Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bible reading!

I feel a little guilty that I might have publicly portrayed a blase attitude toward my bible study, which I do not have. I do intend to go back to my bible study sessions. I have been writing my spiritual legacy and looking at how God has been working in my life even when I did not realize it. But curiosity got me to creating the poll to the right. Please vote and let me know how often you read the bible.

Carving our Pumpkin

So tonight we carved our pumpkin - a bit later than usual this year, but we have had a lot going on which has prevented us from doing it earlier. This is how it goes down. Daddy carves the pumpkin. I design faces for the pumpkin. Then we vote on the best one as a family. Then I draw it on the pumpkin, and daddy carves the rest of it. Daddy also had fun gutting him and showing it to the kids this year. We also nibbled on some yummy popcorn treats courtesy of a Giada de Laurentiis recipe from the food network, which I modified. Pea played with the votives while daddy carved, and daddy attempted to teach Princess how to carve parts of the pumpkin. (He's a lot crazier than I thought - just kidding, my sweet husband!) Then we put a votive in, lit it up, and looked at how great it looked.

Toothy Pea

Pea has gotten teeth much slower than Princess - he barely had 4 on his first birthday. He got his first 2 teeth at 8 months, and it took 4 months to get another set of 2. Now he is getting another about 3 1/2 months later. So he has 6, but he is working on having 8 soon. I've heard that the slower they get teeth the better, but for a hungry meat eating boy, I'm ready for the teeth to get here.

And for an overdue update on Pea, as of the second week of October, he weighed 20 lbs, and we were able to face the seat forward. Actually, we were going to let him ride backwards for a little longer, but he seemed fussy so we thought we would see what happened if we changed his seat. He is a little happier, until he runs out of toys and books to throw in the floor or until he can no longer steal whatever Princess happens to be holding.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mondo Fun Day

Today, I was bad and skipped bible study because I am way behind on my homework and feel like I should just finish it on my own instead of going to class. So my kids and I had a mondo fun day. Last night, daddy set up a sheet fort for them to play in. But when they woke up, I dressed them and took them to guess where? Chick-Fil-A for breakfast. I like to get Pea's belly as full as possible before going shopping, and we needed some groceries to make Halloween treats! So they got to play in the play area too. We talked to a birthday boy who was having his party there and began to think we might have ours there too. Then on to Wal-Mart we went for Halloween supplies.

Then to Publix for a couple of odds and ends that we didn't get at Wal-Mart, like milk because it is cheaper there (and I had a coupon). The kids got to ride in the coolest grocery cart ever - and I felt like we should have done our main shopping there as they were having so much fun. I must say these carts are for my kids one of the best inventions ever. Pea was actually having fun. It is a double decker and the top is a two seater designed as a racecar for the kids and they face out (so they see what I see). They are awesome! I couldn't find a pic of them - maybe I'll take my camera to Publix next time.

Then home for a lunch they didn't care about. Fort time. Nap time for Pea and candy making time for me and Princess. This also included laundry and cleaning too. In the middle of the candy making I got shocking news that there was a murder in my neighborhood today. I was a more than a little alarmed. So after the candy making, Princess and I hundled up on the couch and watched Monsters Inc while brother continued to sleep.

And then we went to the Cheesecake Factory for Papaw's birthday dinner. It was yummy and fun!

It was a mondo fun day! (minus the shocking news).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fall Festival

Today was our fall festival. The kids dressed as "the Princess and the Pea" this year. Here are some of the pics from it.

My "Princess and the Pea"

best friends - Princess & CE
C & Z eating candy

dancing to the folk music

Friday, October 24, 2008

Catching Up

Sorry to all my loyal readers who have been missing my blogs. I've been a little tired lately, and trying to take care of some things in the house. I am so tired that I often think I have a condition (and this is not a recent feeling), but as far as I know it is only mommyhood.

Princess has completed her first "long" chapter book. I read it to her of course. It is called "School's Out!" by Wanda E. Brunstetter. It is about an Amish family and particularly a little Amish girl named Rachel. We hope to get the next book in the series, but for now, we have started Pippi Longstocking. She already thinks it's great! You might think it a little strange to be reading such an advanced book at this stage, but I think reading and reading on an advanced level is that important. Besides, it is Princess's favorite thing to do, and it is something we can share together, and I get to read fun and interesting kid's books at the same time.

