about his family, evangelism, missions, and the body of Christ, particularly the part He's been led to shepherd.
I know we blessed to have such a unique relationship with our pastor and I never cease to be grateful. So thanks to my pastor & his girls, but thanks most of all to God who blessed us with a beautiful extension of family.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Day 6

6) My husband woke up with baby & let me sleep in (6

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 5

5) My freshly painted & newly roofed home (5
next up: landscaping

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Day 4

4) Home Videos (4

Day 3

3) Changing Leaves--and that I was blessed to see them this year! (3