"…And she smiles at the future." ~Proverbs 31:25

Posts tagged ‘laughter’

Hungry much?

I found some old Bible class papers from when Connor was little. This was one of them:

That child. He’s always been Connor.

Hope you’re smiling today! I’d love to hear why…

Thanks for stopping by.

What I learned at PTP (Part 1)

I’m sure I’m not the only one who went through PTP wishing everyone I know could have been there. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who came back wanting to share everything I learned with anyone willing to listen. Since neither of those is a realistic option, I thought I’d settle for sharing with you some of the highlights from the sessions I attended last week.

These are the things that made an impression on me, or that changed me, or that I hope will make me better.  Consider this the condensed version–the Cliff’s Notes–of our week at Polishing the Pulpit.

The Great Smoky Mountains at sunset…Breathtaking!

From “God Loves You More Than You Can Possibly Understand” by Eric Owens:

We love babies before we meet them…before they’re ever born…not once they can walk, not once they’re potty trained and have met all our expectations. We didn’t DO anything to get God’s love. There are no conditions on His love. The difference between a baby before birth and after is that once the baby is born, our love gets to be expressed. What has the baby done to deserve it? Absolutely nothing. Remember, God was love before man was ever created.

The kids had a blast at PTP camp! They learned about Bible Geography, played games, had a visit from a missionary, had Bible lessons, sang songs, looked at coins from Bible times, and made crafts.

From “Rules, Respect, and Roaring Laughter–Showing Children That Christianity is the Most Fun Life” by Sami Nicholas:

We need to help our children look down the stream of time before they ever step in the water.

“I want my children to know that the funniest, happiest times are so closely knit with our church family that they could never think about leaving it.”

My sweet husband and my sweet little brother…Words cannot express how much I love these two preacher boys!

From “Helping Our Husbands Succeed” by Donna Faughn:

Be his 2 C’s: His greatest cheerleader, and his kindest critic.

A psychologist said, “The point at which many marriages jump the track is in over-investing in children and under-investing in the marriage.”

I have the power to undermine his leadership in the home, causing him to fail. Why would I want to do that?

Remi loved her time in child care with the little ones. The ladies who cared for them all week were so sweet and such troopers!

From “Seven Minutes of Wisdom for Women” by Sheila Butt:

Studies show that kids who memorize Scripture are less likely to leave the church.

From “The Spiritual Discipline of Frugality” by Cliff Goodwin:

Frugality helps us show we love the Giver, not just the gifts.

We all have lots of obligations. We all have one chief obligation.

Our kiddos loved PTP. They learned so much!

From “Reclaiming the Family Meal” by Jana Lyons:

Studies show that kids who eat with their families regularly are LESS likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, use illegal drugs, suffer from depression, have eating disorders, and commit suicide. They are MORE likely to do well in school, abstain from premarital sex, have a good vocabulary, eat vegetables, and use good manners.

(Does that make anyone else want to run to the kitchen and start cooking?)

Addy learned how teachers make visual aids for their Bible classes.

From “Improving Your Personal Prayer Life” by Mike Vestal:

Grace=God’s riches at Christ’s expense

Get up early and find a quiet place. Not a morning person? It’s a discipline!

(Ouch.)

Remi was proud of the lion she made in class.

From “Is It Nothing to You? Keeping Our Hearts Soft and Our Passion for Souls Strong” by Michael Shepherd:

Circumstances can make us BITTER or BETTER.

(On missions:) If you can’t go in PERSON, go in your PURSE.

The Christ we cannot share is the Christ we cannot keep!

From “Time Management for Homeschool Moms” by Tonya Strong:

Your work in the church is your family. Your family is your work in the church.

Hard is good. It means you’re growing.

If I invite Him into my house in the morning, He’s going to be sitting beside me throughout the day as I teach.

(I LOVE that thought!)

If you were at PTP and something jumped out at you in any of your classes, please share it in the comments. I’ll share some more of mine tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by!

Check out these PTP-related posts:

What I learned at PTP (part 2)

What I learned at PTP (Part 3)

PTP highlights

What exactly is PTP?

Our Great Smoky Mountains Adventure

Traveling Smiles

Thankful for messy rewards

When I came across this scrapbook page with a several-years-old picture, I was struck by the fact that everything in my journaling–except for the number of kids!–still holds true today. Our life is still crazy-chaotic. And I still feel so very blessed. I would not trade this privilege for anything!

(Journaling is typed below the page for those of you who don’t want to squint.) And yes, they’re sitting in chairs on TOP of the picnic table. (Why did I let them do that?)

I "threw" everything together on the page to reflect our crazy, messy life.

Journaling reads:

Right now, my life revolves around taking care of you three.