Pea is also gaining knowledge. He is talking more and more. He recognizes a lot of his animals, and he has started recognizing stars, which seems impressive to me. He says "tawr" for "star", and a similar sound for "car." He also said his first two word phrase - "my ball." He knows some body parts, but I can't seem to make it interesting enough to teach him very much at a time. And he has started using a fork fairly well. He is also starting to sit (or stand, so he can quickly move on to something else) and watch a little TV - Sesame Street. I always like Sesame Street as a beginning show because it teaches them so much - not that I advocate a lot of TV at this age. Pea watches less than 30 minutes, which is a lot, especially for a busy body like him. Princess watches up to 90 minutes - she could watch for hours, but I don't let her. And Pea has started climbing down stairs while standing up a little on his own, mostly while holding my hand. He knows he could fall, so he likes the safety of holding my hand. He is as always very loving and affectionate and very independent. He is also prone to injury, and currently, he is prone to fits. He is very jealous of Princess and wants to communicate very badly (thus the fits).

Princess knows all of her letters and recognizes them on sight. She knows both upper and lower case, though we have to review them to keep them in her memory well. Princess is also very good at math. I am amazed at her ability to add and subtract, even though she doesn't know that's what she is doing, of course. We've started using some new materials for math and she is starting to recognize more and more of her numbers too. I have tried to branch out into to other subjects like science and social studies, but only a little bit, and only occasionally. She is also learning bible verses - we usually keep to the ones we learn at church, but I add to them for teaching purposes every now and then.

If I think of more, I'll add later...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

She's at Home Now

Well, early Saturday morning, Oct 18th, my granny went home to be with Jesus, and I am so thankful that this is the case, and that I could pray knowing full well that she would be going home to heaven, and no where else. I choose to remember her the way she was in this picture, holding my sweet Princess. She was born on Dec 7, 1923, and she was 84 years old. She was married to my PaPa for 61 years, and she loved the Lord more than any one I know. His name was always on her lips. She was often a fearful person, and we were worried that she was fearful of going to heaven, but all of her life choices speak volumes that she was not afraid. I know that her prayers for me have guided me in ways she never knew on this side and is only beginning to know on that side. I am sad not to be able to speak to her, but I am also so very happy to know that her suffering is over, and she is absolutely healed. All of my life, she had trouble with her feet, and in the end, it was her feet that finally took her life. Those beautiful feet fit with the readiness of the gospel, those feet are so healed, and they are dancing with Jesus. Perhaps it is just my imagination, but I see her dancing and talking to all the people who have gone before her. She's meeting Moses, and Elijah, and all of those in the hall of faith. And I am so sorry to lose such a beautiful woman, but so happy to know where she is.
I love and miss you, Granny! Thank you for leaving me with a strong spiritual heritage.
For more on my granny's life with me, visit this post.
The funeral yesterday was hard because she and I had such a special relationship, and because of that, I was mindful of special memories brought to life through the hymn played on the piano and her desire to be called, G. G. G. - Great Granny Gladden.
We ended up taking the kids with us to the visitation and funeral, and I have found that a few of you think this is strange, but my daughter knew Granny, and we used it as a teaching opportunity. I believe all of life is a chance to teach and to teach truth. Although, I hardly knew how to teach some it, I believe children are amazing and my Princess amazes me with her insight and ability to learn.
I took her to see Granny for the last time. Princess said this:
"She's asleep, and she's not going to wake up. She's with Jesus now, but we are with Jesus too. Bye, Granny!" I explained a little more about the separation between us and her. Then she touched her hair and curled up into my PaPa's lap. I believe God has an amazing ministry planned for my little girl.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Raking and a Sad First

Tonight, Princess helped daddy rake the yard, and Pea thought his pumpkin (the one in the upper left corner) was a ball, so he proceeded to say "Ball" and throw it all over the yard, even though daddy got the football out for him. I was expecting to take a picture of a smashed pumpkin, but indeed, it survived, this day at least. My pumpkin is the white one. The orange and green one is Princess's, and the other one is daddy's, and it will be the one we carve. I might paint mine.

If you will notice, there is a picture with Princess's hand stuck in a bowl of water (along with a pitcher, which is one of Pea's favorite toys). She had her first major injury - she got burned on a skillet today. She has always been so good around the stove, but nevertheless, we did not meet Target Zero at this house, but it was just minor, and we won't have any lost time over it. ;)

The last pic is the soup we had tonight. Daniel felt it should be documented, so I include it here - it is black and white bean soup and was very healthy and yummy.

And some very sad news, granny has been ordered nothing by mouth - including food and drink. She did not want to have a feeding tube, so she'll be with Jesus anytime now. I hate the thoughts of her suffering - please pray she'll go home quickly.

Sadly and prayerfully,

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Spoken Word

I learned something new and fascinating in my Beth Moore bible study. Basically, as a Christian woman I have the power to defeat my enemies, spiritually speaking, through the word of God. Sounds simple and common enough. Like I'm sure as Christians, we basically have that as common ground. What was so profound to me was that we need to speak it out loud.

The most powerful instrument God has given us is our mouth (Believing God, Beth Moore). It is however not enough to think the word of God or to read the word of God when facing opposition but it must be spoken out loud. And Ms. Moore gave scriptural evidence to back it up. (Just contact me if you would like more information or get a copy of her book.)