It’s the job God gave me, and I wouldn’t choose any other way.

The days are filled with messes, noise, laughter, learning, playing, chaos, reading, singing, dancing, teaching, pretending, praying, and hugs.

The house is never clean and there’s not much peace and quiet…but love and laughter are even better!

I love my life! I am blessed…

Did you notice that little sticker with the word ‘JOY’ at the top of the clipboard accent? How fitting is it that I overlooked it the first few times I looked at the page?  It’s not always easy to see JOY in the day-to-dayness of a chaotic life. But it is always there somewhere, ready to be found IF we are searching for it.

It also struck me that the words on the arrow sticker–‘it doesn’t get better than this’–turned out not to be true after all. Because here we are, six years later, having been blessed with another little one, which just means we now have even more noise/mess/chaos. And I love it.

But I’ll also be the first to admit, it isn’t always easy. (Actually, is it EVER easy?) So, if you are feeling overwhelmed today by the insanity that life with little ones can bring, please remember Psalm 127:3 with me…

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward.

Let’s thank Him for the chaos this reward brings–noise and mess and all. It won’t last nearly long enough.

Thanks for stopping by!

The Kentucky weekend that changed my life

Have you ever noticed how certain memories tend to lock on and never let go, washing back over us at the strangest of times? Or that even years down the road, some memories still cause our emotions to swell as if the remembered events had just taken place? Or that the potential for really bad news tends to make good news that much sweeter?

Here I am more than five years ago during a visit to Kentucky to spend time with my dear friend, April. Notice that I am smiling as we scrapbook into the wee hours of the morning.

Oh, the smile was genuine, alright. But lurking nearby was something else. Not fear, really, but more of an acceptance that something really awful might be around the corner for my family and me. And if that sounds a bit melodramatic, so be it, but I look at this picture and can still taste the uncertainty I felt during that time.

I came to some important conclusions that weekend, and when I got home I scrapbooked them, too. Obviously this page was not about scrapbook style or design, but about the memories of that incredibly emotional time. (I typed out the journaling below so you don’t have to squint or buy glasses to read it.)

Laughter Therapy: The Kentucky Weekend That Changed My Life

Journaling reads:

The getaway had been planned a full ten months earlier, so how could I have known what God had in mind for me that weekend? I couldn’t have known that shortly before my trip I would find a problem…or that my doctor would find the same problem without my mentioning it…or that he would order the series of mammograms to determine what was wrong. I couldn’t have known I’d have to spend that weekend waiting…hoping that I could handle whatever the test results showed.

Ten months earlier, the trip had been planned as a way for both of us to get away from it all…to spend a long weekend in another state with only our scrapbook supplies and each other. No jobs, no home schooling, no cooking or cleaning. No husbands, no kids, no deadlines. Just precious, quiet time to relax, listen to music, eat junk, scrapbook, shop, and catch up on each others’ lives.

Although I hadn’t planned to spend that weekend waiting and wondering, the trip was just what I needed. Not only did it provide the blessing of diversion, it taught me some lessons I hope I never forget.

Here is what I learned in Kentucky:

1. Everything is going to be OK. And, even if it’s not, well…everything will be OK. Really.

2. The family I so much needed a break from is made up of the people most important to me. I began to truly look forward to whatever time I had left with them.

3. Friends and friendship deserve so much more time and effort than I tend to give them. Having a friend to pray with is an indescribable gift.

4. Laughter really is the best therapy. We laughed, and cried, and laughed until we cried. There is something so cleansing, so rejuvenating, about a long, deep, belly laugh.

I must admit…when we began this little photo shoot on the last day of our trip, I couldn’t help but wonder if these would be the last photographs we would ever take together. After all, as I was being reminded, who ever knows how much time they have left? I found myself being so thankful for the precious time we had spent together and the fun memories we had made. As we posed together, I felt sentimental and nostalgic and blessed.

Yet it didn’t take long for the serious poses to give way to fits of laughter. What started it? Absolutely no idea. How long did it go on? Not sure, but just look at how red my face and chest were!

I will never be able to look at this picture without smiling, or even laughing out loud. Thanks to a friend who was wise enough to keep shooting pictures even after we’d completely lost our composure, a moment was captured that I never want to forget. A moment where I knew that regardless of all the uncertainties of the future, I could still live in the moment…and laugh.

Here are just a few more pictures (all by Connie Vernon–THANK YOU, CONNIE!) from the gazillion we took that weekend.  Note the progression of our facial expressions and posture, from serious and contemplative to hysterical and out of control. Love. That. Memory.

“…and she smiles at the future.” ~Proverbs 31:25

Thanks for stopping by!

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