I must confess that I am quite convicted when it comes to the use of my mouth. I am generally a quiet person, so that keeps me out of some trouble. But, the more comfortable I get in my own skin, the more trouble my mouth takes me, and I do after all, blog, so my words are here in public for all to read if they desire. Even recently, my Falling for Jesus post, in which every word was carefully thought out, got me into some trouble. And I attempt to get permission for the things that I think are questionable. I am tender hearted and cannot stand to inflict pain or have my character questioned. I am honoring the sweetest of all - my Jesus. So when I realized the potential hurt, I was myself aching! Please let me know if ever I hurt you. James 3:2 says, "We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check." In other words, less eloquent, everyone's mouth is out of control and needs some taming. Mine is no exception.

I know the people in my life that tempt me in this area, but I have not mastered being a light and turning it around. What are some ways your mouth or tongue gets you in trouble? How do you struggle to keep it under control? Is it also a profound thought to you that you must SPEAK the word of God to use it as a weapon or "sword of the Spirit"?

Learning more thoughout the week of homework...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Football and Coaches

Where to start? Well, I went to Auburn University when I was a college student. Therefore, I am an Auburn fan, and Auburn is in a bit of trouble this year with the football team. If you visit my friend, Josh's blog, you will see that there is talk of firing the football coach, Tommy Tuberville. I am about to give you my personal opinion on football and firing coaches and how I view it. Keep in mind it is just my two cents, it's a pet peeve of mine, and that I am no expert on any matter football related.

Here's the deal: I hate all things political when it comes to football. Why when a team has a bad year does that mean that we have to go and fire the coach? Why do we feel it is our right to crucify him? I felt the same way when Alabama got rid of Coach Shula. I mean, a coach, is a human, bound to make mistakes. Last time I checked we were all human, so we are going to have bad years. I'm a stay at home mom, but if I got fired for just trying to do my job and I had a bad year, umm, well, there wouldn't be any mothers left, I don't think. Why is it that a football coach must be perfect? Why do we like to condemn them so easily? So he's had a bad year - why does that mean he should be fired? I don't get it. Is there no grace and mercy in the football world? Now I know that a lot of people may not be Christians that are indeed football fans, but what does it truly say about our hearts when we beg for a football coach to be fired? How can anyone with good conscience ask for another human being to be jobless?

I just think of these situations as modern day witch hunts. When we get a new "football Savior", I guarantee you, he'll eventually fail, and he won't be the answer.

Thank goodness God is merciful, is gracious, is loving, and kind. Thank you, Lord, that You, are enough, that You are the Answer, that You can survive all kinds of death and rise again!

Prayer updates

I got to go back to Bible study today. It was excellent, and guess what, I didn't forget anything this time! (I know you've all been wondering.) I want to post more later about the fact that God's word is alive and active, which is what we talked about today, but I also wanted to post an update about my brother in law. He had surgery today, and he is out of it. We are hoping that the surgery helps alleviate the constant pain he had been in for the last year (since his motorcycle accident).

Also, I received a call from my mom saying that granny was getting closer to death. Please continue praying that it would be swift and peaceful. Pray that I would be able to visit her before she goes home to Jesus and that we would have the right words to say to the children, especially Princess. Pray for comfort over my grandfather, my mom, and my uncle. Thank you in advance for your prayers.

What does this mean?

Princess is officially potty trained - she's been working for a Cinderella doll for a long time now. We started a chart to see if she could make it two weeks with no accidents and full cooperation, and she made it! She's definitely mastered, for the most part, the potty. Sorry the pictures are not the best - she was too excited! Her love for Cinderella is priceless - it is for her a GREAT reward! She got it on Saturday, and Cinderella goes everywhere with her. We wonder how long it will last!

Saturday Fun Day

On Saturday we went to the Pumpkin Patch at Old Baker Farm, and Aunt Jenn and Uncle Tanner came out to have some fun with the kiddos. The kids had a blast. They got to see all kinds of farm animals, which Pea LOVED! Princess got to climb on some haybails or more importantly, slide down them into the soft hay stacked below. We each got to pick a pumpkin. We all went on a hayride, and Princess got to jump in the Cotton Bounce. You could pick your own cotton too, but we did not do that. Then we went to Daniel's parents house for naps, and then back out for some more fun. We went to Lamar's house for his yearly party, and he had a bounce house set up for the kiddos. It was Pea's first time, and he loved it. Of course, since it had a slide, I had to get in and climb up the slide so Pea could go down it. I didn't mind it either - it was quite fun for me too. :) Lamar is a racing friend of the Harper family. Daniel's family races go-karts for those of you new to my blog.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Eating cupcakes

Friday Nana came over, and she and Princess made strawberry cupcakes. Here's some pics of the kids eating them. :)

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Perfect Love - Falling for Jesus

Almost every little girl loves to dream that she is a Princess, and she dreams of the day she will meet her Prince. As a Christian woman, I have met THE Prince - the One and Only, who sweeps me off my feet like no other. I was eighteen when my relationship with Jesus began to blossom. He became my best friend - my all, my everything. Our relationship grew when I entered college. I was always painfully, awkwardly shy. My life verse for that point in time was, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (or fear), but a spirit of power, of love, and of self control" (2 Tim. 1:7, NIV).

Despite my social awkwardness, I served as a summer missionary twice and my love for Jesus grew deeper. During that first summer, I was so close to Him that I knew in my spirit when His Spirit was moving in someone else's spirit. I can honestly say that I prayed for every person I encountered every day during that time. But at the end of the summer, I heard God speak to my spirit, "Follow me and you will receive." At the time, I frivolously thought He meant I would receive my spouse if I followed. I did not realize that I was about to enter a season of great darkness.

Though I know that God's presence did not withdraw from me, this period of darkness in my life felt like God had deserted me. I continued praying. I continued reading my Bible, but I could not find the intimacy with God that I enjoyed. My prayer was Psalm 51:10-12, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." During this season, I truly hungered and thirsted for Him. But the more I searched for Him, the more I doubted. I had made some bold claims about God in my past, and now I wasn't certain of any of them.

Beside the spiritual darkness I was in, I was also going through a lot of trying times with my relationships too. I was a single woman in my mid twenties, and my parents were considering getting a divorce. They were Christians, but they were having serious challenges with worldliness and were encouraging me into worldliness too. My best friend did not understand the darkness I was in, and she and I had a great rift in our friendship.

I felt that everyone I had ever depended on had failed me, and I was devastated and in great despair. I kept feeling God's Spirit whisper within me, "Have faith in me." But then I would get into deeper despair because I knew Hebrews 11:6 says, "Without faith, it is impossible to please God." I desperately wanted to please God but my faith was waffling.

One night at the lowest of the low, I begged God to speak, to send a messenger, to do anything to let me know He was alive and cared about me. The next day a co-worker emailed me a verse that her bible study group had found the night before. It was Ephesians 3:16-19, which says

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (NIV)
At that moment, I knew that God was alive and He still loved me. I still had more darkness to go through, but that moment brought some light and some hope. Until the season of darkness, I realize I had never known that God is really all that He says He is, and I had never understood how much He loves me. He gave me the faith I needed even when I did not have much. When He told me to "Follow and I would receive," He meant that I would receive Him and His fullness!! I was tried and tested. I failed and all failed me - all except God - who is true perfect love, who never fails. He is the One constant love - my Prince, who quiets me in love and rejoices over me with song (Zeph 3:17). He saved me from the despair and He can save you too.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Harper Family Hero

Cue music from the "someone special" song from Higglytown Heroes
Imagine your kids have had a horrible stomach virus, and you have not left your home with them in days. But today, it is time for flu shots, and it is raining torrential sheets and buckets of rain, and you have to help two small children safely to the car, to their car seats, and then to the doctor's office, and then back to the car...

It sounds like a job for someone special....

Princess and Pea sing:
"Someone special, who could it be?
This job's too big for you and me.
We need some help.
But never fear-o.
It looks like a job - for a Harper family hero.
A Harper Family Hero!

Mommy Jamie sings:
I'm a Harper family hero, brave and true.
I help the family with the things I do.
So look real hard and you will see
That you can be a hero, just like me!
A hero just like me.

When the kids are sick and laundry seems the only thing to do,
I'll keep them happy by singing the cow says Moo.
When you've gotta get a flu shot
and the rain is all you've got,
grab the umbrella and plan,
to dash from the van,
as fast as you can,
and then we'll all stay dry,
and there'll be nooo time to sigh! nooo, time to sigh!
Yes, I'm a Harper family hero, bold and good,
I help my family, just like I should.

Singing altogether now:
So we'll work together, that's what we'll do,
So we can be a hero
just like you (like me)
a hero just like you!

cue Higglytown (I mean Harper family) fireworks.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fig Newtons

My children, especially Pea, think that fig newtons are the best thing invented to eat. Now that Pea has gotten his appetite back, he has become a little hog again. These pics were taken Sunday. Now the thing you need to know is that Pea had already eaten quite a bit of food for just getting over a stomach virus, and he had already had one fig newton. Princess had not eaten anything in a few days, and since newtons are fat free, and she wanted it, we thought she might be okay eating one. We gave her a bite, and she decided we wanted the rest of it, and at this point, Pea had just finished all of his. When he saw her getting one, he had a fit. He is real big into fits these days (15 months old) and gets furious when he doesn't get "his way." That's an aside, but these pics are of him getting a second fig newton. *sigh*

PS. We are STILL recovering from the virus!


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